Wayne F. White scholarships are awarded annually to high school seniors who reside in and are graduating schools located within the 29 counties of Appalachian Ohio. Criteria for selection of recipients will include (but not be limited to) the following considerations: Students have obtained or will obtain a high school diploma or GED, and will show proof of acceptance at an accredited 2-year or 4-year institution of higher education. Ethical character, extra-curricular activities and financial need will also be evaluated. Academic performance will be considered, but the potential for success as evidenced by an individual’s commitment, interest, and desire to achieve educational goals will be carefully considered. Students will be able to use the award for a variety of higher education related expenses such as tuition, travel, books and supplies, computer equipment and student fees.
This scholarship program has been established to honor in perpetuity, Wayne’s memory and his legacy by his friends, family, and countless others who took joy in his life and accomplishments. During his lifetime, he was also universally loved and respected as a homegrown, nationally recognized champion and friend of higher education throughout Appalachian Ohio and beyond. During his life, Wayne dedicated himself to helping others. A respected educator for more than four decades, he touched and inspired thousands. His enthusiasm, energy and optimism helped change the landscape of education in Appalachian Ohio, fighting for equal funding for rural schools, and encouraging young people and adults to pursue higher education.
Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. (Jewel) Evans made the initial gift of $25,000 to establish this memorial scholarship. Bob Evans, the nationally-recognized restaurateur and philanthropist, was a long-time friend of White and an early supporter of OACHE. “Wayne was so proud of his heritage,” said Evans. “What he accomplished during his 40 years of service and his leadership promoting higher education for both youth and adults, is a true legacy. He traveled the 29 counties of Appalachian Ohio, putting in 12–14 hour days, every day, devoted to increasing the number of Appalachian Ohioans who go to college. Jewel and I feel this scholarship fund can continue to grow in order to achieve and keep alive, the goals set by Wayne before his untimely death.”
At the time of his passing, Wayne had been for eleven years the Executive Director of the Ohio Appalachian Center for Higher Education (OACHE)—a consortium of public colleges and universities within Appalachia that works to make higher education accessible. As an Appalachian himself, Wayne believed deeply in the academic ability and potential of the region’s students to succeed, no matter the place or the purpose. He spoke with passion and eloquence about the importance of greater access and success by our region’s citizens at any accredited educational and training institution beyond high school, including apprenticeship, certificates and/or associate or bachelor degree programs. OACHE became, under his leadership, a national model for success, increasing participation of Appalachian students in post secondary education, a program now replicated in seven states and winner of the prestigious Innovations in American Government Award by the John F. Kennedy School of government at Harvard University. His contribution as trustee on the Board of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio was immeasurable.