Versailles alum sets up scholarship


VERSAILLES – A $1,500 scholarship is available to a Versailles High School senior who will be attending Wittenberg University. The scholarship is administered by the Darke County Foundation, and students from the class of 2020 may apply by submitting the general DCF scholarship application at Deadline is March 31.

Using income generated from a permanent endowment, this scholarship fund will provide an award each year for a Versailles High School senior bound for Wittenberg.

The scholarship was established by David Oliver, Versailles Class of 1958, who has lived in or near Miami, Fla., since 1962. Oliver is a brother to former Versailles residents John, Gene and Jerry, all deceased. Oliver lives with his wife Joan in Miami Lakes.

“Two of the many blessings I experienced in my life were 1) to grow up in the terrific Versailles environment with a remarkable family, and 2) to experience four enjoyable and rewarding years at Wittenberg University in Springfield,” said Oliver.

“I feel it is only proper that I do something that will benefit Versailles and Wittenberg,” he added.

While in high school, Oliver excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track. A versatile athlete, Oliver joined the wrestling team at Wittenberg, becoming captain and the first Versailles graduate to wrestle at the collegiate varsity level. He was also a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Oliver graduated in 1962 with a degree in business administration, having the highest grade point average in the school of business. He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Miami in 1964.

Oliver spent his entire career with the Miami Herald newspaper and its parent company, Knight Ridder. For 24 years he managed the Data Services Department until his retirement in 1998. In more than 34 years of employment at One Herald Plaza, Oliver never missed a day of work.

Active in many civic organizations, Oliver maintains his love of athletics as director of the Miami Lakes Senior Softball program. He is also a long-time member of Shula’s Athletic Club and participates in duplicate bridge tournaments. Oliver spent many years as an usher at the Miami Marlins, Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, and University of Miami sporting events.

Since the late 1940s, Oliver has been a major collector of sports and entertainment cards and memorabilia, which he is selling to help fund the Versailles scholarships.

“When I was a youngster, Ed Barga and I peddled our bikes all over Versailles, Brock, Frenchtown and Russia to buy baseball, football and entertainment cards,” said Oliver.

“Over time these cards proved to be prudent purchases,” said Oliver. “And fortunately my father and mother (Orlan and Dorothy) did not throw anything away – which included my cards – and the god awful gum that came with them.”

Oliver’s collection includes many thousands of vintage items from baseball, basketball, football and other sports and entertainment. One of his most prized sets is a 1951 Bowman baseball set that includes the rare and valuable Mickey Mantle rookie card. Anyone interested in Oliver’s items may contact the Darke County Foundation at (937) 548-4673 or [email protected].

“A great amount of the current value is the result of what transpired in Versailles many years ago,” said Oliver.

What transpired also inspired a devoted Versailles and Wittenberg graduate to assist students at his alma maters for years to come.

David Oliver, Versailles High School Class of 1958, has established a scholarship for Versailles graduates attending Wittenberg University. Oliver, Versailles High School Class of 1958, has established a scholarship for Versailles graduates attending Wittenberg University. Courtesy photo

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