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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

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Cary Cooper

Cary Cooper is an Ohio University Board of Trustees member whose gift to commission artwork by Betsy Ross Keller will benefit OHIO’s Appalachian Scholars program.

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

Betsy Ross Koller

Betsy Ross Koller is a southeast Ohio native and internationally known artist. Her painting titled, “Winter at Ohio University,” depicts a winter landscape in an OHIO setting. Prints sales benefit OHIO’s Appalachian Scholars program.

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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University Trustee gives back to OHIO by supporting the arts and students


Ohio University has always had a special place in Cary Cooper’s heart. As a child, this current Ohio University Board of Trustees member visited the campus with his family often and decided to leave his hometown of McArthur, Ohio, to attend OHIO. Cooper made life-long friends, played on the baseball team with revered coach Bob Wren, and even met his wife, Mary Ann, at OHIO. His relationship with the university spans his entire life. So, it’s no wonder that Cooper decided to give back to the place that has meant so much to him.  

Cooper recently arranged to bestow a unique gift upon the university that will help future students fund their academic careers. He has partnered with southeast Ohio native and internationally known artist Betsy Ross Koller. In 2012, Koller created “Homecoming at Ohio University,” a painting that depicts a lively fall day in Athens and the sense of fun and community Koller experienced at OHIO Homecoming as a child. Cooper’s gift funds the next painting, titled “Winter at Ohio University,” which depicts that season’s landscape in an OHIO setting.  The works are transformed into prints, mouse pads and postcards for sale at the Bobcat Store, and the proceeds benefit OHIO’s Appalachian Scholars program.

The Appalachian Scholars program provides scholarship support to students from any of Ohio’s Appalachian counties who demonstrate financial need, prove to be academically excellent, and who showcase a strong desire to succeed. Scholars also engage in OHIO’s LINKS program, receive free tutoring sessions, participate in a residential learning community and a summer pre-matriculation program, and receive technology and research training.

“A financial boost is key in giving these students the opportunity to go school,” Cooper said. “It’s important for us to find new avenues to help students who are in need. A college education is essential in helping them grow personally and academically.”

Cooper’s gift is part of OHIO’s The Promise Lives Campaign, which reached its goal of $450 million in support of students, faculty, programs, outreach and facilities in April, 14 months ahead of the June 30, 2015 deadline. Having secured more than $464.4 million, the Campaign will continue through June, 2015 and focus on increasing scholarship gifts. 

Cooper hopes his gift will shine a spotlight on the Appalachian Scholars program and spark more people to give to it.  

“We should all try to do what we can to help other people,” he said. “You get back what you put in. What else is more important than helping others?”