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Honoring his hero: Joseph Rich endows scholarship in his father’s name

IMAGE: Joseph Rich is pictured with his sister, Anne Kirby, at the 2013 Kent State University Founders Gala
When your father is your hero, you want to honor him in any way you can. Joseph Rich found the perfect way to honor his.

"I studied Engineering in college because I wanted to be like him," said Joseph Rich about his father, Gary Rich. "While I was never near the engineer my father is, I am fortunate to have found my calling by building a career in sales with my technical background as a foundation."

When deciding on a 2013 Christmas present for his father, Joseph, who is the Northern Ohio Sales Manager for Rockwell Automation, made the decision to establish The Gary Rich Endowed Scholarship for Applied Engineering.

"Through my career, I've had the pleasure of working with Kent State University's College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology for several years now," Joseph said. "I believe that the school's technical programs embody the enthusiasm and hands-on nature that have made my father such a great engineer."

Because of this, Joseph wanted to support the program and realized he could honor his father while doing so. And on Christmas day when his father opened the certificate proclaiming the scholarship, his reactions were many.

"My father is a very humble man, and I think he was first shocked, then a little embarrassed and ultimately proud," Joseph said. "He has been engaged with me at Kent State and shares the same high opinion of the CAEST and its faculty and staff that I do."

The Gary Rich Endowed Scholarship for Applied Engineering will benefit students enrolled within Kent State University's College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability & Technology, B.S. Applied Engineering program. The goal of this scholarship is that the students receiving it will gain a well-rounded, technical education and connections to prospective employers in Northeast Ohio that will ultimately allow them to live and work in – and contribute to – the economic success of the region.

The decision to honor his father through giving back to others was an easy one for Joseph.

"I believe that it is incumbent upon those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to give to do so.  And I firmly believe in giving locally and where those gifts can have the greatest impact," Joseph said.

While neither he nor his father is a Kent State University alumnus, Joseph knew he wanted to support the Kent State CAEST program.

"I have a passion for rebuilding manufacturing in Northeast Ohio," he said, "and I believe that Kent State CAEST and the highly talented students you are graduating are in a great position to be a catalyst to drive that revitalization."

The Gary Rich Endowed Scholarship will forever make a lasting impact on recipients' lives, but Kent State University and the Kent State CAEST program have made a lasting impact on the lives of Joseph and his father.

"My father is my hero," Joseph said, "and being able to honor him through this scholarship, while benefiting such a great program, was a wonderful opportunity."

To read more inspiring stories of giving, click here.

Click here to see all the ways you can donate to Kent State University and make an impact on someone's life today.

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