In the spring of 1950, Principal A. O. Mathias (left) stopped the son of Greek immigrants in the halls of Withrow High School and asked what he planned to do after graduation. “I don’t know” was the reply.
Akila J. “Ike” Misali’s whose parents ran a small dry-cleaning store downtown. He wanted to attend college but didn’t have the money. In early August that year, with his future still in limbo, Misali unexpectedly received a letter from Raymond Walters, then president of The University of Cincinnati.
Walters invited Misali to attend UC on a full-tuition scholarship because of his record and Mathias’ recommendation.
Kent Holwadel, a stockbroker and president of Withrow’s 1950 senior class, said Mathias helped make it possible for dozens of students like Misali to attend college.
During the next 10 years, more than 50 percent of Withrow’s graduates went on to college. He always made a policy of asking students what they planned to do and if they needed any help.
Never forgetting his personal life lesson about the value of a scholarship, Misali established The A.O. Mathias Scholarship Fund that covers freshman tuition to UC for a Withrow graduate (named for the principal who started Misali on his UC journey).
The scholarship is to be given to a student with two working parents who is not eligible for the standard Pell Grant.