Sunday, May 20, 2018

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John Gilliom

John Gilliom

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

April Henderson

April Henderson

Photo courtesy of: College of Arts & Sciences

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Two OHIO administrators create an "on-ramp" to higher education for Appalachian students

Faculty and staff at Ohio University have been called to give back to OHIO’s The Promise Within Faculty and Staff Campaign. In answer to that call, two long-time OHIO employees have joined forces to establish a way to give back for a lifetime.  

Professor of Political Science John Gilliom, who serves as associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, and April Henderson, the College’s chief financial and administrative officer, established a scholarship that supports full-time Ohio University undergraduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences who demonstrate financial need and are from an Ohio Appalachian county. 

Gilliom and Henderson began donating to the Wilson Scholarship Fund—named after OHIO’s historic Wilson Hall, the College’s administrative building—in December. Thanks to a matching gift from College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean Robert Frank, the scholarship was awarded to a student this month. And through Gilliom and Henderson’s continuous giving to this scholarship through the employee payroll deduction plan, the scholarship recipient can receive an annual award for the next four years.

Gilliom and Henderson joined forces to design the scholarship in order to create a greater giving impact for The Promise Within Campaign and to be a part of a lifetime project. Both also are closely tied to the local community outside of Athens, said Henderson, a first-generation college student from Ohio’s Appalachian region.

“Supporting students in Appalachia is something near and dear to my heart,” Gilliom said. 

Gilliom believes in higher education as an “on-ramp” for rural Appalachian students.  

“I really believe that higher education can move people ahead,” he said. It brings in a new generation of people who can contribute to the needs of society and creates another generation of strong leadership.”

Gilliom and Henderson agree that the employee payroll deduction program makes it easy for them to give to the Wilson Scholarship Fund. 

“A tiny sliver of money disappears from your paycheck every two weeks through payroll deduction,” Gilliom said. “It’s a positive feeling for me to know that part of my salary is being fed back into the University to make it possible for more students to come here.” 

While Gilliom and Henderson encourage donations to the Wilson Scholarship Fund, they also encourage faculty and staff to explore the many worthy OHIO scholarships and projects already established or to develop their own.  

“If you know what your interest is, there is a way to find out how to support it,” Henderson said. 

The Promise Within Faculty & Staff Campaign is part of The Promise Lives Campaign, which will raise $450 million by June 2015 in support of students, faculty, research, creative activity, community outreach and select facilities. To date, the Campaign has raised more than $419 million in support of these priorities.