A Growing Buckeye Family: Melany Stinson Newby
May 17, 2013
The roster of Ohio State graduates in Melany Stinson Newby’s family is long. The tradition began in the mid-1940s with her father, Byron, and his siblings Anne and Dustin. The three of them, all World War II veterans, enrolled as undergraduates on the GI Bill and earned their degrees together in June 1950. Melany earned a bachelor’s degree in humanities and French in 1971, then studied law at the University of Cincinnati. She retired as vice chancellor for Legal & Executive Affairs at the University of Wisconsin in 2006 at the age of 57. Within her family, Ohio State degrees now number more than 25 and counting, thanks to nieces and nephews who share the love of scarlet and gray.
Your family has an impressive history at Ohio State. What does this mean to you personally?
I have always thought of Ohio State as “our school” since it figured so prominently in our lives growing up. My mom started her studies there and met Dad at a dance in Pomerene Hall in late 1944 or early 1945. Mom worked in the Dean of Students Office during the mid-1960s and early 1970s. My dad completed his psychiatric residency in 1963 at Ohio State and remained on the medical school faculty until his retirement in 1986. He talked about the value of college and the difference education made in his life and career. As soon as he started practicing medicine, he and my mom saved $150 a month toward education for their children.
Did you have a mentor or professor at Ohio State who left an impression?
The most influential person for me was Patricia Boyd Moore, an associate dean of students and the administrator of Panhellenic. I worked closely with her all four years and found her to be a great role model and friend. She married and had a baby while I was there, showing me it was possible to have a family and a career. Yet, beyond that, she gave me incredible encouragement to pursue my dreams and took a genuine interest in my progress.
Describe an Ohio State memory that stays with you.
I had just become Panhel president during my junior year in 1970 when the Kent State shootings occurred. During that time, I had meetings with President Novice Fawcett, after which several of us would walk from one sorority house to another to let the housemothers know what was going on. I recall taking a wet washcloth to class in case there was tear gas set off. At one point, the university was closed for two weeks. It was not a typical undergraduate experience. That year, Ohio State celebrated its centennial. I took part in lots of the fun activities as a member of the centennial queens court.
Why is giving back important to you?
Giving back to Ohio State makes sense and is the right thing to do. The university gave me so much that it made great sense to create something so others can have the experience. Over the years, I have supported Stone Lab and the College of Humanities, as well as funds in memory of friends who have passed away.
What does President’s Club recognition mean for you?
The impetus for my President’s Club level giving was the recognition of my sorority sister’s husband as a caregiver by the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. I supported the Spielman Fund for some time, as well as lung cancer research in honor of my sister-in-law, Terry, who passed away two years ago. Now, I am paying tribute to Ohio State through the Byron, Anne, and Dustin Stinson Family Fund. It will offer scholarships to undergraduate students from Fayette, Ross, or Pickaway counties who need financial assistance and preferably are the family’s first generation to pursue a college education.