Q&A with alumni board member Gilda Spencer
Get to know Gilda Livingston Spencer ’83, a member of the alumni association board
Ask Gilda Livingston Spencer ’83 which days she’d most like to relive as a student and alumna and both answers center on football. As a student: the day husband Tim ’93 scored the go-ahead touchdown against That Team Up North in the ’Shoe. The Spencers — who met as undergrads — have two sons, and both starred on the gridiron. Cole shone at Olentangy High School and now works as a scout for the Washington Redskins. Evan excelled as a wide receiver at Ohio State and had “the game of his life” against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015, giving his mom her best day as an alum. Gilda, who joined The Ohio State University Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2017, credits the university with preparing her for law school and a career that has included roles as an assistant U.S. attorney, VP for Nationwide Insurance and now senior VP for Allstate Insurance — as well as for Buckeye memories she’s still making.
What makes you most proud to be a Buckeye?
The growth and innovation I see at the university. Every time I come back, there’s something new.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Having my whole family together. That is when I sleep most peacefully. When we [including two grandchildren] are all together, that’s perfection to me.
Who is your Ohio State hero and why?
Jesse Owens, because of everything he went through. I remember reading in the alumni magazine about how he had to live off campus because African Americans could not live in the dorms. The thought of being a student-athlete, all the discipline and hard work that takes, and to still be able to succeed, that strikes me as heroic.
Which of your traits would you most like to change?
[She laughs.] I can be very controlling. I wish I had the ability to let things be and not direct everything.
In a word, describe your current state of mind.
Frenzied. [This question was posed within days of Christmas.]
What qualities do you most value in others?
Honesty and integrity.
Where were you happiest?
In a cliffside restaurant overlooking the beach in Santorini [an island in the Aegean Sea] with my children. I remember thinking, “Life is pretty damn good.”
Which talent would you most like to have?
[Laughs] I wish I could sing well.
What do you consider your greatest achievement at Ohio State?
Getting myself prepared for law school. I graduated in three-and-a-half years and went to the University of San Diego for law school. [Tim, now a running backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was playing for the Chargers at the time.]
Where would you most like to live?
Right where I am. I love Chicago!
What is your most treasured Buckeye possession?
My diploma. I’m looking at it on my office wall as we speak.