The Gift of Possibilities: Sisters Name Scholarship in Tribute to Parents

Donna Osterhout Davenport ’71 was a senior living on the second floor of Hart Hall when her freshman sister, Marcia Osterhout Kees ’74, moved onto the fifth floor.

“We were the first generation of college kids in our family,” Davenport said. “It was nice to know she was

In 1970, Marcia Osterhout Kees ’74 (left) and Donna Osterhout Davenport ’71 with their parents, Marjorie and Ralph.

In 1970, Marcia Osterhout Kees ’74 (left)
and Donna Osterhout Davenport ’71 with
their parents, Marjorie and Ralph.

close by. I know my dad appreciated us being in the same place, as he would drive three hours to pick us up for vacations.”

Their father, Ralph Osterhout, a volunteer firefighter who died at the scene of a fire in 1981, and their mother, Marjorie, who celebrated her 95th birthday in 2017, have “always valued learning and education,” Davenport said. So as a tribute to their parents, the sisters—along with their spouses—have created the Osterhout Family Scholarship.

The scholarship is awarded to an incoming freshman student from Broadalbin-Perth (N.Y.) or Galway schools, or Fulton County if criteria must be widened. The Davenports’ son, John, graduated from Broadalbin-Perth, and Jim served on the district’s board of education and taught in the Galway schools.

“I know my dad would be so pleased and my mother is so proud to have a scholarship in their name,” said Davenport, who lives in Norman, Okla., and is a realtor. “They were and are very humble, gentle, loving parents.”

Kees, who lives in Halfmoon, N.Y., with her husband, Charlie, retired from a 35-year career with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University at Albany. She sees students struggle to pay for college, she said.

“I thought that this scholarship, in addition to honoring our parents, would be one way to help some students from our hometown area to, hopefully, have the same great experience that I had at Oswego,” Kees said.

Davenport agreed.

“I have always considered myself very fortunate to have had parents who could provide my sister and me a college education,” Davenport said. “Broadalbin schools provided us with a great start in life. We wanted to encourage people from that hometown area to seek higher education. Oswego opened us up to the world of possibilities. I have used my education every day in every way, and I am proud to say I am an Oswego graduate.”

—Eileen Moran Crandall

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