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2017 Distinguished Alumni Diane Diekroger
December 05, 2017 : Scholarship Recipients Urged to Pay it Forward


Ohio University Chillicothe celebrated 2017-2018 scholarship recipients at the annual scholarship breakfast on November 30. Scholarship winners, donors, and the OUC scholarship committee gathered together for breakfast and a ceremony that included a welcome from Dean Marty Tuck, remarks from OUC student Azhia Smith, and a keynote address by donor and Ohio University alumna, Dr. Diane Diekroger. The hour long ceremony gave scholarship recipients a chance to thank their scholarship donors and gave the donors a chance to meet who they were benefiting.


Keynote speaker Diekroger who Dean Tuck described as a "friend to OUC," is a longtime supporter of education. Before earning her doctorate in counselor education from Ohio University, Diekroger earned a Master degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri after first earning her Bachelor degree in Social Work from Valparaiso University. After serving many years as a social worker in the St. Louis public school system, Diekroger relocated to Chillicothe where she filled numerous roles in Student Services at OUC before retirement after decades of service. She was awarded OUC's prestigious Rich Bebee Leadership Award earlier this year.


In her keynote address, Diekroger talked about her father's passion for making sure his children earned college degrees. She earned scholarships and held many jobs - some less glamorous than others - in order to achieve her educational dreams. Her parents also taught the importance of education to their grandchildren, all of whom graduated from college with at least a bachelor degree. Upon retirement from OUC, Diekroger reflected on her educational journey and those who helped her along the way and felt a need to "pay it forward," as she stated. Diekroger has created the Diane Diekroger Social Service Scholarship in honor of those who instilled in her the value of an education and supported her throughout her journey. She encouraged the scholarship recipients at this year's breakfast to someday "pay it forward" by supporting student scholarships at OUC in the future.
Student speaker, Azhia Smith, told breakfast attendees about how her scholarship has changed her life. Smith, a 2017 Southeastern graduate and recipient of the OUC Freshman Excellence scholarship, is determined to be a nurse. Smith was raised by her grandmother, a woman who like Diekroger's father, taught Smith the value of a college education. "No one in my family has ever gone to college," said Smith, "But my grandma always expected me to go to college." As Smith watched her grandmother's health decline it recent years, she realized that she wanted to earn a nursing degree but was concerned about how to afford it. She knew her family was not in the position to financially support her. Thanks to academic merit based scholarship, Smith is able to attend OUC on a full-tuition scholarship which for her means she can spend fewer hours working and more hours on her coursework. Smith plans to graduate in 2021 debt free, something that would not be possible without her scholarship.
OUC's first priority deadline for scholarship consideration for new students is January 15. To apply students must be admitted to OUC with a completed OUC application for admission and an official high school transcript. Upperclass students must complete the Upperclass Scholarship Application by the February 1 upperclass first priority deadline to be considered for 2018-19 scholarship. All students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by the first priority deadline for consideration for need based awards.