Gratitude from a South American country for President Rutherford B. Hayes' handling of a complicated territorial dispute never seems to end in Ohio.

In October, Manuel Maria Caceres, Paraguay's ambassador to the United States, attended the unveiling of a statue of Hayes in downtown Delaware, across the street from the site of Hayes' birthplace.

Three months later, diplomats and administrators at Delaware's Ohio Wesleyan University have created up to five scholarships, each valued at more than $40,000, for academically excellent students from Paraguay.

Delaware has been the focus of much attention, but 82 miles to the north, the city of Fremont also is fixed on the country's 19th president and his Paraguay connection.

Terra State Community College, with about 2,250 students -- several hundred more than Ohio Wesleyan -- three years ago named its skilled-trades studies building after Hayes, a proponent of trade workers.

Hayes was born in Delaware and lived there through his teen years. In addition to a couple of years in Fremont before becoming president, Hayes spent 12 years there after leaving office until his death in 1893.

Fremont has the Hayes museum and presidential library, but no offer of scholarships has been made to Terra State, despite its location a couple of miles from the Hayes homestead.

"We would be very open to a scholarship in the president's name," said Cory Stine, executive director of the Terra College Foundation. "We have not launched an effort to fundraise in the president's honor."

Hayes was selected in 1878 to arbitrate a territorial dispute between Paraguay and Argentina following the Triple Alliance War of 1865-70.

His decision to grant Paraguay the sovereign rights over land between the Pilcomayo and Verde rivers was crucial in the country's history, restoring more than half of its territory and creating a surge of national pride that exists today in festivals and celebrations honoring Hayes.

Paraguay named one of its "departments" -- loosely equivalent to a U.S. state -- Presidente Hayes. It covers about 28,150 square miles and its capital is a city called Villa Hayes, population about 57,000.

Christie M. Weininger, executive director of the Hayes Presidential Library & Museums in Fremont, said she is working to set up similar scholarships closer to home.

"I've been helping to open the doors to other schools in Ohio," Weininger said. "The ambassador is talking to other schools."

During a ceremony to establish the Ohio Wesleyan scholarships, ambassador Caceres called Hayes a hero in Paraguay following "one of the darkest episodes in our country's history."

The scholarship "will strengthen the bonds between the birthplace of President Hayes and Paraguay."