December 15, 2022

Shawnee State University Development Foundation has announced the creation of the Tom Foti Dental Hygiene Scholarship. Created by the family of the late Tom Foti, the scholarship will be used to support tuition assistance for students enrolled in the two-year Dental Hygiene program at SSU.

picture of Lillian Foti and Toni Ferry
Lillian Foti (left) and Toni Ferry (right) established Tom Foti Dental Hygiene Scholarship within the SSU Development Foundation.

“The support of the Foti family is an incredible opportunity for our Dental Hygiene program and its students,” said Chris Moore, Executive Director of the SSU Development Foundation. “Our exceptional healthcare programs are in-demand all across the region and by establishing this scholarship, we will be able to provide another opportunity to make college possible for a future dental hygienist.”

Established in his memory, Tom Foti spent many years working at Shawnee State Community College as the Dean of all the technical programs. Overseeing a variety of two-year programs, he was known for his dedication to the students in his programs as well as his commitment to enhancing technical skills in the region.

“Vern Riffe insisted that a technical institute be built within driving distance of every student in the state of Ohio,” said wife Lillian Foti, speaking of SSU Founder and former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Vern Riffe Jr. “So, Tommy was training for a year at Kent State then we moved down here so he could teach at the new Scioto Technical College. Then after that, it merged with the Ohio University-Portsmouth branch, and now it has become this beautiful campus.”

Seeing campus for the first time in many years Lillian and her daughter Toni were amazed at the growth and expansion of the university from its early years when Tom was teaching on campus.

“Southern Ohio means a lot to us,” said Lillian. “There are a lot of people that know Tommy in the community.”

The Dental Hygiene program at SSU is designed to educate and prepare competent dental health care professionals who are able to be employed in private dental practices or clinics. The students are trained to provide a variety of oral care services and treatments as well as give dental health education, home care instruction, and diet and nutritional counseling.

“It’s an opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise be here,” said daughter Toni Ferry of establishing the scholarship to support future Dental Hygiene students. “Shawnee State provides an opportunity to get a great job, in a great field, and at a great place that is not far from home.”

To learn more about opportunities within the Shawnee State University Development Foundation, visit or contact Chris Moore at (740) 351-3284.