Ray Marvin ’60, ’17 (Hon.) leads by example
Alumnus inspires a generation of future leaders
By Anne-Margaret Swary
Ray Marvin ’60, ’17 (Hon.) has dedicated his professional career to impacting communities through engaged citizenship.
Whether in public service, private practice or as an entrepreneur who led a disruption of the telecommunications industry, he exemplifies leading with integrity, fosters active engagement and invests in the success of others for the betterment of our global society.
These pillars are what he hopes to impart to BGSU students through the University’s newly renamed C. Raymond Marvin Center for Student Leadership.
BGSU is a leader in providers of holistic student experience, and the center embodies a mission to work with students of all majors and interests to develop lifelong leadership skills. In recognition of his nearly decade-long support of this mission and a recent gift in excess of $1 million, the center was recently renamed in Marvin’s honor. Through his support, the Marvin Center will ensure BGSU is developing the future generation of thought leaders who take the skills learned while students to impact their communities, propel change and pursue meaningful and productive lives.
“Ray’s support of the Center for Student Leadership is a testament to his goodwill and sincere commitment to helping develop the next generation of social change leaders in the world,” said Dr. Jacob Clemens, associate dean of students. “His support will mean that even more students will be able to have opportunities to engage in leadership development opportunities that are robust, intentional, impactful and innovative.”
Marvin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from BGSU in 1960, has been involved with the center as an alumnus since its creation in 2010. In its first year, he provided support to
create and host a leadership summit and also established the Ray Marvin Leadership Awards, which recognize students’ commitment to leadership development and contributions to their communities both on and off campus. These annual awards, which include a prize ranging from $3,000-$5,000 per student, have provided educational support to more than 30 BGSU students over the last 10 years.
Having the ability to provide financial support for current students is especially rewarding for Marvin, who worked multiple jobs to pay his way through college and nearly had to drop out at one point.
“When others went on trips for spring break, I stayed at the University buffing the floors,” he said. “With hard work and the help of others, I have been fortunate to be successful in law and business, and I’m very happy to be able now to share some of my resources with an organization so closely aligned with my values. BGSU is a place I remember fondly and with great appreciation for its focus on preparing students to assume responsibility for the work of fulfilling the promise of their own potential and that of our nation.”
For Marvin, the opportunity to come back to campus periodically to meet with students is reward enough for his support over the years.
“It is a great pleasure to interact with today’s students and to learn of the depth of their values and principles,” he said. “I want to have a feel for how the new generations are thinking about public policy issues and are thinking about their role involving a world that works for as many people as possible.”
The Marvin Center for Student Leadership engages and teaches students to achieve true leadership abilities through a number of initiatives and programs, including workshops, classes, annual leadership academies and retreats, as well as certificate programs in various competency areas of student leadership.
“To me, Ray embodies many of the qualities of leadership we hope BGSU students are able to acquire and hone while at BGSU,” Clemens said. “He’s compassionate, humble, committed and has a sincere and authentic passion to help others.”
After graduating from BGSU, Marvin went on to earn a law degree from the University of Michigan and embarked on a successful career that included serving as a captain in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate Corps, a law practice with a large Cleveland firm, Ohio assistant attorney general, assistant director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition and founding director of the National Association of Attorneys General. In the late 1980s, Marvin transitioned from law into business ventures in the communications industry, where he became known as a visionary and entrepreneur in software and telecommunications. BGSU awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2017.
Marvin’s personal and professional work through the years — whether improving the communities in which he’s been associated, impacting public policy or lending wisdom and support to BGSU students — reflects and bolsters the University’s efforts to act in the public interest and create public good.
“Our intention is to prepare our students to have successful and fulfilled careers, but we also want our students to do good,” BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers ’81 said. “That means being leaders in their communities, striving to make a difference and pursuing a life of engaged citizenship.
“This center offers a co-curricular education that ensures they are ready to lead in their first job and the next. And because of Ray Marvin’s support, we are better positioning our students for success.”
BGSU students such as senior Hannah Cubberley couldn’t agree more.
“My work with the Marvin Center for Student Leadership was the first time I actually thought about what it meant to be a leader and how to inspire leadership in others,” said Cubberley, a Cleveland native who will graduate in May with degrees in political science, Spanish and communication.
Cubberley had the opportunity to serve as a student leadership assistant at the center — a role that provided interaction with many student organizations and hundreds of aspiring student leaders on campus through a variety of activities. As a result, she feels a strong connection to the BGSU community and her peers.
“My experiences profoundly affected how I view myself as a leader and what I aim to accomplish in life, and I’m grateful to the center for helping to foster my educational and leadership growth, creativity and confidence,” she said. “I have been lucky to work with remarkable students who have inspired me to become a better person, a better leader and a better friend. This is the legacy that Ray Marvin inspires.”