When it comes to earning a college degree, the greatest obstacle can be funding.
For this reason, The University of Akron is pleased for the opportunity each year to assist talented, deserving students achieve their dreams, thanks to more than 1,300 named scholarships established through the kindness and generosity of thousands of UA alumni and friends, corporations, and foundations.
Scholarships truly are the best way to ensure that today’s students persist to graduation. Scholarships allow students to enroll full time and remain focused on their studies; they also reduce drop-out rates, decrease the stress of student loans, and shorten the road to graduation.
The need for scholarships grows each year, however, as students continue to face an increased financial burden in pursuit of a college degree. In fact, 94 percent of today’s baccalaureate students borrow to pay for college – versus just 45 percent in 1993. And across the country, the average college-related debt for borrowers in the class of 2013 was $35,200.
If you are interested in making a significant contribution to student success, please consider establishing a scholarship at The University of Akron. Scholarships can be created to honor a living person, in memory of a loved one, or to contribute to the growth of an area of study.
To learn more, please contact the Department of Development at 330-972-7238.
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Gill, Robert J. and Jacqueline Track Challenge
Robert J. and Jacqueline Gill believe in the value of athletic competition and the potential it has to positively shape the lives of student-athletes through the valuable lessons it offers. As testimony to this, in 2000 the Gills invested $50,000 in the planning and development of the Athletic Field House, a facility that is the indoor home of The University of Akron Men’s and Women’s Track Program and utilized by the University’s 18 varsity sports. In addition to their gift to the Athletic Field House, the Gills have made gifts totaling more than $175,000 in support of Zips track student-athletes. But their influence on the track program does not end there.
Mr. Gill, a master at recognizing potential, boasts numerous personal and business achievements. While attending The University of Akron, Mr. Gill met his wife, Jacqueline, in the Chuckery of the former Gardner Student Center and was a standout student-athlete with the track program. In his career as a student-athlete, Mr. Gill earned seven Ohio Conference Championships in outdoor (800m) and indoor (880m) track and was the 1960 NCAA Mid-East Runner-up in the 800. A 1960 graduate of The University of Akron’s College of Business Administration, Mr. Gill took his talent as a salesman and became an entrepreneur, purchasing AFD Industries, a Canton, Ohio-based supplier of industrial machinery and equipment to the elevator industry.
The Gills’ tenacious drive and ability to recognize potential and excellence in the track program have led them to focus their energy on bringing national prominence to a program that already has achieved great success in the Mid-American Conference. The support the Gills have shown, through The Robert J. and Jacqueline Gill Track Challenge, has allowed the track program to recruit some of the best student-athletes from different cultural and financial backgrounds and provide them with the opportunity to travel the country and become tomorrow’s Olympians.
Proof that their investment is paying dividends, The University of Akron’s Track Program has produced many success stories. However, out of all of the student-athletes who have been able to take advantage of the opportunity the Gills created, three student-athletes stand above the rest: LeShaunte Edwards, a three-time NCAA All-American; Mary Varga, a NCAA Indoor Track National Runner-up in the high jump; and Christi Smith, National Champion in the women’s heptathlon.
In the Fall 2001 issue of the Box Seat, Mr. Gill stated that his support of Track and Field is easy to explain: “I am trying to pay back for the great experience I had as an athlete at The University of Akron. Basically, when I was an athlete, someone supported me, and I want to be able to do the same thing.”