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Rio Announces the Thelma Rees-Ohio Valley Bank Scholarship

September 24, 2012

Left to Right: Dr. Zaki Sharif, Dean-College of Professional and Applied Studies; Mr. Jeff Smith, Ohio Valley Bank; Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley, Rio Grande President; Mr. Larry Rees; Mr. Paul Harrison, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Left to Right: Dr. Zaki Sharif, Dean-College of Professional and Applied Studies; Mr. Jeff Smith, Ohio Valley Bank; Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley, Rio Grande President; Mr. Larry Rees; Mr. Paul Harrison, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Institutional Advancement

A new scholarship at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College has been created to honor the memory of a longtime community leader and the organization she worked for.

The scholarship is the Thelma Rees/Ohio Valley Bank Scholarship, and will be awarded to students from Gallia, Jackson, Meigs and Vinton counties, as well as from Mason County, W.Va.

Thelma Rees, who was from Bidwell and graduated from the Portsmouth Business College, began working for the Ohio Valley Bank in 1954. She worked for the bank for 30 years, serving as a bank vice president for much of her career.
During her time as manager of the Rio Grande branch of OVB, Rees was a strong community leader and a proud university supporter. She was well known on campus and in the village of Rio Grande, and got to know many of the students, faculty members and campus leaders over the years.

In addition, several of Rees’ family members attended and graduated from Rio Grande, including her aunt, Geneva Rees Carter, who earned her degree in the 1930s.

Thelma Rees knew that a good education was key to helping the residents of southern Ohio, and she often encouraged people she knew to earn their degrees.
A scholarship in her name is a fitting way to honor her, and her family members also wanted to recognize the work that the Ohio Valley Bank does, too. Established in 1872, the Ohio Valley Bank currently operates 15 locations in Ohio and West Virginia, and is an important part of the community.

Thelma Rees’ son, Larry Rees, and his wife, Laura, worked with representatives from Ohio Valley Bank and Rio Grande to set up this new scholarship.
Ohio Valley Bank and Ohio Valley Bank Corp. Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Smith said that the bank is proud to work with the Smith family on the scholarship.
“Frankly, at Ohio Valley Bank, we feel honored just to be mentioned in the same sentence with Thelma Rees,” Smith said. “Her influence still guides the thoughts and actions of many of our employees to this day. It is our privilege to join in this special opportunity to ensure the proper education of our community’s next leaders.”

One unique aspect of the scholarship is that each year the applications for the funding will be reviewed by a panel of Ohio Valley Bank employees who are also Rio Grande graduates. The scholarship is open to students of any major, as long as they are from the five-county area.
Larry Rees explained that when he was growing up, his family lived in the Cadmus and Patriot areas before moving to Gallipolis. The family has strong ties in southern Ohio, and is proud to present this scholarship to area residents.
For more information on the Thelma Rees/Ohio Valley Bank Scholarship or to learn how to apply for the scholarship, contact the Rio Grande Financial Aid Office at 1-800-282-7201. For additional information on scholarships and financial aid at Rio Grande, as well as information on the wide range of academic programs offers on the university’s scenic campus, log onto www.rio.edu.