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McIntosh Scholar

Cameron Rucker thought the special speaker at his first-period class was going to talk about what it takes to be an engineer. As it turns out, the speaker was there to do much more.

“If you work hard, good things can happen to you,” said University of Dayton President and aerospace engineer Eric F. Spina. “You can win prestigious scholarships and you can go to great schools, and there’s actually a young man here … Does anyone know Cameron? I’m here to actually announce that Cameron has won the most prestigious scholarship the University of Dayton offers: the McIntosh scholarship.”

The W.S. McIntosh Memorial Leadership Award includes full tuition, room and board to the University of Dayton and a four-year paid internship with the city of Dayton. The award honors W.S. McIntosh, a civil rights leader in Dayton in the 1960s. McIntosh led one of the first major civil rights protests in Dayton, organized community groups and was executive director of the Dayton chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality. He was shot and killed while trying to prevent a robbery at a jewelry store in downtown Dayton March 4, 1974.

The award is presented in his memory annually to a graduating African American high school student residing in Montgomery County. Recipients must be committed to the ideals of social justice and demonstrate potential for community leadership.

The goal of the program, established in 1987 by professor Pat Palermo and City of Dayton human resources analyst Mike Herrlein, is to encourage local students to attend UD and stay in the area after graduation by supporting their education and helping them develop professional experience while in school.

Rucker, the son of Karen and Laurence Rucker, is a senior at Northmont High School. He was selected from a field of 12 finalists for his strong work ethic, academic ability and positive attitude toward carrying on the legacy of McIntosh, said Kathleen Henderson, University of Dayton director of college access, success and transitions.

He is among the top 10 percent of his graduating class and a member of the National Honor Society. He plays football and basketball and runs track. Outside of school, Rucker volunteers at nursing homes and with elementary students at sports camps in local schools. He also gives back through his church, including filling backpacks with school supplies and distributing them to children before each school year. His teachers and mentors describe him as trustworthy, self-reliant, dependable and “a student who embodies the qualities you most want to see in a young person.”

Rucker plans to study engineering at the University of Dayton and will be a first generation college graduate.

For information on the McIntosh scholarship, contact Kathleen Henderson at or 937-229-3774.



News and Communications Staff