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Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholar's Fund recipients announced during event in Chillicothe

ATHENS, Ohio (May 22, 2006) -- This year's recipients of The Gates Foundation?Ross County Scholar's Fund were announced during a ceremony at Ohio University Chillicothe Campus.

Photo by Rick FaticaFifteen students from Ross County received scholarships this year.

In 2004, Chillicothe native Larry A. Gates and his wife, Mary, established the scholarship fund, which will eventually total approximately $10 million, to pave the way to a college education for students graduating from Ross County high schools.

"Our decision to support scholarships is driven by a strong belief in young people and a deep belief in the power of education and learning," Mr. Gates said. "For me, this is a day of celebration ? an opportunity to reflect on where we are in our lives and think about the future."

The Gates scholarship fund has a significant influence on educational attainment in Ross County by helping to offset the cost for high school graduates wishing to attend college.

"This scholarship fund helps to lessen financial barriers of a college education so that students can more easily achieve their goals and pursue their ambitions," said Rich Bebee, dean of Ohio University-Chillicothe. "This scholarship is helping to create a bright future for Ross County."

Selection criteria for the scholarship included potential to succeed in college as determined by high school grades and college entrance scores, letters of reference and a demonstration for financial need.

Kara Bobo, a junior sports management and early childhood education major at Shawnee State University, said that the scholarship allowed her to intern with the Shawnee State athletic office to pursue her dream of becoming an athletic director. "The Gates Scholarship has given me more opportunities to concentrate on my studies," said Bobo. She is receiving the Gates Scholarship for the third time.

Of the 15 recipients, seven are receiving Gates scholarships for the first time this year. The scholarships are renewable for up to an additional three years for those who continue to qualify. Students may attend the college or university of their choice. Eight of this year's scholarships are renewed from last year. The students will continue their education on nine campuses.

"Mr. and Mrs. Gates have provided an opportunity to many students who most likely could not attend college otherwise," said Emily Gray. "Education is important; it is the basis of everything. That is why I chose to major in education." Gray will begin her studies at Ohio University beginning in the fall.

The new recipients include:

StudentHigh School University/College
Lisa DonahuePaint Valley High School   University of Cincinnati   
Eric Fout Chillicothe High SchoolOhio University-Athens
Emily GraySoutheastern High SchoolOhio University-Athens
Christopher KerrChillicothe High School Ohio University-Athens
Ashton Payne Chillicothe High SchoolCoastal Carolina University
Holly SmithSoutheastern High SchoolOhio State University 
Andrew SowersAdena High SchoolOhio University-Chillicothe

The renewed recipients include:

StudentHigh School
Kara BoboSoutheastern High SchoolShawnee State University
Lindsay Donahue
Paint Valley High SchoolMiami University
Jessica FordChillicothe High School
Ohio University-Athens
Jeremy Grigsby
Adena High School
College of Charleston
Liza Hirsch
Adena High SchoolOhio University-Athens   
Catherine Hurff
Chillicothe High School
Capital University
Kelley Marling   Chillicothe High School
Ohio University-Athens
Ashley Sowers
Adena High School
Shawnee State University

Gates retired as senior vice president of human resources and administration for Philip Morris Companies in 1998. In that position, he was responsible for worldwide human resources for a multinational corporation employing 160,000 individuals in 180 major markets around the world. He graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1956, Northeastern State University in 1964 and joined Philip Morris in 1967.

The donor-advised fund is administered by The Ohio University Foundation, the private fundraising arm of the university.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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