What does Ohio State mean to future alumni?
While her connection to Ohio State extends across time and landscape, the common denominator in Susan Munthe’s 25 years of alumni volunteer service has been the Alumni Association. Wherever she is, her Ohio State experience comes to her in a new way every day; a Buckeye license plate or Block O necklace is all it takes to get a conversation, and likely also a friendship, started. “Every day brings something special from the Buckeye nation into my life,” she says.
Susan is one of approximately 3,000 alumni living in the area covered by the Orange County/Inland Empire Alumni Club (OCIE) in southern California, an area the size of the State of Ohio. Catering to the club’s more than 200 dues-paying families takes a lot of effort, says Susan, who has held various officer and board positions. Members gather often to participate in the club’s varied activities. On any given week the club may have four official events: a college fair on Wednesday, a “Young Bucks” networking event on Thursday, a game watch on Saturday, and a student recruitment event on Sunday night.
While socializing and networking strengthen the connection of alumni with the University, Susan says the primary focus of the club is philanthropy. “Number one, hands down, that is the reason we are here,” she says. And it shows: The OCIE Alumni Club has one of the largest endowed scholarship funds outside of Ohio and regularly supports students through all four years of study. This year, the fund is supporting 13 students, the largest number ever.
“We are all highly committed to giving students from California an opportunity to go to the Midwest,” says Susan. The club’s commitment was recently recognized when it was once again named an Outstanding Alumni Club. The greatest reward for members, however, is meeting and sharing the experience of each student they enable to attend Ohio State while reliving their own Buckeye memories.