ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Over 100 years ago, Howard Colman began making contributions to the Rockford area, and he is still leaving his mark today. A handful of students were given scholarships in his name on Thursday night.

“Some of these kids are pretty damn remarkable so it’s been nice to be able to help them go to college,” says Jack Tower, the grandson of the late inventor.

He presented the 2022 Howard D. Colman scholarship recipients with their awards. His mother and Colman’s oldest daughter, Ruth, started the scholarship.

Tower says, “I think my mother really did the right thing because my grandfather didn’t have a lot of formal education. He was pretty much self-taught, but he recognized the value of education and paid for his children all to go to very good schools.”

The scholarship was created to help support local kids with an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Hannah Jacobson, of Winnebago High School, was one of four students to get the honor.

“College is really expensive so something I was really worried about was paying it, but I was fortunate enough to get not only this scholarship, but other scholarships from the Community Foundation, so it’s really exciting and I’m grateful to be given these opportunities,” Jacobson states.

The ceremony was just steps away from the historic Barber-Colman site. After being vacant since 2001, a Milwaukee-based company bought the property last year. They say it could take another decade to complete.

Nonetheless, the night was spent celebrating the legacy of Colman – past, present, and future.

Jacobson adds, “There’s a lot of unspoken heroes and stuff of this area. Now I can go on and be great thanks to this legacy he’s created, and I can continue on his legacy and my own.”

Sreyansh Mamidi was named the 2022 Howard D. Colman scholar. He’s a graduate of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, currently attending the University of Illinois.