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Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

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Beulah Sellers-Davis

Beulah Sellers-Davis

Photo courtesy of: Sellers-Davis' daughter, Paula Davis Eichbauer

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Alumna and emeriti professor pioneers giving at The Patton College’s Department of Human and Consumer Sciences

Beulah Sellers-Davis established department’s first scholarship and faculty fund in 1969


Nearly seven decades ago, OHIO alumna and emeriti faculty member Beulah Sellers-Davis noticed a lack of scholarship funding available for students studying Home Economics. So as a faculty member at OHIO, she pioneered the tradition of giving within what is now called the Department of Human and Consumer Sciences (HSC and formerly Home Economics), and today, remains active in philanthropic work at the University.

“Dr. Sellers-Davis is a legendary leader in Ohio University's Human and Consumer Science program,” says Ann Paulins, chair of the department.

Sellers-Davis, who earned a Bachelor’s degree in Home Economics in 1946, became a professor at OHIO in 1957 and later the director of HSC in 1966. She first noticed the lack of scholarship support for students majoring in HSC while she was a student.

“I became interested in the gift of scholarships because I had to work throughout school,” says Sellers-Davis, adding that she and many other students could have greatly benefitted from scholarship funding.

As a professor and director, Sellers-Davis became even more concerned with a lack of student scholarship funding. To fill this void, she established the Vivian Roberts Scholarship in 1969 in honor of Vivian Roberts, former director of the program. Sellers-Davis set up another fund, named The Vivian Roberts Faculty Development Fund, to honor Roberts after she passed away.

These gifts pioneered a culture of giving in HCS, and since establishing the Roberts’ Scholarship and Fund, other HCS scholarships have been established.

One of them was the Beulah Sellers-Davis Scholarship, created in 1978 by faculty and friends at OHIO in honor of Sellers-Davis. The scholarship benefits a full-time, degree-seeking junior or senior student majoring in HSC’s programs such as Family and Consumer Sciences Education, Hospitality and Merchandising. Sellers-Davis, knowing that the need for scholarships would increase with time, was determined to endow the scholarship herself so the funds could benefit students sooner rather than later.

Sellers-Davis believes scholarship assistance is becoming more important than ever.

“Students today are graduating with heavy debts that will take a large part of their lives to pay off,” Sellers-Davis said. “Many students don’t even have the funding to start with.”

For this reason, Sellers-Davis remains committed to continuing her personal and philanthropic relationships at OHIO.

“Beulah continues to be present and accessible for HCS and for The Patton College at OHIO,” said Paulins. “She has been a strong mentor to me because of her incredible historic knowledge of the field of family and consumer sciences and because of her steadfast commitment to the well being of the program at Ohio University.”