LIMA — Dr. David Rolsten attended the Ohio State University at Lima between 1973 and 1974, then moved to the main campus, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Zoology in December of 1977 and stayed until 1981 after earning his degree in dentistry.
He’s practiced dentistry in Shelby, Ohio, for the past 35 years.
Rolsten is grateful for his experience in Lima and wanted to somehow pay it back.
He donated $100,000 to help fund the David Rolsten First Generation Endowed Fund at Ohio State Lima.
The new scholarship will support first-generation students.
On Saturday, he received a certificate formally recognizing the gift to the Lima campus.
“I was blessed with being the recipient of an education here. And that allowed me to improve my life. Had Ohio State not had a branch here, this guy never would have started a university experience that has led me to be blessed with the resources to give back to this branch campus, as well as to create an amazingly blessed life,” Rolsten said. “I was the first in my extended family to decide to go to college, I was blessed with the work ethic that allowed me to pay for that on my own accord, and this gift will hopefully open the door to individuals in the greater Lima area that make that decision as well.”
Rolsten learned dedication and hard work by working as a newspaper carrier for The Lima News.
“I had a paper route on Prospect and Kibby. I had like 130 customers. And I kind of happened upon this and ended up staying with it for close to four years. And it was a lot of work. I was such a little scrawny kid that we had the paper bags, I would load up on Sundays. They were so heavy I had to crawl underneath the things and to get to lift them. And it was a good thing. It taught me so many people skills,” Rolsten said.
Around 40% of students attending the Ohio State University at Lima are all first-generation students.
“For many of these kids, just like his story, you don’t have a family that can pay for it, if you’re going to make it somebody else has to help you, and that’s really the gift he’s making is access to a world-class institution that changes the future for children and our region,” said Tim Rehner, dean and director of the Lima campus. “I just can’t think of a more meaningful thing that people could do than what David is doing with this gift.
Coming up on March 22 there’s an effort among OSU Alumni to donate money to also help the endowment fund. Dr. Rolsten will match, dollar for dollar, whatever is brought in that day and that amount will be added to what he’s already donated to the fund.
Interest earned from the endowment will be used to help first-generation students at the Lima campus.
The annual distribution from this fund provides one or more scholarships to first-generational college students who are enrolled in The Ohio State University at Lima and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Preference will be given to candidates who are members of the Generation One Learning Community at Ohio State Lima or similar student success programs.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.