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Mark Kerrigan and Susan Van Gelder, parents of OHIO junior Paige Kerrigan.

Photo courtesy of: Mark Kerrigan

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Division of Student Affairs receives $25,000 gift from OHIO parents to support student leaders

The Kerrigan Family establishes endowed scholarship in support of The Promise Lives Campaign


Mark Kerrigan and his wife, Susan Van Gelder, recently made a $25,000 commitment to OHIO’s Division of Student Affairs to establish the Kerrigan Family Scholarship.

Kerrigan and Van Gelder are the parents of Paige Kerrigan, a junior studying secondary education in OHIO’s Patton College of Education, and Meredith Kerrigan, who recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a full-time undergraduate student, sophomore or above; who demonstrates financial need, as determined by the University’s Office of Financial Aid; who has a cumulative grade point average of 3.0; as well as evidenced involvement in leadership activities at OHIO or within the Athens community. Recipients will be known as Kerrigan Family Scholars.

Kerrigan supports energy startup ventures, and volunteers as chair of The Promise Lives: The Campaign for the Division of Student Affairs. He came up with the idea for an endowed scholarship designed specifically to recognize leadership because of the impact that his own leadership experiences had on his career.

 “As a former student body president myself, I understand the value of leadership skills,” said Kerrigan. “Susan and I appreciate the emphasis that OHIO’s Division of Student Affairs places on leadership, and we were very impressed with the University’s focus on developing well-rounded graduates who succeed not just in the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well. Leadership is championed at OHIO and has become a quality that helps define all Bobcats. ”

As chair of the Division’s Campaign Committee, the Kerrigans’ gift was a pace-setting gesture that will serve to inspire others to support The Promise Lives Campaign, which already has raised more than $388 million toward its $450 million goal.

“Our hope is that this gift will motivate others to recognize the importance of private philanthropy in an environment where state funding for higher education has continued to decrease steadily over the past several years,” said Kerrigan. “In today’s unstable economic environment, students already are struggling to afford a college degree, so there is no better time than now to show your support.”

The Kerrigan and Van Gelder understand the effect that a donation, large or small, can have on the lives of students. But, according to Catherine Allgood, director of development for OHIO’s Division of Student Affairs, endowment gifts are particularly important because they offer a lasting impact that can be felt for years to come.

 “Gifts like these not only benefit the student who receives aid, but also the University as a whole,” Allgood said. “Because endowed scholarships exist in perpetuity, they are one of the most direct ways to increase enrollment and attract the best and brightest students to OHIO. They are truly gifts that keep giving.”

Recipients of the scholarship will be nominated and chosen based upon a mutual decision by the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, an approach that promotes cross-departmental collaboration.

“We were thrilled when Mark proposed a teamwork approach to the selection process for the scholarship,” said Ryan Lombardi, OHIO’s dean of students. “Working together, we will be able to select the best candidate for the scholarship and continue the strong relationship between the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of the Vice-President for Student Affairs.”

Kerrigan is a recognized leader in the energy and environmental fields. In 2007, he retired as a senior vice president at Science Applications International Corporation, an $8 billion global leader in technology development, systems integration and management consulting. After receiving a bachelor of science degree from Arizona State University, Kerrigan spent a year studying economics and law at Adelaide University in Australia. He received a master’s degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in 1978.

The Promise Lives Campaign is Ohio University’s $450 million capital campaign that supports students, faculty, facilities, outreach and the student experience. As of May 22, the University has raised more than $388 million toward its goal.

To learn more about The Promise Lives Campaign or to make a gift, visit www.ohio.edu/campaign