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Tuesday, October 12, 2004
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Unlocking potential

Oct. 12, 2004

By Amy Wells

Nikki Brown, a senior public relations major, can look up to Leon Harris, BSC '83 and HON '99, for more than one reason.

Photo by Rick FaticaNot only is Harris a former CNN anchor (now an anchor for ABC's Washington, D.C., affiliate, WJLA), he also established the Leon M. Harris Jr. Scholarship, one of 1,226 new scholarships created by gifts to the Bicentennial Campaign.

"Being a minority (at Ohio University), it can sometimes be difficult because you don't see a lot of people who look like you in your classes," says Brown, the new scholarship's first recipient. "I think who (Harris) is makes it very motivating ... to know he cares about the success of minority students here." The Harris Scholarship is awarded to minority students from Harris' hometown of Akron, Ohio, who are pursuing a degree in the College of Communication. Harris' $75,000 in gifts for the awards were among more than $40.1 million raised for scholarships.

"It's important for minority students to see someone who looks like them succeeding in the field," Harris says. "I'm trying to reach back to let them do the same things I've had the chance to do."

Brown plans to earn an MBA and hopes to run her own public relations firm. "I know donors don't always get to see the faces that go with the recipients of the funds, but I know that, especially with minority scholarships, we have to have them," says Brown. "They are the drive behind a lot of the success you see here."

This story appeared in the fall 2004 edition of Ohio Today. Amy Wells, BSC '04, was development communication assistant for Ohio University in 2003-04.

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