By Casey S. Elliott
The Ohio University Foundation has received a gift of more than $850,000 from the estate of two veteran journalists to create the Bob and Koky Dishon Journalism Scholarship.
Bob Kocher, brother of Colleen "Koky" Dishon, and his son, Kevin Kocher, presented the check Friday during the foundation board's luncheon meeting.
"Bob and Koky were always on everyone about the importance of an education and aware of the necessity for journalism scholarships," Bob Kocher said. "Both were committed to being writers and Bob always carried a readable copy of the Bill of Rights in his billfold. They had nothing to talk about but dogs, cats and newspapers."
President Roderick J. McDavis called the Dishons' professional achievements "a model'' for future leaders in the field of journalism.
"We are delighted that the Dishon family is honoring their legacy with this visionary gift,'' he said.
Robert L. Dishon, who received a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1948, died in 2006. He began his education at Ohio University but was called to active duty during World War II where he was involved in the second landing at Normandy in 1944. He returned from the war and completed his degree at the Athens campus. After graduation, he was hired at the Columbus Dispatch where he met his future wife, who also was a reporter at the newspaper.
Koky Dishon, who died in December 2004, was a former associate editor of the Chicago Tribune and is credited with redefining the role of features sections in newspapers. She was the first woman to be named in the Tribune's masthead.
Earlier in her career, she worked at the Zanesville Sunday Times Signal, Chicago Daily News, Milwaukee Journal and the Milwaukee Sentinel.
She was presented in 1979 with Ohio University's College of Communication's Honor Award for "distinguished service in journalism."
The Bob and Koky Dishon Journalism Scholarship will be given to a journalism major enrolling at the Athens campus in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the Scripps College of Communication. Criteria for the scholarship are being developed.
The first scholarship will be awarded in fall 2009 to an incoming first-year student.
Scripps College of Communication Dean Gregory J. Shepherd said the gift will help the college recruit top students to the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism.
"The generous endowment will allow us to award highly competitive scholarships to a number of journalism students,'' he said. "I am very grateful to Bob and Koky Dishon for establishing this living legacy."