(from left) Karen, Katie, Lori and Mike Jackson in Katie’s room at Ohio University.
Photo courtesy of: Mike Jackson
Jan 30, 2012
The Ohio University Foundation has received a $15,000 gift from College of Education alums Lt. Col. Mike Jackson, USAF (Ret) and his wife Karen, both alumni of the college from 1968 and 1969, respectively, for the establishment of the Mike and Karen Jackson Endowed Scholarship in The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education.
“The educational experience at Ohio University is like no other,” said Mike Jackson. “My wife Karen, our daughter Katie, and I appreciate the opportunities the University opened for us, and we look forward to the doors this will open for future teachers.”
The scholarship will be awarded to a junior or senior student enrolled in or accepted for admission to the Patton College. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required or, if newly enrolled, the recipient must be in the top ten percent of his or her class.
Preference will be given to a student pursuing a degree in the Middle Childhood Education Program with a specialization in Language Arts. If that condition cannot be met, the award will be opened to students pursuing a degree in the Early Childhood Education or Adolescent-to-Young Adult Education Programs with a specialization in Language Arts.
“Philanthropic giving plays a critical role in advancing the work that we do here in the Patton College,” said Patton College Dean Renée Middleton. “The generosity of loyal alumni like Mike and Karen is humbling, and I want to commend them for helping to make our goals a reality.”
Mike and Karen Jackson, who met on OHIO’s campus, have a history of service to Ohio University that began more than three decades ago. They hope that the impact of their gift will extend far beyond the walls of McCracken Hall.
“We love this university,” said Mike Jackson, “and the lasting impact that Karen and I can have on a student’s life is worth every penny.”
According to Tim Binegar, director of development for the Patton College of Education, the Jacksons’ gift will not only change the lives of the scholarship recipients but also the lives of their future students.
“Because this scholarship is designated specifically for a teacher candidate who will one day enter into the classroom, the effect of their gift will be felt for years to come,” he said.
Mike Jackson, who received a Medal of Merit from the Ohio University Alumni Association in 2007, served as a career Air Force pilot until 1991. During this time, he flew in 210 combat missions and received 21 military decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart. Along with flying combat missions in Vietnam, Mike Jackson was selected to develop a training program for Vietnamese pilots. His teaching skills followed him to instructor pilot and command positions stateside and, later, in a variety of private sector positions.
Mike Jackson is one of the youngest living individuals to be inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame. In 2003, He was named “Distinguished Museum Professional of the Year” by the Ohio Museums Association to recognize his leadership at the National Aviation Hall of Fame, an organization for which he served as executive director for more than 13 years.
In 2004, Mike founded the American Veterans Institute and penned the memoir "Naked in Da Nang," a book that has garnered international attention. Since then, he has co-authored a number of other books including "The Wright Brothers: First In Flight (2007)" and "Neil Armstrong: One Giant Leap (2008)." Currently, Mike Jackson is the National Chairman for Operation Welcome Home, a non-profit group that organizes local and national welcome home celebrations for veterans.
Karen Jackson taught elementary grades in South Carolina, Texas and Ohio as she and Mike moved around the country with the Air Force.
In 1989, Karen Jackson began a 22-year career teaching middle school language arts in Tipp City, Ohio. She earned National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification in early adolescent language arts in 2005 and retired from teaching this past spring.
The Gladys W. and David H. Patton of College of Education and Human Resources is now called The Gladys W. and David H. Patton of College of Education.
The College of Education was renamed after alumna Violet L. Patton's parents, both of whom also attended Ohio University, in recognition for her transformational gift.
More information can be found here.