Press Club names scholarship for Russ Pry, adds two scholarships

The Akron Press Club has named a scholarship to honor the memory of Summit County Executive Russ Pry, who died in office in 2016.
Also, two additional scholarships will be awarded by the Press Club through the generosity of Dr. Aileen Thong of Akron.
A total of nine scholarships will be given this year by the Press Club and the John S. Knight Memorial Journalism Fund. Each scholarship is worth $5,000. The scholarships are administered by the Press Club and Knight Fund trustees.
Five Knight scholarships are given each year in the memory of John S. Knight, the longtime editor of the Akron Beacon Journal and founder of Knight Newspapers.
In addition to the Russ Pry and Thong scholarships, the Press Club awards a scholarship in the memory of Ludel Sauvageot, a pioneer in public relations.
Pry, who served for nine years as county executive, passed away in 2016 at age 58 following a battle with cancer. He supported the Press Club through his annual State of the County speech.
“Over the years Russ’s speech drew a significant audience, which allowed us to award more scholarships and increase the amount,” said Bruce Winges, Press Club president and editor of the Beacon Journal/ “It is only fitting that we name a scholarship in his honor.”
Aileen Thong is a retired U.S. Army physician. Her father, Louis Gitsin Thong, was an Exxon Mobile executive in Malaysia and rubber plantation owner. He passed away at age 94 in 2015.
Aileen Thong said that her father encouraged education for his children. This donation reflects a desire for academic excellence in journalism by his daughter on his behalf.
“The Press Club – and, more importantly, the students who will receive the scholarships – appreciate the generosity of Dr. Thong,” Winges said. “These scholarships will help fill the need for journalists and public relations professionals.”
To be eligible, students must be from the area or attend college in Summit, Portage, Stark, Medina or Wayne counties. Applications must be postmarked by March 6. Current high school students headed for college in the fall are not eligible. The scholarships are awarded in April.
Forms are available here.
Send applications to: Mark Turner, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640.

The Akron Press Club was founded in 1971 to promote a free press and serve local journalists and public relations professionals. The group has a rich heritage of offering newsmakers a forum to discuss issues of the day at Press Club luncheons and speaking events that are open to the public. The club also funds scholarships for journalists and public relations students and sponsors annual fundraising and community outreach events. Visit for membership information.