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Scholarship named for Ironton woman

Ohio University Southern has a new scholarship named for Zelma S. Holmes, an Ironton resident that spent her life giving back to her community.

During World War II, Holmes learned how to operate a ham radio to help out during times of need. She was a dietician at the Lawrence County Medical Center and a member of Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church. She also served on the Lawrence County Senior Citizens Center and was selected to represent the county at a White House Conference on Aging.

She died on Feb. 25, 2009 and as the 10-year anniversary of Holmes’ passing approaches, her family is continuing her legacy, creating a scholarship for high-achieving, financially-eligible OUS students who carry the same commitment to serving others.

“My family is full of people who are always lending a helping hand. This was especially true of my grandmother who, as a black American, grew up in southern Ohio during some trying times in the United States,” Jasmine Anderson, BBA ’04, said of her grandmother, the namesake of the Zelma S. Holmes Scholarship that Anderson and other friends and family established in her honor. “She had this innate awareness to help those around her, regardless of social differences… This scholarship is a means to ensure that her compassionate spirit lives on, and, as a lifelong resident of Ironton, the Southern Campus was the obvious choice.”

The first Zelma S. Holmes Scholarship will be awarded for the 2019-20 academic year.

Holmes did not attend Ohio University but she saw the impact it had on her loved ones.

Anderson’s mother’s first job was in the library on the Southern Campus and a few members of the family are proud Bobcats.

“For nearly 20 years, Ohio University has been a direct influence in my life,” Anderson, an associate bursar at The Ohio State University, said. “It’s very likely that I would not be here today professionally if I had not received the education I did from Ohio.”

OUS dean Nicole Pennington said the Holmes family is well known in and around Ironton as is Holmes’ record of kindness, generosity and service to the community.

“The establishment of this scholarship in Mrs. Holmes’ honor speaks to her family’s commitment to follow her lead and to continue to pay kindness forward,” Pennington said.