Alumna passes on the vibe
‘I believe everyone should volunteer for something they believe in.’
Susan Kyvik Dismukes was visiting Ohio State with a sorority sister from Bowling Green State University when she suddenly knew she was home.
“When I visited Ohio State, I was enamored,” said Dismukes, a sophomore at the time. “I loved the size, the vibe, the opportunities. I just knew it was the place for me.”
Dismukes, who grew up on Xenia, Ohio, transferred the following year and earned a bachelor’s degree in human ecology from Ohio State in 1979. After graduation, she worked in management positions at large department stores in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Pittsburgh, eventually rising to the level of buyer.
She began volunteering with the Ohio State Alumni Association nearly 30 years ago, first by attending college fairs to meet prospective students, then by serving two terms on the Education and Human Ecology Alumni Society Board of Governors. She currently serves as a student recruitment volunteer.
Dismukes lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Scott. Their children, Catherine and Evan, both attend Ohio State.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Ohio State?
Homecoming 1978. I was the chair for the homecoming float for Phi Mu. The design was Bob Hope sitting in front of Orton Hall. Bob Hope was in town for the 50th anniversary of the Ohio Theatre, was grand marshal of the homecoming parade and dotted the “I” in Script Ohio at the football game. During the game, it was announced that our float won best float. We received a prize of two tickets to the Ohio Theatre Jubilee black-tie event that evening, which I attended. It was such an unexpected, special memory.
What prompted you to start volunteering?
When I lived in Chicago in the late ’80s, the Alumni Association asked me if I would attend a couple of college fairs. I did and have loved promoting Ohio State and talking to students ever since.
How have you stayed involved as an alum in other ways?
I have been active since leaving Columbus. I was with the D.C. alumni association, which used to hold a Christmas party in the Capitol at night. It gives me chills even now to think about it.
I was also the treasurer, then president, of the Chicago alumni association. When we moved to Pittsburgh, I became the student recruitment chair. I was asked to be a member of the first Alumni Club Advisory Team and, in 1994, I was awarded the “Best Buckeye” honor from the Ohio State Alumni Association.
Why is volunteering important to you?
I believe everyone should volunteer for something they believe in. It keeps you connected to that passion and it helps others. Both sides benefit. My volunteer time keeps me connected with the university and its many changes and improvements. I still have best friends across the country from my days at the university, and volunteering provides me with ways to meet more Buckeyes.
How did both your children end up at Ohio State?
When they were applying for college, my rule was they had to apply to Ohio State. At first, my son was only interested in colleges near major ski resorts, but OSU was his ultimate choice. I thought I had a better chance of my daughter attending OSU since she was a dancer, and OSU’s dance department is highly ranked. With both of them choosing to become Buckeyes, I couldn’t be happier. The new connections we have and the shared enthusiasm have been fun. They enjoy being on the same campus and eat lunch together three times a week.
What do you do when you visit campus now?
I try to experience something new. When I was there in the fall, I went to the Transfigurations art installation at the Wexner Center, which highlighted pieces from the Wexner family’s private collection. Part of my job is to keep current with what’s happening on campus, so I want to be sure I’m as up to date as I can be.