By Tracy Galway
Ohio University has received a gift of more than $1.7 million from the Estate of Harry W. (Bill) Rankin, who earned his bachelor's degree from the university's College of Arts and Sciences in 1947. His bequest will benefit Native American scholarships.
"Mr. Rankin's generosity illustrates our alumni's keen understanding of the impact scholarships have on the lives of our students," said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. "His bequest will help us support our mission of access for Native American students for many years to come. We greatly appreciate his deep affection for his alma mater and his extraordinary kindness in supporting these scholarships."
Rankin started at Ohio University, but his college studies were interrupted for two years, while he served with the United States military. When he returned to school, he met his college sweetheart, Ruth L. Rankin, who earned her bachelor's degree from the Ohio University College of Arts and Sciences in 1948. Ruth Rankin preceded her husband in death.
After earning a law degree from the University of Cincinnati, Mr. Rankin served his entire career with the Travelers Companies Inc., which took him from Cincinnati to Wallingford, Conn. The Rankins divided their time between their home in Connecticut and their home in Dunedin, Fla. He died in April 2006, while living in Dunedin.
"What an honor it is, when an alumnus recognizes the impact OHIO made in the course of their life and leaves this kind of legacy," said Howard R. Lipman, vice president for university advancement and president and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation. "With the decline of state funding, donor contributions are more important than ever and will continue to be a vital component to support the people and programs that make Ohio University great," Lipman added.