The Ohio State University Alumni Association

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Caroline Endsley, 9, is already finding her place at Ohio State, where mom Katy is an active volunteer leader.

Jo McCulty

This place feels like home

Board member and mom Katy Endsley ’04, ’04 finds her circles at Ohio State overlap with increasing frequency.

Community.

Ask Katy Endsley ’04, ’04 what she loves most about Ohio State and that word comes up more than any other. It’s a community she joined at age 9 as a member of 4-H and has remained part of as an undergraduate, volunteer leader on the alumni association board and half of a Buckeye couple.

A program director for the Ohio FFA Association, Endsley sees a lot of overlap in her personal, professional and alumni communities, and her oldest daughter, now 9, just completed her first year in 4-H.

“If you look back to how Ohio State University began as the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, the agricultural roots here run really deep and really strong. Both Ohio State and FFA have a great sense of community,” Endsley says. “And both Ohio State and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will celebrate their 150th anniversaries in 2020.

“As we approach that milestone, it’s a great thing to see where we’re heading and so important to remember our roots,” she adds.

“I bet those first Ohio Ag students would never have imagined the more than half a million alumni who have literally changed the world. It’s almost overwhelming for me to think about the impact that our students and alumni will have over the next 150 years.”

Your Ohio State journey began early in life. What has kept you tied to the university?

When I became an official Buckeye, I quickly found my place on campus, and I got involved with organizations within my college, but also within the broader campus community through Ohio Staters and class honoraries. Those connections really helped me find my place at Ohio State and find friends with common passions — whether it was what we were studying in school or what we were doing through service.

What motivated you to join the alumni board?

I had the opportunity to emcee the alumni awards event for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and I was exposed to so many people who inspired me — doctors, lawyers, teachers and researchers who have left such a strong Buckeye footprint on the world. I’ve always believed we are the most involved alumni community in the world. Being a part of that really solidified my desire to be on the board. As an alum, I am most inspired by the students. They make me want to be part of the board and contribute as an alum.

Your Buckeye family ties run deep, right?

Yes, I met my husband here, and we’re a strong Buckeye family. I was able to take our oldest daughter to a program Ohio State was offering through the Department of Animal Sciences. To see her getting that light in her eye about Ohio State and to start to find her place here so early is a really neat thing. I’m watching her witness the power of the OSU Extension service, and she’s already coming into that Buckeye fabric.

What advice would you give new students and young alums?

I would encourage every young alum to recognize they are already part of an amazing community and to stay connected. Find ways to stay engaged and contribute through their time and their talent or whatever it may be. There is a place for them in Buckeye Nation for their entire lives.

For students just beginning their Buckeye journey, I say welcome and congratulations on joining the best community in the world. I encourage them to get involved when they are ready. It doesn’t need to be 10 things at once — but find an organization, a place or a course of study they can feel passionate about. Because when they find that, there’s always a way to foster it at Ohio State.

It’s so important for young students to follow their passions, and it reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from theologian and civil rights leader Howard Thurman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

About the author

Dan Caterinicchia

Dan Caterinicchia is chief communications officer for The Ohio State University Alumni Association and Office of Advancement.