The Eberly Scholarships at Cal U allow eligible students from Greene and Fayette counties to attend tuition-free.
(Back row L-R) Giovani Marian, Calvin Livengood, Katie Lowery, Dalton Obitko, Robert E. Eberly Jr., President Geraldine M. Jones, Taylor Assad, Cynthia Zelmore, Thomas Victor. (Front row L-R) Taylor Kodric, Emily Sloan, Madison Groover, Katelyn Victor.
Just before Thanksgiving, 11 Cal U students shared their gratitude with a philanthropist who changed their lives.
Robert E. Eberly Jr., president of the Eberly Foundation, traveled from his home in North Carolina to meet with 11 recipients of the Eberly Scholarship at a luncheon Nov. 16 in Kara Alumni House.
Eberly shared his family’s story with the students – and, in turn, they explained how the foundation’s scholarships have made a difference for them and their families.
Like many of the students, faculty and staff at the event, Eberly has ancestors who worked in the region’s coalmines. His great-great-grandfather Sebastian emigrated from Bavaria and settled in Fayette County when the industry was thriving, he explained.
Eberly’s grandfather Orville was a third-generation coal miner. Although he never finished high school, “he had an inquisitive mind,” Eberly said, and educated himself by reading and taking correspondence courses.
Eventually, Orville Eberly invested in oil and gas, then got into banking. Fifty-five years ago he founded the Eberly Foundation, which focuses on supporting education through scholarships and other initiatives.
“My grandfather was a champion of education all his life,” Eberly said. “I can’t think of anything better to do, if you have the means to do it, than help someone get an education.”
Senior Katelyn Victor, a communication studies major with a concentration in public relations, spoke on behalf of all the scholarship recipients.
The Eberly Scholarship allowed her to concentrate fully on her studies, she said, and removed “a huge financial burden for me and my family.” She called choosing Cal U “one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”
“I’ve met my best friends, I’m doing work that I love, and I have so many opportunities I wouldn’t have received otherwise.”
After the luncheon, the students lined up to speak with Eberly individually and express their thanks.
“I know how much our students appreciate your work,” University President Geraldine M. Jones told him.
“I know that our students will do exceptional things in their lives, and you have helped to make that happen.”