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Monday, September 20, 2004
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Shelley and Larry Conrath fund one of first Urban Scholars

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 20, 2004) -- Ohio University alumni and Athens residents Shelley and Larry Conrath are the first local donors to the recently announced Ohio University Urban Scholars Program, which will enhance diversity at the university by providing scholarships for students from urban centers. Joining Ohio University President and Mrs. Roderick J. McDavis in making an early financial commitment to the program, the Conraths' $8,500 gift will provide a tuition and fee scholarship for an Urban Scholar during the 2005-06 academic year.

Shelley Conrath earned three degrees from Ohio University: her bachelor's of science in education in 1965, her master's of science in education in 1973 and her Ph.D. in education in 1997. She is currently the principal of The Plains Elementary School. Larry Conrath, who earned his bachelor's in business administration from the University in 1967, is the owner of Larry Conrath Realty Co. Both are long-time benefactors of Ohio University.

"This is just really the right thing to do for Ohio University's future," said Larry Conrath. "Enhancing diversity at the university is important to all of our futures here in Athens."

The mission of the Urban Scholars Program is to provide scholarships for students graduating from urban school districts who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. Preliminary goals include recruiting and supporting 10 Urban Scholars who will begin classes in the fall of 2005 and eventually supporting 100 new scholars annually by providing support for tuition and fees.

"This program is designed to target that tier of students who sometimes get missed as universities compete for the top percentage of members of underrepresented student populations," said President McDavis. "This approach allows us to focus on some of our diversity challenges in a unique way. By offering scholarships to students from Ohio's inner cities who really want to go to college and want the opportunity to succeed, we renew our commitment to promoting an atmosphere where understanding and accepting cultural differences is a top priority."

"Ohio University is committed to making positive changes for all of our students. The goal of this particular program is to enhance the collegiate experience for our students hailing from urban centers, which will benefit all students by better preparing them to enter a diverse workforce," said Vice President for University Advancement Leonard Raley. "This wonderful gift from the Conraths illustrates how important this effort is to the University and to the entire Athens community."

The Ohio University Foundation is the repository for all private gifts through annual giving programs, capital, and special campaigns and planned or deferred gifts. The Foundation is an institutionally related, non-profit, tax-exempt, 501c(3) organization.

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Media Contact: Director of Development Communication Jennifer Bowie, (740) 597-2987

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