By Denise Dick
A member of one of the Mahoning Valley’s long-standing industrial and philanthropic families is the latest recipient of the William Holmes McGuffey Pioneer Award.
Richard Scarsella, William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society president, said during a Friday program that David Tod was selected because of his and his family’s generosity in the community. The family established the Tod Hospital Foundation and the former Tod Children’s Hospital, now Akron Children’s Hospital of the Mahoning Valley.
“He has deep roots,” Scarsella said.
Tod was born in the city and co-founded Torent Inc., a venture-capital company that provided financial capital to develop local companies including the formation of McDonald Steel.
Tod was president and chairman of McDonald Steel, which bought its assets from U.S. Steel.
“I’m very pleased to receive this award,” Tod said.
Friday’s Founder’s Day celebration was at William Holmes McGuffey Elementary School, the school named in honor of the creator of the McGuffey Reader, the first standardized reading text that was used by most schools in the United States during the mid- to late-19th century.
The Founder’s Day event is presented annually by the William Holmes McGuffey Historical Society, which named and sponsors the school in honor of “America’s schoolmaster.”
McGuffey, who was born in Pennsylvania, moved to the Western Reserve, near Youngstown, when he was 2.
Society member Shirley Eckley, whose great-great-grandmother was McGuffey’s sister, told students that he would be very proud of the school that bears his name.
The program included storytelling by Eckley and Youngstown State University professor Regina Reese and a performance of “God Bless America” by first- grader Faith Bulatko.
“The best gift you can give yourself is an education,” Eckley told the students. “Try to learn to the best of your ability. The spirit of William Holmes McGuffey is in this building.”
Previous award winners include philanthropists Bruce and Nancy Beeghly, retired Ohio Sen. Harry Meshel, the Tony Lariccia Family, Gibby James, Helen Stambaugh, Janie Jenkins and Regina Reese.