Two newly endowed scholarship funds were created through the Portage Foundation to honor the memory of Roger J. Di Paolo, lifelong county resident whose career in journalism and volunteerism in local civic organizations made him a household name within Portage County. The funds were established by Di Paolo’s husband, Timothy Krasselt, and son, Brian Di Paolo, in coordination with the foundation.
“We were honored to work with Timothy and Brian in developing these two funds. Roger Di Paolo’s death was a tremendous loss for our community. His work helped make Portage County a better place to live. Through the creation of these scholarship funds, his legacy will continue to positively impact others for years to come,” said Debbie Smeiles, President of the Portage Foundation Board of Trustees.
With the establishment of the Roger J. Di Paolo Scholarship Fund, two new annual scholarships will be awarded, beginning this year.
Two new scholarships to be awarded annually
The Roger J. Di Paolo Wick Poetry Scholarship will be an annual scholarship of $1,000 awarded to a Kent State University student in any year of study who has an interest in writing poetry. The recipient will be chosen through a Selection Committee consisting of representatives of the Foundation, representatives of the Di Paolo Family, and a staff member from the Wick Poetry Center. The 2022 recipient of the Roger J. Di Paolo Wick Poetry Scholarship is Sara Borkman, a junior at Kent State University.
The Roger J. Di Paolo Bright Future Scholarship will be an annual scholarship of $1,000 awarded to a Ravenna High School senior who lives in the Skeels or McElrath neighborhoods of Ravenna or is actively involved in the Skeels-Matthews or King-Kennedy Community Centers. The Selection Committee for this award will consist of representatives of the Foundation, representatives of the Di Paolo Family, a guidance counselor from Ravenna High School and a representative from the Portage County NAACP. Arystah Kendrick was selected as the 2022 Roger J. Di Paolo Bright Future Scholarship recipient.
A History of Service to Portage County
Di Paolo, whose distinguished journalism career at the Record-Courier included serving as editor for over 25 years, was known for his deep knowledge of local history and patient mentoring of his staff. When corporate ownership changes eliminated his role at the paper, Di Paolo lent his talents to the nonprofit sector, with roles at the Kent Historical Society and Family and Community Services. He also returned to the newspaper industry, with service as a board member and columnist for The Portager.
“We’re very grateful to work with the Portage Foundation on the creation of these scholarships,” said Brian Di Paolo, speaking for the family. “Dad had a lifelong passion for poetry, and he loved spending time with the residents of the Skeels and McElrath communities. He will be very missed, but we’re hopeful that these scholarships will continue to allow his legacy to live on–and that his work will not be left unfinished.”
The Portage Foundation, created as a community foundation 25 years ago, oversees funds endowed through donations from individuals and organizations. With the creation of the Roger J. Di Paolo Scholarship Fund, the foundation has over $8 million in assets under management.