What does Ohio State Marion mean to students?
What does a legacy look like? In Marion, Ohio, it looks like one Ohio State education multiplying into many more.
In a sepia-toned picture, a 20-year old George Alber peers up from his three-point stance—the left wing of a leather-clad Buckeye football team posed outside a brand new Ohio Stadium. His hair is neatly combed, brow furrowed. The young George Alber meant business. When he graduated with a business degree in 1929, Alber went to work making fertilizer in his home town. Plant Life Fertilizer, the company he founded in Marion, became the largest privately-held fertilizer company in the country.
When Alber passed away on Thanksgiving Day in 1997, he left half of his $32 million estate to be invested on behalf of The Ohio State University at Marion to provide scholarships for Marion County students.
One such beneficiary of Mr. Alber’s generosity was Mariann Fetter, whose father knew Mr. Alber. She began her college career at a small liberal arts college as a music major. A string of bad luck including deaths in the family and lost jobs meant that, even with her scholarships, the 3.8 GPA student could no longer afford private college tuition. So she turned to The Ohio State University at Marion. In one day, she was accepted, paired with a counselor, signed up for classes—and given scholarships made possible by George Alber’s endowment. “It made everything possible,” she said. “It was a huge relief and a load off my shoulders.”
George Alber’s Ohio State business education gave him the tools to grow his firm and eventually to give Mariann Fetter—and hundreds more Marion students—the ability to realize their dreams.