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Dan R. Ison Endowed Communication Scholarship

When Dan Ison talks about Bellarmine University, you hear the pride in his voice. Dan is a member of the Board of Overseers and former chair. He belongs to the Heritage Society and the President’s Society.

His wife, Debbie Holloway, shares that enthusiasm. Last Christmas, she found a way to express it, and honor Dan, with a surprise that brought him to tears: the Dan R. Ison Endowed Communication Scholarship.

“I was, to say the least, very emotional at what a creative idea my wife had for a gift - something that could keep on helping somebody else,” Dan says. The first scholarship will be awarded in fall 2011 and will assist students majoring in the School of Communication in recognition of Dan’s career in public and community relations for Philip Morris, where he worked for 30 years.

“I hope this scholarship will offer an opportunity for someone else to attend a prestigious university such as Bellarmine and carry that knowledge forth into the business community,” he says.

Dan came to Bellarmine in the early 1970s after serving in Vietnam, working full-time for Philip Morris and attending night classes. “I was a little intimidated by the idea of going back to school. But I found I could relate with my professors. I loved the size of the classes and the challenges the professors set out for us.”

He thrived in this comfortable but challenging atmosphere – so much so that, paradoxically, he never graduated. “Bellarmine was doing such a great job educating me that Philip Morris started promoting me,” he says.

“But Bellarmine has been dear to me my entire professional life – I’ve never forgotten the basics Bellarmine taught me.”