Paul Agne '55 Gives Back to His Second Home

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By Anne-Margaret Swary

When Paul Agne ’55 thinks of home, he doesn’t think of his house in Versailles, Ohio; he thinks of Bowling Green State University.

The 85-year-old retired teacher and coach remembers his time as a student in the College of Education and Human Development like it was yesterday. He can still recall when Williams Hall marked the northern edge of the campus, and how in September 1949, former BGSU President Frank J. Prout helped him move into his campus dormitory, which was actually an army barrack brought over from Camp Perry on Lake Erie.  

But most of all, Agne remembers the world of opportunity that opened with his college degree from Bowling Green State University. And that’s why he recently made a gift to help fund renovations at the College of Education and Human Development. A conference room will be named in his honor following next year’s renovations.

In addition to the renovations, Agne’s gift will fund a professional development wardrobe to help supply students in need with dress attire for interviews, student teaching and other field work.

“Many students can only pay for their tuition and fees, and they struggle to have a professional wardrobe for student teaching and field experiences,” said Agne, who understands the challenges of paying for college out of pocket. With four brothers and three sisters, Agne did not have financial help from home, and it took him over five years to finish his degree by working various jobs while attending class. He even had to drop out one semester until he could save up more money to finish his courses.

“I know I could have used more money for better clothes when I was in school,” Agne said. “Hopefully in the future, every one of our students who goes for an interview will feel like they are dressed for success with the help of this resource.”

Agne is big on the idea of helping students succeed. In addition to his gift to the College of Education and Human Development, he also started a scholarship fund two years ago and has made plans to include the University in his estate.

“I wanted to help someone who needed the money to get a college education without having the financial problems that I did,” he said.  

Dr. Dawn Shinew, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, expressed gratitude for Agne’s generosity and support for students: “Paul, like many of our alumni, is a teacher to his core. Long after his retirement, he’s continued to look for opportunities to support students and make a lasting contribution to education.”  

Even at 85, it’s important to Agne to stay connected to his alma mater. He follows the sports team closely, and returns to campus several times a year to take in a game in person.

He’s amazed at how the University has grown in the last 60 years, and he loves visiting the new buildings on campus and stealing peeks into the buildings and classrooms he once frequented.

“Bowling Green has a special place in my heart,” he said. “I don’t know how else to say it. I’m home when I’m there, and I always look forward to coming back."