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President visits Central Ohio to promote Urban Scholars Program

Oct. 14, 2004

By George Mauzy

Most of the Ohio University alumni who ventured into the Columbus, Ohio, Westin Great Southern Hotel ballroom on Tuesday night had no idea what was in store.

The excitement began when President Roderick McDavis stepped to the podium and shared his vision for the University. He discussed his four areas of focus: making the University a nationally prominent research university; increasing diversity at the University in all areas; helping the institution raise its profile as a research institution; and increasing partnerships in the region, state and nation.

McDavis announced that the new Urban Scholars program he kicked off in September is off to a strong start and is an exciting new way to attract quality students from urban areas to Ohio University.

As a surprise for those in attendance, Ralph Amos, executive director of the Ohio University Alumni Association, introduced the Columbus East High School Marching Tigers Band. The more than 100-member band poured into the ballroom complete with majorettes and drum majors.

"People say that there isn't any talent in the city," McDavis said after their performance. "This band is an example of the exceptional talent that exists in the city and these are the types of students that we need to recruit for the Urban Scholars program at Ohio University."

The East High band is entirely comprised of students with at least a 3.0 G.P.A. and has performed at major events all across the nation under the direction of Martha Hal. Next up for the band are performances at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Georgia State University in Atlanta.

McDavis asked the alumni in attendance to help him support the new program by funding at least one scholarship with a pledge of $8,000, as he and his wife, Deborah, have already done. He stated that $80,000 was needed to fund the first class of 10 Urban Scholars at Ohio University next fall quarter, but more money was needed to endow the scholarships so that the money is never depleted.

To seek continued support for the Urban Scholars program, McDavis will speak at future alumni chapter events in Ohio including Dayton on Oct. 28, Akron on Nov. 3, Toledo on Nov. 10, Cincinnati on Nov. 18 and Youngstown on Nov. 30.

George Mauzy is a media specialist with University Communications and Marketing.
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