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Initial Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholar's Fund recipients announced during event in Chillicothe

ATHENS, Ohio (May 20, 2004) -- Thanks in large part to a boost from Chillicothe native Larry A. Gates and his wife, Mary, 10 Ross County students will find it easier to pursue their dreams of a college education next fall. The first recipients of The Gates Foundation - Ross County Scholar's Fund were announced today at a ceremony at Ohio University Chillicothe Campus.

The first class of Gates Scholars with Mary and Larry Gates and Chillicothe Dean Richard Beebe. Photo by Rick FaticaThe Gateses established the scholarship fund, which will eventually total approximately $10 million, to pave the way to a college education for students graduating from Ross County high schools.

"There is little in life that can positively impact a young person more than a college education," Larry Gates said. "As a Ross County resident, I realize first-hand how talented and hard-working the young people of this county are and how much they will benefit from a college education. I am confident that these young scholars will, in turn, positively impact the colleges and universities that they attend and will use what they gain from this opportunity to help others."

"The growth potential is enormous as students continue to pursue the opportunities provided by a college education," he said. "It is my hope that they will inspire other Ross County students to follow their lead. Hopefully, a fair number of recipients will eventually return to Ross County."

The first scholarships will total $30,000. The 10 recipients represent five Ross County high schools and will continue their education on eight different campuses in four states.

Approximately 30 students applied for the scholarships. Criteria included economic need and the ability to complete college level work. The scholarships are renewable for up to three additional years for those who continue to qualify.

"This will help open the doors of opportunity for Ross County students," said Chillicothe High School Counselor Dave Higgs. "With Ross County being below the state level in per capita income, this scholarship fund is going to help students by enabling them to pursue a post-secondary education where they may have otherwise found it more difficult. The scholarships will help other students feel more financially confident about going to college."

"In the longer term, I hope it gets students to think more seriously about attending college, especially students who are worried about how they're going to pay for it," Higgs said. "As the word spreads and students become more aware, I think we'll have an even bigger pool of applicants."

Gates retired as senior vice president of human resources and administration with Philip Morris Companies in 1998. In that position, he was responsible for worldwide human resources for a multinational corporation employing 160,000 individuals in 180 major markets around the world. He graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1956, Northeastern State University in 1964 and joined Philip Morris in 1967.

Ohio University President Robert Glidden said, "This scholarship fund allows young people to pursue their ambitions more fully, which is the essence of the college experience. Ohio University is honored to play a role in this effort, which holds great promise for further improving the quality of life in southeastern Ohio. In these difficult economic times, particularly for higher education in Ohio, this is an especially meaningful initiative."

The recipients include:

StudentHigh SchoolCollege/University
Anna BennettChillicothe H.S.Capital Univ.
Kara BoboSoutheastern H.S.Shawnee State Univ.
Lindsay DonahuePaint Valley H.S.Miami (Ohio) Univ.
Jessica FordChillicothe H.S.Ohio University-Athens
Jeremy GrisbyAdena H.S.College of Charleston
Terra HarrisUnion Scioto H.S.Univ. of Kentucky
Catherine HurffChillicothe H.S.Capital Univ.
Amy JonesChillicothe H.S.Ohio University-Athens
Micah PoeChillicothe H.S.Indiana Wesleyan Univ.
Ashley SowersAdena H.S.Ohio University-Chillicothe

The donor advised fund is administered by The Ohio University Foundation, the private fund-raising arm of the university.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, Office: (740) 597-1793; Pager: (740) 290-4479

Editors: Photos from the event will be available online by 7:30 p.m. May 20 at:

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