Grad grateful for scholarship from former Champion Paper employees

The Hamilton Community Foundation is awarding $1 million in scholarships this spring to graduating high school seniors in the greater Hamilton area and one recipient will be the first among her siblings to attend college.

The largest single allocation of Hamilton Community Foundation funds is for scholarships to area students. Since 1951, scholarships totaling more than $12 million have been granted to college-bound students.

One of the 180 scholarships being awarded this spring is the Dana H. and Martha M. Mehl Scholarship. Margaret Jones, who is graduating from Ross High School and will attend Miami University to study engineering, is the award recipient.

Jones is the youngest of three and the first of her siblings to attend college. She said the scholarship has encouraged her to pursue higher education

“I am very honored to win this scholarship and it feels really encouraging,” Jones said. “It means a lot to me and it was a really good experience to meet the Mehls.”

Dana Mehl and his wife, Martha, said they are happy to fund the scholarship, which this year was given for the first time.

The Mehls both previously worked at Champion International in Hamilton, according to the Hamilton Community Foundation.

The scholarship in their name is a $5,000 award renewable for an additional three years, according to the Foundation.

“This experience exceeded our expectations,” Dana said, adding that after the scholarship selection committee chose the recipient, he and his wife received written information about Jones.

They learned she carried a 4.1 GPA and graduated fourth in her class of 221, participated in swimming as well as track and field, and is an active and passionate volunteer.

The Mehls became increasingly excited to meet her in person at the Foundation’s recent Scholarship Awards Night.

“She is just so sincere with her thanks,” Dana said. “She told us thank you many times. She’s full of energy and plans.”

As the first in his family and extended family to attend college, Dana said he can relate to Jones. Martha said the couple feels a sense of joy about giving the scholarship.

“We do not have children of our own,” Martha said. “I do not think anything prepared us for how great this was going to feel. We are just two hard working people and we have given to other things before. The neat thing about this is the feeling of joy, pride and actually seeing the student.”

Betsy Hope of the Hamilton Community Foundation said the organization also offers scholarships to current college students and adults returning to pursue higher education. Guidelines for these scholarships are available on the Foundation’s website and online applications are due June 20.

For more information, contact the Hamilton Community Foundation by calling 513-863-1717, or visit

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