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University Awards McIntosh Scholarship to Stivers Senior

Stivers School for the Arts senior Jada Simone Gee, who aspires to be a drama therapist, has been awarded the prestigious W.S. McIntosh Memorial Leadership Award.

The award includes full tuition, room and board to the University of Dayton and a four-year paid internship with the city of Dayton. It 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 downtown jewelry store March 4, 1974.

The McIntosh 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.

Gee told the selection committee that McIntosh, who “stood for equality” when it “wasn’t popular,” inspires her to make a difference. “From my observation, addressing mental health in the black community isn’t popular either; and I’d like to see this issue change.”

Gee, whom mentors describe as compassionate, intelligent and talented, is involved in school and community theater. She recently played Cynthia Wesley, one of the young girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombings, in “One Sunday in Birmingham” for the Xenia Area Community Theatre and Columbus Black Theatre Festival. She’s also been involved with the Cincinnati Black Theatre Company Imagine That! Summer Camp, Buckeye Girls State, Dayton Digital Media Club, her church, and other activities.

She plans to study fine arts with a minor in psychology and ultimately pursue a career as a drama therapist, using theater techniques to help people overcome trauma.

Watch a video of UD President Eric F. Spina surprising Jada Simone Gee at her school:


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