Watches are usually presented at retirement, but in this case, six new graduates received theirs before starting their careers. The timepieces were commencement gifts from 1960 graduate Charles Gallagher to the first graduating group from the Pacesetter scholarship program. The program was established in 1993 and funded by Gallagher to provide educational resources and scholarships to students from inner-city Toledo, Ohio. Up to 10 students a year are given scholarships to attend Toledo’s Central Catholic High School, which Gallagher attended. Each student is subsequently offered a full scholarship to Xavier if they meet the academic requirements.
“I think Charlie thought that if these students didn’t have any debt when they graduated from college, they could hit the ground running,” says Adrian Schiess, who oversees the program for the University. “The hope is that these students will give back to the community.” The six graduating Pacesetters: Melissa Pratt, Shasta Hill, Chinina Lyle, Tamura Okwu, Quiana Quirles and Charssie Willis. “I’m so excited about the six of you and what you’ve accomplished,” Gallagher told the graduates at a May 18 luncheon. “You’ve set an example for those that will follow.”
“We hope our success makes you proud,” said Quirles, speaking on behalf of the students. “We are truly blessed to have you in our lives.”