Athens, Ohio native Susan Ackerman
Photographer: Ben Siegel
Feb 13, 2014
By Danielle Szabo
Having grown up in Athens, Ohio, Susan Ackerman understands how fortunate she was to be able to attend Ohio University after high school. In recognition of that opportunity, Ackerman, who graduated in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in education, established the Ackerman Appalachian Scholarship. The gift supports students accepted into the Appalachian Scholars Program, a program that provides academically qualified Appalachian students with not only financial support but also a support system designed to help them succeed.
According to the Appalachian Scholars Program website, only 12 percent of Appalachian Ohio residents have a college degree, compared to the national average of 28.5 percent. Sixty-five percent of Appalachian high school seniors lack the finances needed to attend college.
“Susan was one of the first to support the Appalachian Scholars Program from its inception,” said Executive Director of Development, Scholarships and Special Projects Ellen Fultz. “Having grown up in the Athens area, she understands the challenges that students from Appalachia sometimes face. We are most grateful that she has decided to endow an Appalachian Scholarship. Without a doubt, her gift will have a significant impact on students for generations to follow.”
“I love Ohio University, it’s in my blood,” said Ackerman, who lives in Sarasota, Florida, and who serves as a Trustee of the Ohio University Foundation Board. “I always knew if I was going to give substantial gifts to anything, it was going to be to education. Helping a person provide for themselves is one of the more rewarding things for me and, hopefully, for the student as well. Education is something no one can ever take from you.”
Ackerman comes from a long line of Ohio University alumni, beginning with her grandmother, Alice Wilkinson, who attended Ohio University briefly in the summer of 1918. Prior to serving on the Foundation Board, Ackerman was on the Ohio University Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, and for one year, served as its president. Ackerman retired from Nationwide of Columbus in 2004.
Ackerman’s gift is a part of Ohio University's The Promise Lives Campaign, which seeks to raise $450 million by June 30, 2015, and already has secured more than $441 million toward its goal in support of students, faculty, programs, partnerships and select facilities at Ohio University. Learn more at www.ohio.edu/campaign or to give to the Appalachian Scholar’s Program click here. You may also mail your check, payable to The Ohio University Foundation (be sure to write “Appalachian Scholars” in the notes section) to The Ohio University Foundation at P.O. Box 869, Athens, Ohio 45701.