Housing scholarship endowment established to assist new students

A new endowed fund has been established to provide housing scholarships for incoming students who may be struggling with the costs of living on campus. Donors John and Cindy Ethridge have committed $100,000 toward the new Dr. David M. Cates Housing Scholarship Endowment.

Annually, the fund will provide a housing scholarship for an incoming first-time, full-time student who has shown financial need and a desire to live on campus. The scholarship will be renewable for a maximum of four years, provided the student remains in good academic standing. It will be awarded to an incoming student for the first time in Fall 2024.

The residential experience is an important component of an Oglethorpe education, and there are numerous benefits to living on campus. Through on-campus events, students have an opportunity to build lasting friendships, engage in meaningful discussions, grow leadership and problem-solving skills and develop a sense of belonging. Living on campus also puts students into an environment where academic excellence is nurtured, with built-in support systems and myriad academic and wellness resources just steps away. This immersive experience allows students to fully engage with the campus’s offerings, and it’s a component of the OU experience that the university hopes to make available to more students through this scholarship.

“This new housing scholarship aligns with our goals to support our students’ success. By making living on-campus more accessible, we are investing in our students’ academic achievement, personal growth and overall well-being,” says Dr. Kathryn McClymond, university president. “The Ethridge family understands how important this is, and I’m grateful that they have taken this step to make living on campus more attainable for students.”

The new fund is named for David Marshall Cates, the father of Cindy Ethridge. Cates served in the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II, and his military service allowed him to go to college through the GI Bill. As a first-generation college student, Cates placed a high value on education. He spent his undergraduate years at North Carolina State University, then pursued his master’s degree and Ph.D. in physical chemistry at Princeton University. He taught and researched at NCSU for 31 years.

Ethridge says that her father believed education is a lifelong journey filled with exploration of many topics through research, travel and shared experiences, and that he valued and studied all liberal arts.

“He was committed to igniting and nurturing the love of learning,” says Ethridge. “As a family we want to continue his legacy and enable others to take advantage of a full college experience through living on campus and fully embracing extracurricular activities and shared student experiences.”

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