Imagine America Foundation Honors Melissa Gridley with LDRSHIP Award

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Washington, D.C. (July 28, 2010) – The Art Institute of Tampa, Fla. is rightfully proud as one of its students, Melissa Gridley, has received a 2010 LDRSHIP Award, given by the Imagine America Foundation. Gridley served our country with perseverance in the United States Air Force and is now working to earn a bachelor’s degree in Web Design and Interactive Media.

Gridley was one of seven accomplished individuals to receive the 2010 LDRSHIP Award. Since 2004, The Imagine America Foundation has given this award to recognize and honor the talents of those who have served in the military and are currently pursuing an education at a career college. The cash grant, given in the amount of up to $5,000, will help Gridley as she completes her current education.

The LDRSHIP Award stands for Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. These are all traits Gridley has shown both in the military and in the classroom. While part of the United States Air Force, she earned several honors including the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal. At The Art Institute, Gridley has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and a nearly perfect attendance record.

“Melissa has imagined a safer and brighter future for her country and herself,” said Karen Habblitz, president of The Art Institute of Tampa. “We know that she will now, more than ever, be an inspiration to her fellow students. Not only is Melissa protecting our nation, she is an example of commitment and perseverance to her fellow students.”

The Imagine America Foundation honored its 2010 LDRSHIP Award recipients during an awards luncheon at the annual Career College Association (CCA) Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas on June 10. The LDRSHIP award is sponsored by Ambassador College Bookstores, Blackboard Pro Ed, and supporters of the Imagine America Foundation’s 21st Century Workforce Fund.

“It’s a privilege to honor the 2010 LDRSHIP recipients with this award for their admirable and courageous service to our country.” said Robert L. Martin, Imagine America Foundation President. “Now it’s our turn to give something back to them.”

To receive the award, applicants must be currently enrolled in an Imagine America or CCA member college, have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5, and at least a 95% attendance record.

About the Imagine America Foundation
The Imagine America Foundation (IAF), established in 1982, is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarships for education, research and training support for the career college sector. Since its inception, the Foundation has provided over $40 million in scholarship and award support for graduating high school seniors, adult learners and U.S. military personnel attending career colleges nationwide through its award-winning Imagine America® programs. The Foundation also publishes vital research publications for the higher education sector, honors achievement in career education and offers faculty development training. For more information about the Imagine America Foundation’s programs, please visit

About The Art Institutes
As America’s leader in Creative Education, The Art Institutes offer master’s, bachelor’s, associate’s, and non-degree programs. Areas of study include Design, Media Arts, Fashion and Culinary. There are over 45 campus locations across the country. For more information about The Art Institutes, please visit


Contact: Robert L. Martin, Imagine America Foundation President
Phone: (202) 336-6758