Ohio Conference of Community Development Public Service Scholarship

This scholarship fund was established by the Ohio Conference of Community Development(OCCD) to honor two men who dedicated their careers to Public Service.

Gary Locke attended the University of Akron and graduated with a Master Degree in Urban Planning. Mr. Locke was employed with the City of Kent for 32 years. He served as Director of Community Development until 2012. He was President of OCCD in 2004. During that time he championed professional development for OCCD’s members and initiated the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) certification program for Ohio.

William Graves attended The Ohio State University and earned three Masters Degrees in Public Administration, Planning and Engineering. He worked at the Ohio Department of Development,ending his career there as Director of Community Development. He also worked in the City of Columbus and ended his career at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2012. He was recognized both within Ohio and nationally for being an excellent administrator of public funds and programs.

This scholarship further acknowledges Karen Kerns Dresser, who had an incredible career in housing and community development.  Karen graduated with Bachelor Degree from Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois, and a Master Degree from American University in Washington, D.C.  Karen’s remarkable career in affordable housing and community development began at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C. She then worked for the National League of Cities, where she often traveled to advise city mayors on affordable housing issues. Upon returning to Ohio, she was head of the Office of Local Government Services at the Ohio Department of Development, and was later appointed Executive Director of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Karen then served as President of the National Retirement Housing Trust before returning to the Community Development Division of the Ohio Department of Development. Karen ended her career as Director of Policy and Program Services for the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing.


  • Applicant must be a resident of Ohio
  • Applicant must attend an accredited university in Ohio and meet the following requirements:
    • Must be enrolled full-time in Fall 2017, as either a third- or fourth-year undergraduate student OR a graduate student
    • Must be enrolled in a field of study that prepares students for a career in public service, including public administration, planning, public finance, or related field
    • Applicant must be in good academic standing


  • A maximum of $1,000 paid directly to the awardee's university
  • One-year student membership to OCCD


  • Application packets are due by 5 pm on April 15, 2017
  • Awardee(s) will be notified by June 1, 2017
  • Awards will be presented at the July 2017 Annual OCCD Meeting in Cleveland

Application Components

  • Cover page (click here to download)
  • Up-to-date transcript
  • One-age essay addressing why students wants to enter public service
  • Two recommendation letters - one from a professor and one from a community member - addressing student's dedication to a future in public service

Application Submittal

Applications should be sent electronically to Tom Kroma, President, OCCD Foundation at office@occd.org or by mail to Tom Kroma, OCCD Foundation President, P. O. Box 776, Urbana, Ohio  43078

For more information, please contact Tom Kroma at 937-652-3523.

Ohio Conference of Community Development Public Service Scholarship

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The scholarship program was established by OCCD to honor two men who dedicated their careers to Public Service. 

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