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McCall Family Scholarship

Dr. McCall, Mrs. McCall, and Phyliss Butterworth
June 06, 2023

A local couple knows the experience of being the first in their families to attend college. Dr. Ryan and Rachel McCall created a new scholarship fund to help other first-generation college students make it to graduation.

“We chose to support first-generation college students because we both are and we personally know the difference that a college education makes,” said Dr. Ryan McCall, president of Marion Technical College. “Our job is to change family trees. Sometimes working parents attend college and their children follow in their footsteps. Sometimes parents are inspired to get their degrees after their children graduate from college.”

McCall Scholarship

The McCall Family Scholarship will benefit a second-year student at Marion Technical College who is a first-generation college student with a preference for students with financial needs.

Dr. Ryan and Rachel McCall grew up in southern Ohio in Scioto County, a part of Appalachia.

“There were people who encouraged us to go to college. I was lucky to get a scholarship. Rachel worked full-time to afford college,” Ryan recalled.

While their parents supported them, Ryan and Rachel had to navigate college on their own.  Their parents did not have the knowledge to help guide them through the college process.

Ryan earned a bachelor of science in natural science from Shawnee State University.  He then earned a master of science degree from Morehead State University. While working at Shawnee State University, Ryan supervised the federal three TRIO (Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math Science, and Educational Talent Search programs) to help disadvantaged middle and high school students explore college opportunities and reach them.

“Being a first-generation college student helping other first-generation students was an impetus to go and keep learning and working with these students,” Ryan said.

Ryan changed his career plans and earned a Ph.D. in higher education from Ohio University. He wrote his dissertation on first-generation college students.

“College degrees really open doors for students from all backgrounds. I’ve seen lives changed!” Ryan said.

Ryan brought the TRIO program, Educational Talent Search, to Marion Technical College where it serves middle and high school students in Cardington, Elgin, Harding, Kenton, Mt. Gilead, Ridgedale, and Upper Sandusky with college planning, visits, and mentoring.

Rachel earned her visualist bachelor’s degree from Shawnee State.

“I knew I wanted to go to college but I had no clue what I wanted to do,” Rachel said.

Rachel has used her background and experience to open the Sweada Mae Art Café in downtown Marion. In addition to her entrepreneurship, McCall’s oldest son is currently taking college classes while in high school through the College Credit Plus program. While they guide their son, they hope this scholarship will smooth the path for other first-gen students. The first scholarship will be awarded for the fall semester of 2023.

“Thank you for your generous donation,” said Phyllis Butterworth, immediate past president of the Marion Technical College Foundation and a current board member. “It’s so rewarding to give someone a hand up.”

The Marion Technical College Foundation raises funds because, even with Marion Tech’s affordable tuition, the cost can be an obstacle to earning a degree and getting ahead. For more information or a full list of scholarships, go to

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