May 17, 2007
By Jack Jeffery
This year's recipients of The Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholar's Fund were announced Wednesday. Eighteen Ross County students received scholarships this year, including 13 continuing scholars who already have embarked on their college careers and five students who will graduate from high school this spring.
Jessica Ford, a fourth-year recipient of the scholarship, is heading into her senior year at Ohio University's Athens campus and said she is incredibly thankful for the Gates' support.
"It's amazing to see this kind of generosity continue for the duration of my college years," she said. "I think it really speaks to their character. It's neat to be a part of the Gates' first graduating class of scholarship recipients."
In 2004, Chillicothe native Larry A. Gates and his wife, Mary, established the scholarship fund to pave the way to a college education for students graduating from Ross County high schools. This is the fourth class to benefit from the scholarship fund, which will eventually total some $10 million.
"Our decision to support scholarships is driven by a strong belief in young people and a deep belief in the power of education and learning," Gates said.
As a former senior vice president of human resources and administration for Philip Morris Companies, Gates traveled the globe, managing worldwide human resources for the multinational corporations.
Although they gained an array of worldly experiences, Mary and Larry Gates never lost their perspective.
"Living on the cusp of Appalachia you see the disparity. Many of our young people have no understanding of the impact of a global economy, and they may become discouraged with their life choices if they don't pursue university training," Gates said. "I firmly believe in the concept of 'paying forward' to return the generosity others have shown toward us. Education, and the excitement of learning, is one of the most important things we can share."
First-year recipient Dale Thacker is looking forward to beginning his studies in secondary education and history at Ohio University's Athens campus.
"This scholarship from the Gates Foundation will make paying for my education a lot easier," Thacker said. "When I don't have to worry about working too many jobs, I can spend more time focusing on my school work."
Selection criteria for the scholarship included potential to succeed in college as determined by high school grades and college entrance scores, letters of reference and a demonstration of financial need. The scholarships are renewable for up to an additional three years for those who continue to qualify. Students may attend the college or university of their choice.
Gates retired as senior vice president of human resources and administration for Philip Morris Companies in 1998. He graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1956.
The donor-advised fund is administered by The Ohio University Foundation, the private fund-raising arm of the university.
2007 The Gates Foundation – Ross County Scholars
The new recipients include:
|Student||High School ||University/College |
|Jessica Bennett ||Southeastern ||Hocking College |
|Holly Carroll ||Huntington ||Indiana Wesleyan University |
|Michael Mears ||Zane Trace ||Shawnee State University |
|Dale Thacker ||Chillicothe ||Ohio University |
|Madison Wright-Piekarski ||Chillicothe ||Ohio University - Athens|
The renewed recipients include:
|Kara Bobo ||Shawnee State University |
|Lindsay Donahue ||Miami University |
|Lisa Donahue ||University of Cincinnati |
|Jessica Ford ||Ohio University - Athens |
|Emily Gray ||University of Rio Grande |
|Jeremy Grigsby ||College of Charleston (S.C.) |
| Liza Hirsch||Ohio University - Athens|
| Catherine Hurff||Capital University|
| Christopher Kerr||Ohio University - Athens|
| Kelley Marling||Ohio University - Athens|
| Ashton Payne||Hocking College|
| Holly Smith||Ohio State University|
| Andrew Sowers||Ohio University - Chillicothe|
More information on The Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholar's Fund is available online at www.ohio.edu/gatesscholarship/.