Scholarship named after Sheila Pressley to bring opportunities to students

The creation of the Dr. Sheila Pressley Opportunity Endowed Scholarship is tailored to residents of the Eastern Scholar House who are pursuing a degree in the College of Health Sciences.   

The late Dean of the College of Health Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University, Sheila Pressley wanted the best opportunity for students. This is why a scholarship with her name will have even more meaning to students who receive it.

Eastern Kentucky University’s Dr. Sheila Pressley advocated for and promoted opportunity for students. It’s only fitting that a scholarship bearing her name will provide opportunities to students who want to better themselves through education at EKU,” according to a press release.

A partnership with the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing and Kentucky River Foothills Development Council sprouted the creation of the Dr. Sheila Pressley Opportunity Endowed Scholarship. It will be tailored to residents of the Eastern Scholar House who are pursuing a degree in the College of Health Sciences.  

EKU President David McFaddin commented about Pressley and her motivation and commitment to give students as many opportunities as she could. 

“Dr. Pressley was the embodiment of the word opportunity. EKU is the School of Opportunity, and Sheila lived it every day, not just with words, but with her commitment to our institution, our students, our student athletes and their success,” said McFaddin in a press release. “I can think of no better way to honor her legacy here than to have a scholarship that helps those that need it most named in her honor.” 

The Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing takes pride in helping students during their college career with the Pressley scholarship.

“Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) is proud to help aspiring students who are residents of the EKU Scholar House work toward their dreams through the Pressley Scholarship,” said Rick McQuady, an OCCH board member and Eastern alumnus.

They have given millions of dollars in the form of scholarships to many low-income students and they are the big reason behind the Dr. Sheila Pressley Opportunity Endowed Scholarship. 

“OCCH, has committed millions of dollars since 2014 to provide scholarships for low-income students, and is the chief financial resource behind the Dr. Sheila Pressley Opportunity Endowed Scholarship,” the email said.

Pressley was the Dean of the College of Health Sciences for about three years out of the 16 years she served at EKU.

Pressley earned graduate degrees from Tufts University and the University of Kentucky.

According to the press release, “UK awarded her the Lyman T. Johnson Torch of Excellence Award, which honors outstanding African American alumni.”

Pressley participated in conservation efforts in Zimbabwe, spent a year with the Environmental Protection Agency's Great Lakes National Program Office, and served with several nonprofit agencies. 

She was an active member of both the National Environmental Health Association and the Academy of Sanitarians. As an EKU faculty member, she became the first African American to chair the EKU Faculty Senate. 

Pressley also served as the university Faculty Athletics Representative, co-chair of the New Faculty Orientation Committee, and a member of the Presidential Search Committee, Strategic Planning Steering Committee, NCAA EKU Athletics Certification Committee, and the Diversity Planning Council. 

Pressley also supported the Greek Life at EKU as she was active in supporting Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., of which she was a proud member.

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