• Economics instructor inspired by father

    Economics instructor inspired by father’s contribution on D-Day gives back to students by starting a new scholarship with the Mt. Hood Community College Foundation

    Following the lead of his father, who lived a life of service by sacrificing scholarship opportunities to serve in the armed forces, and his mother, who prioritized higher education for her children and grandchildren, Peter Cunningham, Economics Instructor at Mt. Hood Community College, wants to help the next generation of students by starting a scholarship to help aspiring economists in his parent’s honor.


    June 6, the seventy-fifth anniversary of D-Day is significant for Peter because of his father’s integral role in creating an innovative technology that helped the allied troops disembark at Omaha Beach, one of the five sectors of the Allied invasion in the Normandy landings.

    Hear from Peter, in his own words, about why creating this scholarship with the MHCC Foundation is so important to him:

    In honor of the 75th anniversary of my dad’s involvement in D-Day on June 6, 1945, I am creating the Frank, Isobel & Peter Cunningham Family Economic Scholarship with the Mt. Hood Community College Foundation. 

    My father, Frank Cunningham, gave up a full basketball scholarship to the University of Notre Dame and a full football scholarship to Hamilton College to volunteer for the United States Navy. He was a machinist’s mate on the Landing Ship Tank (LST) 372 and saw action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, on D-Day, and later Asia. My dad devised a system to quickly load water in and out of the stabilization tanks of the ship to get the troops offloaded more rapidly on this historic day. He drove the ship 32 times that week across the English Channel. Years later, I learned he received a commendation for this innovation, which saved many lives, from his commander, Commander Studebaker, of the Studebaker automobile family.

    My mother, Isobel Cunningham, was a pragmatic businesswoman and placed a high priority on education. She encouraged me to pursue my economics degrees at George Washington University and the London School of Economics. For each grandchild in our family, she set aside $1,000 to give them as an incentive to commit to college. Of their eleven grandchildren, there is a Doctor, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Renewable Energy Engineer, two Computer Engineers, Marine Recon Leader, Mathematician, College Professor, Accountant and Entrepreneur.

    It’s in their honor that I am creating a new scholarship to help aspiring economists at MHCC move forward in their careers. My hope is to inspire generations of students to learn more about economics in order to effect positive leadership in the area of trade and economic policy and to create economic growth and prosperity for all. 

    Peter is creating one $2,000 scholarship which will be offered in the fall of 2019, and two $2,000 scholarships for future years.

    To learn more about the Frank, Isobel & Peter Cunningham Family Economic Scholarship and other scholarships available from the MHCC Foundation visit mhcc.edu/Scholarships.