“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.
The scholarships are intended to help offset the cost of an undergraduate college education not covered by financial aid and/or scholarships.
The recipients are appreciative of how the scholarships will support their college pursuits.
“This scholarship opens an opportunity to attend college and pursue a degree in nursing. Since my mother died of cancer, it has been a passion to mine to become a nurse and help others,” said Aaron Meeker of Zane Trace High School, who will attend OU-C this fall.
“This scholarship lifted a large burden of paying for school from my family,” said Christopher Kerr, who is studying exercise physiology at Ohio University-Athens and received the scholarship for the third year. “From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Gates.”
This year is especially meaningful. Five students from the original class of 2004 earned their college degrees this spring. Those students who graduated this spring shared their insights with the current Gates Foundation Scholarship recipients.
Jessica Ford, a publication design major who graduated from Ohio University-Athens this spring, addressed the new recipients. “My college experience was the best four years of my life. This scholarship is special because it comes from the hearts of two great people, Mr. and Mrs. Gates. Keep them in mind for the many opportunities they have provided,” she told them.
Kara Bobo, who graduated from Shawnee State University with a degree in sports management, said, “During my four-year career, the Gates Scholarship helped pay for three-fourths of the tuition. College is a great way to find yourself, create friendships that will last forever and start a life that’s full of success. 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.”
Mr. Gates commended the work of the other Gates Foundation directors, who are Nicole McLaughlin, Michelle Bertagnoli, Matthew Haller, Kimberly Hirsch, Nancy Harris and Valerie Miller.
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 indication of 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 choice.
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