Our campus campaign participation currently stands at 55%, and we are now in the home stretch. That’s 15 percentage points better than our yearly average, but still down 30% from last year’s high. If you have given already, you have my thanks and appreciation. If you haven’t given as yet, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help (for instance, can I bring you a pledge card, or perhaps a pen?). Please remember my offer to give on behalf of anyone who cannot find a single cause within the Ohio State campaign portfolio that is worthy of investment!
Speaking of investments, this week we released information about the significant Capital Campaign gift made to our campus by Vic Smith and his family. While the size of the gift itself was quite impressive ($250,000), even more remarkable was the story behind the donation. As it turns out, Mr. Smith was accepted by Ohio State a few years before WWII broke out (his personal story includes leaving the university in order to become a fighter pilot). He would not have been able to attend Ohio State but for the kindness of the Galion Ladies’ Auxiliary, who gave him a $200 loan to help with college expenses. Mr. Smith reported to me that this was quite a sum of money in those days, as Ohio State’s tuition at the time was $20 a quarter! With this kind of assistance in mind, Vic Smith said that he was simply “paying it forward” to the next generation of college students who need the kind of financial break that he got as a young man. As a result, his gift will support the NCSC Buckeye Scholarship, which aims to provide tuition assistance to North Central graduates interested in completing a four-year program on the Ohio State Mansfield campus (a portion of his donation also will support the renovation of the Bromfield Library and Information Commons).
Mr. Smith’s generous act reveals a truly inspiring tale that takes us back to one of the core principles of university-based philanthropy. To wit, “joyful givers” are those individuals who have been exposed to something exciting on campus or to someone who is involved in exceptional work. And because we have so many great stories to tell about our campus activities and people, you can expect to hear about additional investments that donors are willing to make for our campus in the days and weeks ahead. Stay tuned!
In other news, the past two weeks have included the beginning of the annual review process with faculty members. To date, Associate Dean David Tovey and I have met with approximately 30% of the faculty (the vast majority of the remaining reviews will be completed by mid-May). It is gratifying to see that our faculty’s scholarship ratings have risen a bit in comparison to last year (as evidenced in a comparison of group mean scores). I also appreciate the conversations I have had to date with faculty members concerning their thoughts about improvement of efforts within the classroom. Especially noticeable is the strong investment that our most effective instructors have in remaining at the “top of their game.” Said a bit differently, those faculty members who are rated as “above expectations” tend to have the most clearly articulated ideas about what they are going to be working on to improve their teaching in the coming year. This should come as no surprise, as great teaching typically is the product of a great deal of work.
I hope to be writing all of you in the coming weeks with even more joyful news about our campus campaign participation rates, additional significant donations to our Capital Campaign, and breaking information about a number of on-campus and off-campus activities that will benefit our campus for many years to come. Go Bucks!