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Sunday, Nov 23, 2014

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OUAA Board of Director member Dustin Starkey, BS ’98

OUAA Board of Director member Dustin Starkey, BS ’98

Photo courtesy of: OUAA

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Dedicated OHIO Alumnus gives to unique program to establish scholarship


When Ohio University Alumni Association (OUAA) Board of Directors member Dustin Starkey graduated from Ohio University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in forensic chemistry, he never thought he would be able to endow a scholarship.  

“During my time on the Board, I’ve learned a lot about scholarships,” he said. “The more I learned about scholarships, the more I recognized their importance for attracting talented students and students who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity” to attend an institute of higher education.

“At the winter OUAA meeting, I connected with Senior Director of Development for the College of Arts and Sciences Susan Downard and learned about the Undergraduate Scholarship Investment Program,” Starkey said. “After our discussion, I gave serious consideration to endowing a scholarship. Then, when I discovered that my employer also would match my donations, it became a no-brainer.”

Armed with this information, Starkey established the Starkey Scholarship of Merit, a general merit scholarship open to all students in the College of Arts & Sciences. Ohio University’s new Undergraduate Scholarship Investment Program matches 50 cents on every dollar donated to select OHIO endowed scholarships established after July 1, 2013.

Tuition, fees and room and board costs have increased to about $21,000 a year for in-state students in 2013, making scholarships a crucial part of OHIO’s fundraising efforts during The Promise Lives Campaign. Starkey, who earned his doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 2002, said he is dedicated to helping OHIO and the students who attend as much as he can as a member of the OUAA Board of Directors.

“I am now more aware of tuition and room and board costs, and I recognize the difference in today’s costs versus those that I was paying as a student. The amount of debt that students can assume is tremendous.”

Downard says the college is grateful to Starkey for this gift.

“Dustin Starkey was the first graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences to use the Undergraduate Scholarship Investment Program as part of his gift,” she said. “It means a lot to see an alumnus who values giving to the college and who was eager to utilize a very helpful program.”

In addition to this gift, several donations to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and to the Marching 110, Starkey co-founded Ohio University Young Alumni of Columbus, a sub-chapter of the OUAA’s Central Ohio Alumni Network. Starkey worked with other members to attract a greater number of recent graduates and to host professional development events in Ohio’s capital city. His goal? To help recent graduates find jobs.

Starkey said he hopes that his gift sends the message that giving makes a difference, and even small monetary donations can be impactful.

“I would like to encourage those who might be interested in giving to consider The Promise Lives Campaign,” Starkey said. “Previously, endowing a scholarship might have seemed unrealistic. However, you may discover that your company or corporation matches gifts, and when combined with OHIO’s Undergraduate Scholarship Investment Program, endowing a scholarship could be a real possibility.”