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Ohio University announces Appalachian Scholars Program

ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 7, 2005) -- Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis announced today (Oct. 7) the creation of the Appalachian Scholars Program -- a need-based scholarship initiative that seeks high school students from the 29 counties in Appalachian Ohio and provides them with scholarship support to attend Ohio University.

Click to watch the announcementThe program will provide scholarship opportunities for graduates of Appalachian school districts in the state who demonstrate enthusiasm, motivation to succeed, academic achievement and financial need. All six Ohio University campuses will participate in this program.

Ohio University will work with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio to identify potential scholars, form partnerships with regional high schools and identify prospective supporters of the program.

"The Appalachian Scholars Program is a renewed commitment to widening the doors to an Ohio University education for students from Appalachia who demonstrate enthusiasm, motivation to succeed, academic achievement and financial need," McDavis said. "By creating greater access to educational opportunities, Ohio University can make a profound difference in the quality of life and economic future for children of Appalachia."

Ohio University recognizes its unique position in and responsibility to southeastern Ohio. Nearly 36 percent of undergraduate students enrolled at Ohio University, including the main campus and regional campuses, are from the 29 Appalachian counties. This year, the university granted more than $920,765 in private aid in scholarships designated for students from Appalachia Ohio. The Appalachian Scholars Program will build on that commitment.

The goal is to enroll the initial class of 10 students for fall 2006 and eventually enroll 40 students from the 29 county-region in Ohio identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission as being part of Appalachia.

Photo by Rick FaticaFor each student selected, the program includes a four-year renewable scholarship, an annual book stipend and participation in an annual leadership seminar. Those students also will receive funding to attend an approved professional conference in their junior years, internship opportunities, and technology and research training. Ohio University alumni will mentor students throughout their academic careers.

Two gifts are helping to launch the program. McDavis and his wife, Deborah, have committed $10,000 to the program.

Professor Emeritus of History Gifford Doxsee has pledged the initial gift of $10,000 for the Emeriti Appalachian Scholarship.

"As a former faculty member and a long-time resident of the region, I have a deep commitment to the ideals of Appalachian Scholars program. I recognize that this program has the potential to assist many worthy families of this region while opening the door to a college education for deserving students," Doxsee said. "Emeriti faculty members remain supportive of the university's educational mission and helping students reach their potential."

Photo by Rick FaticaTo apply for the program, students must be admitted to Ohio University and demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by Feb. 15, 2006. The President's Office for University Diversity will contact eligible students, who should then complete an application packet including an essay and two letters of recommendation. Eligible students will participate in an interview with member of the selection committee. Other factors included in the review process are grade point average, class rank and standardized test scores.

The 29 Appalachia Ohio counties include Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington.

G. Christine Taylor, assistant to the president for diversity, will administer the program.

Also speaking at today's program were the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio CEO/President Leslie Lilly, Ohio State Rep. Jimmy Stewart and Ohio State Sen. Joy Padgett.

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Media Contact: Media Assistant Jessica Stark, (740) 597-2938 or starkj@ohio.edu

Note to editors: Photos from today's event are available online at:

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