In photos: The campaign that drives us forward

The Changing Lives for the World Campaign left its mark on every corner of campus and provided learning opportunities, scholarships, facilities, programs and experiences that will help drive student success for years to come. Below are some of the stories, in photos, that will forever change BGSU by the generosity of alumni, friends, businesses and so many others who believed in the future of BGSU and gave in support of a shared vision forward.

In fall 2020, BGSU celebrated the grand opening and dedication of the Robert W. and Patrica A. Maurer Center, a new state-of-the-art facility that is home to the Schmidthorst College of Business. The building was made possible by the generous philanthropy of the Maurer family and dozens of other alumni and friends who wanted to support the college’s vision to provide students a truly 21st century learning experience.

Robert and Ellen (Bowen) Thompson, BGSU’s most generous philanthropist, made an additional gift to greatly expand the Thompson Scholarship Program for Working Families, making a BGSU education more accessible for hundreds of additional students. The scholarship program assists high-potential students from lower income families, who may not be able to afford college. In honor of their most recent gift, the Bowen-Thompson quadrangle in the heart of campus was named in their honor in May 2019.

BGSU christened a new research vessel in 2019 that bolsters the University’s research efforts on Lake Erie, helping faculty and students lead national efforts to improve water quality. The 28-foot vessel, dubbed the “RV Ziggy,” was made possible by a generous gift from BGSU alumni Patrick L. and Debra Scheetz Ryan and the Ryan Family Foundation.

In spring 2019, BGSU announced a public-private partnership with Cedar Fair to establish an innovative, new degree-completion program in resort and attraction management that included a facility in Sandusky, Ohio, for student residential housing and classroom instruction. The $10.7 million gift is the largest commitment from a corporation in BGSU history.

Students in BGSU’s mechatronics engineering technology program gain real-world technical skills by working with industrial training robots in the state-of-the-art Stephen and Deborah Harris/RIXAN Robotics Laboratory. The lab’s technology, a tremendous resource valued at over $1 million, was a gift from Rixan Associates and its late founder, Steve Harris ’73, and his wife, Debbie ’72, both BGSU graduates.

The Schmidthorst Heritage Hall project represents the culmination of years of collaboration and teamwork dedicated to sharing the rich history of BGSU athletics. Beginning with the work of Mickey Cochrane and Don Cunningham, this collection represents over 100 years of Falcon Athletics and will be a source of pride for the University community for years to come.

BGSU Firelands raised $6.5 million for its renovated Allied Health and Sciences facilities and programming – essential for expanding health-related offerings for students and increasing the number of well-trained healthcare professional in the community. The newly remodeled facilities accommodate high-demand degree programs in nursing and allied health careers including radiologic technology, respiratory care and diagnostic medical sonography.

Dr. Gary Hoppenstand ’82, ’85 donated his entire collection of popular fiction, valued at $1 million, to the Ray and Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies within BGSU’s University Libraries. The gifts, which include rare and one-of-a-kind items, have been transformational for the growth and development of the collection.

Alumni Paul Agne ’55 remembered the challenges of completing his degree and starting his professional teaching career. His generous financial support to establish the Agne Career Collection helps students meet those challenges with professional attire that is often expensive to purchase new. Students from all colleges can pick out professional attire for job fairs, interviews and new careers at no cost.

The Office of Nontraditional and Military Student Services received a $1 million gift from William Downing Sr. ’57 and his late wife, Joan ’57, to provide scholarships for student-veterans at BGSU, enabling them to continue their education when their GI Bill funding runs out. To honor their substantial gift, the existing veterans center in the College Park Office Building was recently renamed the William and Joan Downing Military and Veteran Center.

Media Contact | Michael Bratton | mbratto@bgsu.edu | 419-372-6349