“Religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
—The Northwest Ordinance of 1787, Article III
ANNUAL REPORT ON GIVING 2020
In 1804, a promise to provide a means of education forever gave birth to Ohio University, the first university established in the newly settled American territory. More than 215 years later, some 255,000 living alumni and 27,000 current students have seen the promise of an OHIO education fulfilled. Our promise in 1804 was the first brick laid in a long road, one whose journey lies at the heart of Ohio University’s mission and is a source of inspiration to students, educators, leadership and generations of visionary donors whose philanthropy not only supports but also endorses the path to an OHIO education.
In fiscal year 2020 (July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020), 13,725 OHIO alumni and friends made Ohio University’s legacy part of their legacy, generously committing $49,888,642 to The Ohio University Foundation. Their support opens the door to higher education, provides students with life-changing opportunities for professional and personal growth, and equips faculty and staff with the resources and facilities that make OHIO one of the nation’s premier transformational learning communities.
This 2020 Report on Giving is a tribute to the champions of Ohio University’s future—the tireless efforts, limitless generosity, and inspiring dedication of individuals who know the value of education, who are helping us build a road to a better future, and who are committed to making OHIO a place where education goes Forever Forward. Forever OHIO.
Ensuring the OHIO experience for all
Engineering technology & management alumnus honors late wife with nursing scholarship
Ohio University alumnus Kyle Michalek, BSIT ’07, turned tragedy into hope when he announced a gift that established a $100,000 scholarship endowment in Ohio University’s School of Nursing in memory of his wife.
The Michalek family was devastated February of 2019 by the loss of Kyle’s wife, Stephanie, BS ’07, who unexpectedly passed away giving birth to their son, Andrews. Although Andrews was born prematurely, he fully recovered. Kyle, who owns Michalek Brothers Racing with his brother Corey, BSVC ’10, took a step back from his competitive hobby of racing nitromethane-fueled dragsters to focus on family.
But, on Aug. 10, 2019, Michalek Brothers Racing hit the track again at the 41st Kelly Services Night Under Fire drag race. This time, the team was joined by College of Health Sciences and Professions Dean Randy Leite during the pre-race ceremony for a special announcement.
“The past several months have been some of the most challenging months of my life,” Michalek said before the race. “Tonight, though, is going to be a celebration. As I was thinking ‘How can I honor my wife?’ I came across a thought that really resonated with all the love, the support, the compassion and the caring that everyone has given both me, my son and my family.”
Michalek realized that the generosity from his friends and family during his time of need was something that Stephanie embodied daily, bringing comfort to strangers as a skilled nurse.
“Stephanie’s legacy lives on, and we’re proud to be a part of that legacy. I assure you that for every year from now on, students will benefit from what you’ve done and from what Stephanie stood for.” said Dean Leite.
The Michalek Brothers Racing team was elated to celebrate Stephanie with a win over their rivals and off-the-track friends, Gutierrez Brothers Racing.
School of dance founder’s legacy lives on in alumna’s impact, current students
It was 50 years ago that Ohio University established its School of Dance, and ever since then one of OHIO’s earliest dance students, Darlene Patterson Spencer, has been carrying on the legacy of the school’s founder, the late Shirley Wimmer.
Patterson Spencer established the Wimmer/Patterson Urban Dance Award, providing underrepresented dance students financial support to help defray some of the costs associated with preparing for a career in the arts.
“It’s very important to nourish and support these students because this is where they get their basic tools, which will prepare them to build successful careers,” Patterson Spencer said. “Money is usually a concern for many students. Helping them in this area can help them focus on their educational goals and stimulate their creative juices to their fullest potential. They can just focus on the goals and create because as artists that’s what we do—create.”
Patterson Spencer also sees her philanthropy as a means of advancing Ohio University’s dance program and supporting Travis Gatling, who is the current artistic director and head of the Dance Division within OHIO’s School of Dance, Film, and Theater.
“This award program actually helps continue to build the excellent reputation of the OU dance program as it is already nationally regarded as an excellent training ground for future artists, choreographers, entrepreneurs and community leaders,” she said.
Wimmer/Patterson Urban Dance Award recipient Jillian Lewis, BFA ’22, met Patterson Spencer at last year’s Winter Dance Concert and reconnected at Ohio University’s 2019 Black Alumni Reunion. Lewis said both she and her family are grateful for the alumna’s financial assistance.
“But most importantly,” Lewis said, “I have gained a friend in the dance world. Darlene Patterson Spencer is so full of life and stories and is always in the audience to support the dance program. ”
Alumni couple’s legacy of advocating for people with developmental disabilities lives on
When the eldest daughter of Robert, BSIE ’50, and Eloise Beverage, ELST ’50, was diagnosed with developmental disabilities, the couple got to work laying the foundation for their child, her peers and future generations to lead fulfilling lives.
The Beverages became founding members of the first Arc chapter in Ohio, a community-based organization that advocates for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Beverages also helped to organize special education classes in local schools and developed a deep appreciation for educators of children with developmental disabilities.
Robert Beverage passed away in 1991, and Eloise in 2002. But their lives’ work continues on in their children.
Bob Beverage established the Robert and Eloise Beverage Scholarship in Ohio University’s Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education. The endowed scholarship benefits full-time undergraduates who demonstrate financial need, with preference given to students majoring in moderate to intensive needs in special education.
Courtney Moog, BSED ’19, was awarded the Beverage Scholarship for the 2018-19 academic year and is currently pursuing her master’s degree.
“The money I received from the scholarship I put toward my tests and study materials for my OAEs (Ohio Assessment for Educators),” she said. “Having some financial help covering the costs of this helped take some of the stress off the test and allowed me to focus on studying.”
For Bob Beverage, assisting aspiring special education teachers contributes to a larger movement to continue building a network of care for the disabled community — a movement his parents devoted much of their lives to. “We know that with dedication, good training and mentorship, it can also be an incredibly rewarding vocation. I hope this scholarship can help make a difference in the lives of teachers like Courtney Moog and, ultimately, the special needs people whom they serve.”
FOREVER A COMMUNITY
Creating connections at OHIO
Konneker Fund brings Appalachian forest to life in OHIO museum complex exhibit
The Ohio University experience inspired Wilfred Konneker, BS ’43, MS ’47, HON ’80—to act, to give back, and to impact all who share that experience. His belief in the promising future that an OHIO education affords students, faculty, and community is the guiding force behind the Konneker Fund for Learning and Discovery.
Today, the Konneker Fund is breathing new life into The Ridges, fueling the start of a long dreamed-of OHIO Museum Complex.
Developed in partnership with the Kennedy Museum of Art, the OHIO Museum Complex is transforming a storied piece of Athens history into an indoor-outdoor learning laboratory to foster interdisciplinary connection, collaboration, and education that highlights Ohio University’s natural history, creative activity, and innovation.
“We’re creating a place for exploration and reflection—a place to learn, connect, imagine and be inspired,” says Nancy Stevens, professor in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine who is spearheading University-wide efforts to develop the OHIO Museum Complex. “The Konneker Fund gave us our start.”
With an award from the Konneker Fund, renovations to Lin Hall 210 have resulted in a dynamic gallery and learning laboratory.
The gallery’s first exhibit, Through the Appalachian Forest: Field Explorations Illuminated by the Floyd Bartley Herbarium, ran through 2019 and invited visitors of all ages and abilities to become re-enchanted with the Appalachian forest. The interactive, educational laboratory was built around field collections and selections from the Floyd Bartley Herbarium (1930-1978), resulting in two companion outdoor collections whose origins span nearly a century.
Planning is underway for further development. University funding has resulted in mAppAthens, offering self-guided tours that allow you to explore everything from local art and geology to the history of The Ridges and OHIO’s sustainability efforts. Future plans include the placement of directional and interpretative signage along The Ridges trail system.
Crane Hollow gift brings one-of-a-kind collection to Ohio University
Crane Hollow Inc. recently agreed to donate a unique biological collection to the Ohio University Museum Complex. The gift includes a $50,000 collection support fund, as well as a database that documents field notes, scientific illustrations and references, and other collection-related items.
“We are elated to partner with Crane Hollow Nature Preserve, and to receive this truly one-of-a-kind specimen collection,” says Nancy Stevens, professor in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. “Importantly, it provides significant potential for documenting environmental change through time.”
The collection includes more than 120,000 natural specimens—plants, fungi, insects, etc.—collected on and about the Crane Hollow Nature Preserve in Hocking County by Crane Hollow Research Associates Gary and Holly Coovert. The collection includes approximately 11,000 different species, many of them yet to be classified by scientists. A priceless resource representing thousands of hours of work, the collection has been valued, conservatively, at $2 million. Renovations currently are underway using donor-contributed funds to transform Lin Hall Room 211 into the collection’s new home on The Ridges.
“Crane Hollow painstakingly assembled this impressive biological collection over a 15-year period and is entrusting Ohio University with a tremendous resource,” says Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College.
“Ohio University is grateful for the opportunity to preserve this important collection—the scope of which documents the region’s biodiversity.”
The Crane Hollow collection will constitute a second space for curation and research across the hall from the Konneker-funded gallery, continuing renovation within Lin Hall for museum expansion. In addition to support from Crane Hollow, OHIO graduates Bernard, BSJ ’68, MEd ’73, and Patricia Gebhart, BFA ’68, MEd ’73, are providing philanthropic support for the Museum Complex, and Innovation Strategy funds have been leveraged for developing the Outdoor Museum.
Bobcats Take Care amid the unexpected
The COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund debuted on March 19, 2020, as part of the Bobcats Take Care campaign, providing members of the OHIO community a way to support and connect with each other while celebrating the many ways Bobcats are serving others in this unprecedented time of need.
By April 24, 2020, a total of $124,130 had been awarded through the COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund.
Over 800 Ohio University alumni, faculty, staff and friends embraced the #BobcatsTakeCare spirit and donated more than $166,000 to the COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund.
On April 20, 2020, OHIO’s Office of Annual Giving announced a match program for the COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund. The program was the result of many OHIO alumni and friends—including President M. Duane Nellis, Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs, several deans and University administrators—who created a $93,000 pool to match dollar-for-dollar every donation to the fund until the pool is exhausted.
For the students who received those microgrants, the financial assistance not only helped them meet their immediate needs but also connected them to their Bobcat family.
“Thank you so much for your unforgettable thoughtfulness during these times,” wrote one student who was approved for funding. “As a Bobcat community, it really shows how close this University and its alumni are. Even a small donation is able to help a student know when they’ll get their next meal or how they’ll pay their rent. It is undeniable that OU produces people who care not only about the school, but the Athens community. I will forever be grateful for the help that I received and will do my best to be in the donors’ shoes when I start my career.”
The Bobcats Take Care campaign and the COVID-19 Ohio University Student Emergency Fund remained active through June 30, 2020.
FOREVER AN IMPACT
From OHIO tradition to a limitless future
Bobcats helping Bobcats: The legacy of the Blackburn-Spencer Fund
Forty years ago, two Bobcats had the idea to establish a tradition of giving — a tradition that would far exceed their expectations and establish a legacy of students helping one another.
“I think we craved stability at the time, in the political environment,” said Lt. Col. Bill “Clark” Kent, AB ’80, who was the president of OHIO’s Black Student Cultural Programming Board (BSCPB) during the politically tumultuous late-1970s. “We wanted something that would create a legacy and live in perpetuity. So, it was kind of our gift to the future.”
This “gift to the future” became known as the Martha Jane Hunley Blackburn and Donald A. Spencer Fund, or the Blackburn-Spencer Fund.
Kent, along with BSCPB Vice President Andre Rudolph, BBA ’81, first took their idea of creating a legacy to William Smith, who was the executive director of affirmative action at OHIO in 1979. When the two approached Smith about the idea, he suggested they create a scholarship.
The fund eventually grew enough to award both a Blackburn-Spencer Scholarship, for students in need, and an achievement award for outstanding student leaders. Forty years later, the fund continues to grow and serve Bobcats.
Today, the Blackburn-Spencer awards and scholarships are distributed at the Leadership Awards Gala, an annual spring event that recognizes outstanding student leadership. Kent, Rudolph and Smith said they are inspired by how students have embraced the opportunity to uphold the Blackburn-Spencer Fund and assist minority students.
“It shows what students can do when they commit themselves to not only their personal gain, but the future of students to follow,” Smith said. “The vision and foresight of these young men, and others at the time, were things that we as Black faculty and staff had to recognize. We had to challenge these young men to achieve in the present, but also to achieve for the future.”
Ohio University alumna Violet L. Patton increases gift commitment by $22 million
In 2019, Violet L. Patton, BSED ’38, increased her already significant gift commitment to The Ohio University Foundation to a total of $64 million.
Dr. Patton made a historic commitment to Ohio University in 2010 when she committed $13.3 million that will establish the Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education. A few weeks later, she committed an additional $28 million to honor her parents Gladys W. and David H. Patton with the naming of The Patton College of Education.
The additional $22 million gift commitment will support the capital projects for which Patton has demonstrated unwavering commitment and passion for nearly a decade: The Patton College’s facilities and the new Violet L. Patton Center for Arts and Education.
“Dr. Patton’s generosity is truly overwhelming and humbling. Her gifts have transformed, and will continue to transform, arts and education at Ohio University,” said President M. Duane Nellis. “The Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education will be a jewel on our Arts Education Green.”
Dr. Patton’s family instilled in her a commitment to education. Born in 1916 in Williamsburg, Ohio, Dr. Patton’s parents were both educators. Her father, David Patton, worked as a teacher, principal, and superintendent in school systems across the nation.
While Dr. Patton followed in her parents’ footsteps with an interest in education, she also had a passion for art. Even before her OHIO graduation, she was pursuing these loves. In 1936 she illustrated a series of spelling books and in 1937 illustrated arithmetic textbooks. In her time as a teacher, she worked to revitalize and enhance education, specifically with arts education.
“We are so fortunate to have a benefactor like Violet Patton, who has a deep and abiding commitment to education and the arts—and to the facilities in which teaching and learning take place,” said President Nellis.
Heritage Hall: A new state-of-the-art education facility
This year a new state-of-the-art Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine education facility opened in Athens. Known as Heritage Hall, the facility is in recognition of the critical importance of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation’s historic $105 million award to the college, Vision 2020: Leading the Transformation of Primary Care in Ohio, which was announced in 2011.
“It would be hard to overstate the incredible impact that the Vision 2020 award has had, and continues to have, on the Heritage College and its ability to serve the people of our state,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis.
Ken Johnson, D.O., Heritage College executive dean and OHIO chief medical affairs officer, said the OHF has been an engaged partner with the college in directing the Vision 2020 funds to where they will do the most good.
“Creating a new facility custom-designed to deliver
our groundbreaking new curriculum clearly fits into OHF’s vision for transforming primary care in Ohio,” Johnson said.
Terri Donlin Huesman, president/CEO of OHF, said, “The Osteopathic Heritage Foundation is proud of its early role in enabling this new, modern medical education facility. The naming of the facility, Heritage Hall, will perpetuate and honor the heritage of osteopathic medicine by creating new and innovative ways for future physicians to empathically find health and healing for those they serve. This facility, coupled with other college priorities, will help solidify the Heritage College’s position as a national leader in medicine, education, research and community service.”
Heritage Hall is designed to emphasize collaborative modern learning styles, environmental sustainability, and personal wellness for students, faculty and staff. The college is seeking WELL Building Standard certification for the building, which features a fresh-food in-house café, fitness room, mindfulness and lactation rooms, bike racks, sky lights and filtered water at every faucet. It also has outdoor connections with views, daylighting and green space.