In 2001 the Illinois Telecommunications Association created a charitable foundation with a goal to improve the delivery of education through the use of telecommunications technology and to assist Illinoisans in obtaining advanced degrees in telecommunications technology. Specifically, the ITA Foundation offers the Jack Tharp Scholarship available to students attending the telecommunications technology program at Lincoln Trail College.

Each year monies donated to the Foundation provide full scholarship to three qualified students in the telecommunications technology program at LTC. Each scholarship is for $2,500 and covers the cost of a year's tuition, books and supplies and is awarded every July. The scholarships recipients are chosen based on academic performance, financial need, letters of recommendation, submission of a written application and personal interview.

There are several ways in which monies are received by the Foundation for scholarship purposes:

  1. A portion of each golfer's fee to participate in the golf tournaments at the ITA Annual Convention and the Fall Vendors' Showcase is donated directly to the Scholarship Fund.
  2. Member companies of the ITA may make direct donations to the Scholarship Fund.
  3. Individuals may make donations to the Scholarship Fund in honor or memory of an individual.
  4. Other fund raising activities at the Annual Convention and Vendors' Showcase events provide additional monies for the Scholarship Fund.
  5. Category III member companies may choose to contribute a portion of their sales to Illinois telecommunications companies.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the ITA Foundation for the granting of scholarships should contact the ITA at 217-572-1260 or by email at All donations are tax deductible.

2017 Jack Tharp Scholarship Recipients

These three students have shown to be great assets not only to our program but to the telecom field in general.  I think they have a good future in the business and hopefully will stay within the state and keep the tradition alive.  I want to thank the ITA and its membership for once again supporting our Program.  This partnership is important to the students and us as instructors and hope to be able to repay the support in some way.

Jesse Allen
Lead Instructor- Telecommunications Technology Program
Lincoln Trail College

  • Jacob Brown is a new student starting this fall.  He worked part time jobs all through high school to help support himself.  This financial assistance will help with his travel expenses driving an hour each day to and from college.
  • Tammy Pierson is a non-traditional student.  Her husband has health issues and the scholarship will help her pay for books, tools and extra cost in pursuing a career field in telecommunications.
  • Gerald Skolte has struggled financially for years growing up and lives with his grandparents.  His grandfather passed away last semester and he now helps support his grandmother who has health issues.