Chamber honors ex-CEO

Scholarship created at YSU in his name

YOUNGSTOWN — To the best of Thomas Humphries’ recollection, about 30 individuals and companies donated money on his behalf to the charitable arm of the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber after he stepped aside in 2017 as leader of the economic development organization.

It was last summer when the chamber foundation approached Humphries with a proposal — how about donating the money to the Youngstown State University Foundation to create a scholarship in his name?

“And of course, it was very humbling, an honor to be asked that,” said Humphries, former chamber president and CEO. “I’m very appreciative they would consider doing that.”

So starting in the 2020-21 school year, the Thomas M. Humphries Scholarship will be available to students at YSU.

The scholarship will be available to undergraduate students with a minimum 2.75 GPA who were graduates of a high school in either Trumbull or Mahoning counties. Preference would be given to YSU students enrolled in the Williamson College of Business Administration or economics majors in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

The scholarship was created as an endowment to continue the gift in perpetuity, said Brian Nord, senior development officer at the YSU foundation. It will fund one scholarship per year.

“We started these discussions probably late in the summer of 2018 after Col. (James) Dignan (chamber president and CEO) had gotten comfortable in his role there and they wanted to honor all of Tom’s great service to the community, and they couldn’t think of a better way to do it than at his alma mater,” Nord said.

Students can apply each year.

“The great thing is, probably about 90 percent to 95 percent of scholarships can be applied for online with just one form,” Nord said.

Humphries joined the chamber in 1997 and retired in 2017, during which chamber membership doubled to nearly 3,000. He oversaw about $5 billion in project investment and was instrumental in locating Eastern Gateway Community College in downtown Youngstown.

For his work on Eastern Gateway, the college in March named its main building at 101. E. Federal St. Thomas Humphries Hall.

“You never expect those kinds of things,” Humphries said. “You go out and do your job and do it to the best of your ability and when you get that kind of recognition for the work you have done, it is very humbling. When people do those types of things, it is greatly appreciated.”

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