The John McCune Sr. History Scholarship is not your typical scholarship. Started by Marianne Parisi-McCune in her late husband’s memory, much of the funding comes from the many friends McCune met through General Motors, United Auto Workers, of which he was president of UAW Local 549 for several terms, and his work with politicians and the community.
“If anyone would be termed a ‘Mr. Richland County,’ it would be he,” Parisi-McCune said. “He mattered when he was living and he should matter after his passing.”
A $2,000 scholarship is given annually to a student majoring in history, political science or math. While it might seem an eclectic mix, the topics fit McCune, a blue-collar worker who never attended college, to a T.
“The scholarship envelops what I think he would have wanted,” Parisi-McCune said. “He always believed in education and he was an amazing history person. He was a very dynamic political strategist. He also was a mathematician. He could add a column of numbers before someone could key them into a calculator.”
The scholarship’s first recipient is History major Donald Shumaker, who is also the student member on the Ohio State Mansfield Board.
“I give Ohio State a lot of credit,” Parisi-McCune said. “They picked a young fellow that just epitomizes what John was like. He has that burning desire and he’s just energetic. I couldn’t be happier.”
A unique part of the scholarship is a service component, in which the recipient writes an historical essay about a local political figure. Parisi-McCune wanted to somehow honor local people who made a difference in Richland County.
“Most times, you get a scholarship and you fulfill the requirements via grades, but what do you learn from it,” she said.
Working with Brian McCartney and Parisi-McCune, Shumaker researched and wrote about Kenneth McCartney, a longtime Democratic Party activist in Richland County. He presented the essay at the annual K.E. McCartney St. Patrick’s Day Memorial Fundraiser last March.
“Of all the scholarships I’ve gotten, this is my favorite, in large part because I’ve gotten to meet all the people who were instrumental in getting it started, as well as the people I met while working on the project,” Shumaker said.