Monday, June 18, 2012

Gates Foundation Fund continues to allow students opportunity to pursue their college ambitions

Latest group of 12 students is announced at campus event

This year’s recipients of The Gates Foundation – Ross County Scholar’s Fund were announced during a recent event on campus. Twelve students received the scholarships, including six new recipients and six continuing students.

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

The scholarships are intended to help offset the cost of an undergraduate college education not covered by financial aid and/or scholarships.

“We are driven by a strong belief in young people and their potential,” Larry Gates said in explaining the motivation behind the establishing the scholarship fund.

“The foresight, vision and generosity of Mary and Larry Gates made this occasion possible,” OU-C Dean Martin Tuck said. “There is no better use of resources in higher education than the support of scholarships. I am happy to see that so many of the students are pursuing their college dreams at Ohio University, either on the Athens or Chillicothe campus. At its core, the Gates Foundation utilizes higher education to open doors of opportunity, and that is also the mission of the Chillicothe Campus. A college education broadens students’ horizons and prepares them for their global marketplace as well as serving their own communities.”

Kara Bobo, part of the original class of Gates Foundation scholars, shared her insights with the current scholarship recipients.

“Mary and Larry Gates really care about young people and have helped many students fulfill their dreams,” she said. “I encourage the current scholars to pursue wealth and to realize that wealth is not about money. Rather, true wealth is about happiness and always knowing that your friends and family members are the most important things in the world. During your college careers, my advice to you is to challenge yourselves, build bonds with people and strive for excellence in the classroom. Remember that life is short and make sure to seize the moment and make the most of your time.”

Since the scholarship fund’s inception, well more than 100 scholarships have been awarded.

Gates Foundation directors include Nicole McLaughlin, Michelle Bertagnoli, Matthew Haller, Kimberly Hirsch, Nancy Harris and Valerie Miller.

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

Mr. 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 the 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.

2012 The Gates Foundation – Ross County Scholars

The new recipients include:

Student /High School University/College

Katelyn Anderson/ Chillicothe High School /Ohio University-Athens

Brandon Cox/ Zane Trace High School /Ohio University-Athens

Kelsey Dunkle/ Zane Trace High School /Marshall University

Colleen Fitzgerald/ Chillicothe High School /Ohio University-Athens

Abby Merritt /Zane Trace High School /Ohio University-Athens

Charles Violette/ Chillicothe High School /Northern Kentucky University

The renewed recipients include:

Student/University or College

Andrea McLean /Franciscan University of Steubenville

Derek Merriman /Ohio University-Athens

Casey Oates /Ohio University-Chillicothe

Emilee Ortmann/ Miami University

Victoria Skinner/ Ohio University-Athens

Tyler Van Buskirk /Wright State University

More information on The Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholar's Fund is available online at

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