Giving, Scholarships|July 2, 2011 2:48 pm

Kentucky Couple’s Estate Honors Their Daughter’s Memory with Leadership Scholarship

Roanoke, Va. – The estate of Ralph and Virginia “Ginny” McBride Roth, one of
Ashland, Kentucky’s most generous and respected families, has established an endowed scholarship fund in the memory of their daughter at her alma mater.

The Sheila Diane Roth ’66 Leadership Scholarship will provide financial assistance to a student or students from the Kentucky counties of Boyd or Greenup who wish to attend Hollins University and participate in Hollins’ Batten Leadership Institute, or to currently enrolled students from those counties who successfully complete the Batten Leadership Skills course and intend to earn the Certificate of Leadership Studies at the university. If there is no qualified student from those counties, all Kentucky residents will be eligible. In the event that those criteria are not met, the scholarship will be awarded to any qualified student.

“The total of the donation to Hollins was almost two million dollars,” said Estate
Executor Rudy Dunnigan of Ashland. “These funds will be invested and the earnings will fund the scholarships.”

The Roths came to Ashland in 1962 and Ralph Roth, a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine who performed his residency at Johns Hopkins, practiced and taught radiology in the area for forty-eight years. He was a member of the medical staff at King’s Daughters Medical Center from 1962-1980 and at Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital from 1981- 1986. He subsequently served on the faculty at the School of Allied Health, Shawnee State University (1986-1990) and at the Marshall University School of Medicine (1990-2001). From 2001 until his death in 2007, he practiced in the radiology department at the Veterans
Administration Medical Center in Huntington, West Virginia. Early in his career he was commanded to appear before the Queen of England to be honored for the cancer research he performed at London’s Middlesex Hospital.

Ralph and Ginny Roth, who passed away in 2010, were married for sixty-three years. “She was his ever-present life companion and helpmate, a gracious lady,” Dunnigan recalled. “They were the definition of genteel behavior and the model for successful marriage.” Sheila, their only child, graduated from Hollins in 1966 with a degree in English and later enjoyed a career as a professional model. Sadly, she was killed at the age of forty by an alcohol-impaired driver.

“Many believe the Roths never really recovered from that tragedy. They spent the rest of their lives aiding young people who needed help with their educational expenses. I was one of those young people,” said Dunnigan, who went on to become a successful dentist, serve two terms as mayor of Ashland, and is a published author.

“The Roths were certainly among those who contributed so much to our community and with these scholarships will continue to be remembered by many of us,” he added. “Special people do special things and the Roths were very special.”

Along with offering the scholarship fund in her name, Hollins will display in perpetuity a portrait of Sheila Roth, painted by the acclaimed artist Peter Stevens in 1963.

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