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University awards prestigious McIntosh Scholarship to ‘purpose-driven leader’

Centerville High School senior Gabby Davis, described as a purpose-driven leader who can quickly make people feel included in a community, has been awarded the prestigious W.S. McIntosh Memorial Leadership Award.

The award provides 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.

Davis told the selection committee she wants to model her life after McIntosh by “standing up for Black voices” and “serving underrepresented populations, no matter what.” 

In Centerville, she was selected by her peers as a leader of the HOPE Squad suicide prevention group; helped to head a weeklong fundraiser through her high school that raised more than $60,000 for charity; directs social media for the Forte a cappella group; is a member of the National Honor Society; and has been involved in youth ministry through Fairhaven Church.

The W.S. 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.

More information on the McIntosh Scholarship is available on the University’s website.


News and Communications Staff