Longtime newspaperman John Grigsby was known to say he got his diploma from the University of Toledo, but he got his education at the Campus Collegian.
Today, family members of the late Blade reporter plan to announce the creation of the John N. Grigsby Memorial Scholarship Fund at UT. The endowed fund will provide annual scholarships to the three top editors at the campus newspaper, now known as the Independent Collegian.
“He got a job at The Blade the day after graduation, and in 1936 that was pretty special because there were no jobs,” said his son, Richard Grigsby. “He always came back to the Collegian and how it was important for him, how he got his start.”
The elder Mr. Grigsby, who retired from The Blade in 1989 after a half century with the paper, died Jan. 13, 2011, at age 96. During his long career, he covered nearly every beat at the newspaper, reporting on major news stories from fires to floods across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.
Richard said his father was a long-time supporter of UT and made it known before his death that if it were possible to do something financially after he was gone, “that was one place he wanted to contribute.” Richard and his mother, Margaret, known to friends and family as “Dick,” met with Dan Saevig, UT’s associate vice president of alumni relations, and fashioned the scholarship fund with $110,000 from life-insurance proceeds.
“Mom always said that was Dad’s money, not ours,” Richard said.
The gift is a welcome one to UT students like Danielle Gamble, who recently became editor-in-chief of the now-weekly Independent Collegian. Mr. Grigsby was editor of the campus paper in 1935 and 1936.
“There’s a lot of sentiment in this,” Ms. Gamble said. “I really appreciate this scholarship, and it really feels good for me to know that someone as talented as John Grigsby felt good enough about his time here at the Collegian to give back to us.”
In addition to the editor-in-chief, scholarships are to be awarded for the first time this fall to the paper’s managing editor and news editor, Mr. Saevig said. Scholarships will be awarded from a portion of the fund’s investment income.
“John was one of the best, so this is a really great tribute to him that will have an impactful long-term focus for our students,” Mr. Saevig said.
Ms. Gamble said she started out at UT as a music education major, but, after she got a taste for news reporting at the campus newspaper, she now is working on a dual degree in music and communications. The Grigsby scholarship is the only scholarship she knows of specifically for Collegian staff members, and she’s encouraged by that fact.
“It feels cool as someone who hopes to be a professional journalist,” she said. “I like knowing I’m a part of that kind of legacy.”
In addition to the scholarship fund, Richard said his father gave his vast collection of papers — newspapers, notes, and other documents from his long career — to the Ward M. Canaday Center at UT’s Carlson Library.
Mr. Grigsby's body was donated to the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio.
The new scholarship is to be formally announced at 10 a.m. today at a news conference at the Carlson Library.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.