BG vs. UT rivalry at Marathon Petroleum

United Way wins big in competition among alumni


By Marie Dunn-Harris

The Battle of I-75 is the long-standing rivalry between Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo. But one northwest Ohio company took that rivalry to a whole new level and used the friendly competition to support a good cause.

Each year, Marathon Petroleum holds an electronic auction of donated items, in which all money raised is given to United Way. This year, one item in particular sparked interest among Marathon's Falcon and Rocket alumni employees. It was the chance to fly their team's flag on the flagpole in front of Marathon Petroleum's corporate office in Findlay, Ohio, for two weeks.

Dave Bibler, '79 and '81, assistant controller for Marathon Petroleum, coordinated the bidding effort under the name "AyZiggy." Once UT alumni heard what was going on, they formed their own group.

"The Rocket alumni simply could not allow BGSU to fly their flag uncontested," said Dennis Acuna, UT alumnus and IT services employee for Marathon.

After alumni pledges were pooled, the bidding war began on Aug. 16, 2013. When Bibler put in AyZiggy's maximum bid, UT could never catch up.

"We had accumulated most of our contributions and placed a large maximum bid before we even knew that UT would be bidding against us," he said.

When the auction concluded on Sept. 8, AyZiggy submitted a final bid of $2,355, winning the competition. But it didn't end there. Several UT alumni suggested matching the winning bid so that both flags could fly for the two-week period. Both the BGSU team and United Way agreed.

"Our only stipulation was that as the auction winner, the BGSU flag would fly above the UT flag," Bibler said.

The real winner was United Way, which in the end received $4,710 from the competition.

This is just one example of how committed Marathon Petroleum is to supporting BGSU. On May 6, the Office of Alumni and Development sponsored an event at the Findlay location for the nearly 300 alumni.

"This was our opportunity to share what has changed on campus and the vision of where BG is headed," said Mary Morrison, director of development at BGSU. "We want them to be and feel a part of that change. We want them to be proud of where they came from."

BGSU representatives were on hand to speak about the future in each of their respective areas. Ray Braun, dean of the College of Business Administration; Dr. Simon Morgan Russell, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Honors College, and Jill Carr, vice president for student affairs, spent time discussing where their departments have been, and how they are growing.

"Our presenters were dynamic and engaging, sharing some of the great things that they have accomplished but also focusing on where their departments are going," Cal Bowers, director of corporate and foundation relations at BGSU, remarked. "It was fantastic and fun to watch how engaged and impressed the audience was during each of their specific presentations."

The numerous BGSU alumni currently working at the Marathon Petroleum Findlay location were invited to the event. Myles Pizza was served, along with stuffed breadsticks from Campus Pollyeyes and BGSU items were raffled throughout the evening.

"This is just another example of how we are making great strides in letting our alums and friends at Marathon know how much we appreciate them," Morrison said.

Marathon Petroleum continues to show its support to BGSU by providing internships to students and hiring BGSU graduates.

"Our mutual presence in the same community is good for both parties; it's a win-win," said Morrison. "Being positive and enthusiastic about their alma mater is contagious - especially in a group setting. We are about building positive relationships with and between our alumni. We truly want to help good people do great things for BG!"

Updated: 12/02/2017 12:56AM