Sixty years ago, Kent State University awarded an athletic scholarship to a coal miner’s son from central Appalachia.
That investment has paid off well — for the student and the school.
George L. Jenkins, a 1963 graduate of Kent State University, and his wife, Gina, of Scottsdale, Arizona, have pledged $1 million to create the Gina and George Jenkins Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship will be awarded to “socioeconomically disadvantaged student-athletes,” prioritizing those from Appalachia, to support underserved student populations and help address gender disparity in athletics, Kent State said in a news release.
The scholarship is open to athletes in any of Kent State’s varsity sports.
In addition to the $1 million gift, the Jenkins pledged $25,000 annually over five years to fund areas that “sustain students’ academic success,” including tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies and travel costs.
“I believe very firmly that a good education is the foundation for success and gives anyone the opportunity to achieve their dreams, limited only by their intelligence, work ethic and determination,” Jenkins said in the release. “But I know how difficult it was for me to pay for my education. I hope the scholarships established by this bequest and my annual gifts will help young scholars with limited economic resources pursue their education and their dreams.”
Jenkins was a co-captain and quarterback of the Golden Flashes’ football team before graduating from the University of Michigan’s law school. He served as Ohio’s first assistant attorney general before a successful career in the private sector.
Jenkins previously made the lead gift for Kent State’s Jenkins Student-Athlete Academic Center, a 5,000-square-foot center supporting student-athletes’ academic needs.
In March, George Jenkins pledged $100,000 over four years to name the center’s Dr. James Karge Olsen Lobby in honor of the first Kent State Honors College dean and professor who encouraged him to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and attend law school.