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Gates Scholarships help students follow dreams
Latest class of 18 Ross County students is named  

Jun 18, 2008  
By Jack Jeffery  

Dreams and aspirations continue to become realities for Ross County students thanks to the vision and ongoing generosity of a local couple.

This year?s recipients of scholarships from The Gates Foundation -- Ross County Scholar?s Fund were introduced during a ceremony in Ohio University-Chillicothe?s Bennett Hall on Tuesday. Eighteen students received the scholarships, seven new recipients and 11 continuing scholars.

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

In all, 74 scholarships, with a value of $230,000, have been awarded to 35 recipients. The scholarships are intended to help offset the cost of an undergraduate college education not covered by financial aid and/or scholarships.

?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,? Larry Gates said.

Students attending Tuesday?s event expressed gratitude for the Gates family?s generosity and support for education.

?This scholarship opens an opportunity to attend college and pursue a degree in nursing,? said Aaron Meeker of Zane Trace High School, who will attend Ohio University-Chillicothe this fall. ?Since my mother died of cancer, it has been a passion to mine to become a nurse and help others.?

Added Christopher Kerr, who is studying exercise physiology on the Athens campus and received the scholarship for the third year, ?This scholarship lifted a large burden of paying for school from my family. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Gates.?

This year is especially meaningful for the program. Five students from the original class of 2004 earned their college degrees this spring. On Tuesday, the graduates shared thoughts with current scholars.

?This scholarship is special because it comes from the hearts of two great people, Mr. and Mrs. Gates,? said Jessica Ford, a publication design major who graduated from Ohio University?s Athens campus. ?Keep them in mind for the many opportunities they have provided.?

Kara Bobo, who graduated from Shawnee State University with a degree in sports management, said the Gates Scholarship covered three-fourths of the cost of her tuition.

?College is a great way to find yourself, create friendships that will last forever and start a life that?s full of success,? she said. ?I have learned that one of the greatest gifts in life is giving back, and many of life?s greatest lessons can be taught by helping someone less fortunate.?

Recipients are selected on the basis of their potential to succeed in college as determined by high school grades and college entrance scores, letters of reference and an indication of financial need. The scholarships are renewable up to three additional years for those who continue to qualify. Students may attend the college or university of their choice.   

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

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

View a full list of 2008 Gates Scholarship recipients.


Related Links
The Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholar's Fund www.ohio.edu/gatesscholarship/ 

Published: Jun 18, 2008 9:30 AM  

Larry Gates greets a scholarship recipient Tuesday evening during an event at Ohio University-Chillicothe.
Larry Gates greets a scholarship recipient Tuesday evening during an event at Ohio University-Chillicothe.  

Photographer: Rick Fatica  

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