New scholarship by four SHS/WLU friends, established athletes | News, Sports, Jobs
WEST LIBERTY — What does a college education mean for those who dream of success? Everything — agree four former athletes who left their mark on the Steubenville Big Red and West Liberty University Hilltopper Athletics.
“We are proud graduates of Steubenville High School, all of whom went on to study at West Liberty University,” explained Clifton Spinner, a 1987 WLU alumnus and current Columbus resident.
“My friends John Blangor, Bryan Bunch, Neal Hudson and I have wanted to give back to our community for a long time. After much thought, planning, and prayers, we have decided to create a scholarship to send students from Steubenville High School to West Liberty University,” Spinner explained.
In 2022, Blangor, Bunch, Hudson, and Spinner created this scholarship for the financial benefit of Steubenville High School students. The four men grew up together in Steubenville and have been friends since third grade. They attended Steubenville High School, played football, and wrestled together.
After graduating from high school, they moved to West Liberty together.
Bunch received a wrestling scholarship and had a successful athletic career as a three-time All-American. He was inducted into the WLU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014.
Blangor, who was his roommate, also wrestled and was named an All-American. Spinner and Hudson were roommates and both played football.
Spinner was lucky to have a scholarship. Hudson completed his freshman year, then, in 1985, made the difficult decision to join the Air Force due to financial difficulties that made college beyond his reach.
Hudson’s story remains an inspiration to the entire band, all of whom have gone on to successful careers. Former Steubenville residents note that they have a passion for helping Steubenville High School students pursue higher education at WLU.
“It’s about advancing the opportunities for these students. Our parents instilled Christian values in us and encouraged us to always keep God first. It is these values and many prayers that have inspired us to pay it forward,” Spinner explained.
“West Liberty is a special place for each of them, and they’ve found inspiring mentors like legendary head coach Vince Monseau,” noted Angie Zambito-Hill, president of the WLU Foundation which manages and will distribute the scholarship fund.
“Academically, all majored in criminal justice. Bryan and John joined Clifton to become criminal justice majors because there were good job opportunities available in the field,” said Zambito-Hill.
Bunch went on to work as a correctional officer for 25 years and transferred around the country while working for the Federal Bureau of Prison. Blangor also worked for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for 30 years, retiring as a commandant.
Spinner joined the Ohio State Highway Patrol as a private and retired as a commander after a successful 28-year career. He then became director of public safety at Franklin University and is now chief of security at Battelle, headquartered in Columbus.
After his Air Force career, Hudson became a manager at an Indiana company. All of the men remain active and have worked for other organizations since retirement.
“All four of us believe in the value of education, our community and our alma mater,” Spinner said.
We know how important a college degree is, and we look forward to helping our hometown students progress. But we need others to help make this a reality,” Spinner added.
According to Zambito-Hill, the new scholarship must reach at least $25,000 to be endowed at the level at which student scholarships can begin.
“The goal of this new scholarship effort is to raise at least $25,000 to endow this scholarship and provide perpetual resources to Steubenville High School students enrolling at WLU for many years to come. Donations will enable our students to pursue higher education,” said Zambito-Hill.
“We are looking for other donors to join us in developing this much needed scholarship. No amount is too small – everything helps. Please feel free to share this information with others through your social media or other means. Thank you for your support. We are really looking forward to making this dream come true,” Spinner said.
Scholarship contributions to the WLU Foundation are 100% tax deductible and directly help WLU students.
To donate securely online, click: wlufoundation.org/give. In the “Special Request Box”, indicate that the donation is for the Blangor, Bunch, Hudson and Spinner stock exchange or just the BBH&S stock exchange to ensure that the donation is correctly recorded.
For more information about the WLU Foundation, call (304) 336-5635. For more information about WLU and available financial aid, contact westliberty.edu/financial-aid (westliberty.edu) or call the Financial Aid Office at (304) 336-8016.
— WLU —