By Lindsay Finneran
As a staff member leading the Women & Philanthropy program for nearly two years, I’ve come to expect the feeling of awe and inspiration whenever I’m in a room with the incredible women of Ohio State.
On May 22, Women & Philanthropy celebrated 12 years of friendship, leadership and making a difference by awarding $157,042 to Ohio State scholarship and grant recipients. One hundred and thirty-five guests, including Women & Philanthropy members and their significant others, students and Ohio State grant partners, attended dinner and a special awards celebration at Longaberger Alumni House.
Different degrees, professions, passions and ages. Women from all generations. Our youngest member, Ms. Erin Yu-Lee, is just 26 years old. At the table next to her, our wisest and most dear member, Ms. Floradelle Pfahl, also joined us to celebrate. Together, we represent eight decades of women!
We’re women who are teachers and lifelong learners; women who are leaders and mentors; women who are wives of Buckeyes and parents of Buckeyes and those who simply cherish the friendship of Buckeyes.
We’re women from all walks of life, but we’re united by something special. Something bigger than ourselves.
Chasing after that big thing is something I always find myself doing — wanting to be connected to something I can be truly inspired by.
I am a transplant to Columbus and joined the Advancement team at Ohio State less than two years ago. In that short time, I have been fortunate to join in on some of the amazing traditional Ohio State experiences that make us feel like we’re part of something bigger.
Two football seasons ago, I climbed over rows of seats and people to rush the field at the end of the Ohio State-Michigan game with hundreds of thousands of fans.
I’ve linked arms with complete strangers to sing Carmen Ohio in perfect, beautiful unison.
I’ve even literally been picked up and swept off my feet by Brutus — that is one strong Buckeye!
And just a few weeks ago, along with 11,906 new members of the Buckeye family, I had the honor of graduating at Ohio Stadium with my master’s in public policy. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
Many of you share that same Buckeye spirit. But there is something else that’s part of the Ohio State experience, that fills us with a sense of purpose, and that’s paying forward.
Members of Women & Philanthropy have helped save lives, make scientific discoveries, explore the unknown, preserve history and shape the future. And this year is no different!
The women of Ohio State have demonstrated what it means to be true agents of change. It’s not enough for them to sit back and wish things were different. They have each made a commitment to play a part in transformational philanthropy here at Ohio State.
After attending each of our grant presentation events or watching them online, each woman had the opportunity to vote on how they’d like to see their dollars make a difference. On behalf of the members of Women & Philanthropy, we were pleased to award the following this year:
- Ms. Anna Susel, Class of 2022. Major: molecular genetics. $28,000.
- The Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio. Dr. Kristin Casper, College of Pharmacy. $47,500.
- The All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae. Dr. Todd Thompson, Department of Astronomy. $40,157.
- Building STEM Bridges to Franklinton. Dr. Paul Sutter and The STEAM Factory. $41,385.
For nearly 150 years, the collective impact of women has contributed significantly to Ohio State. Today, this tradition continues. Women & Philanthropy recognizes that it is essential to show how women can make a difference through a direct, participatory role — and that as a member of this group, their gifts go further and do more when we give together.
Thank you to the incredible women of Ohio State. Our Buckeye family can look forward to a future that is stronger and brighter because of your vision, generosity and action!
Each year, a portion of the Women & Philanthropy fund is allocated for a four-year scholarship, totaling up to $28,000 for an incoming female student. Beyond meeting competitive academic criteria, recipients must demonstrate in writing their financial need, what personally motivates them about philanthropy, and how they want to use their degrees from The Ohio State University to impact their communities.
Women & Philanthropy received over 150 applications and the caliber of these students made it a very difficult task to select just one. While the process was challenging, our committee and members were heartened that there are so many bright young women who aspire to contribute to the world in such a positive way.
After several weeks of personally reading and discussing each and every application, our scholarship committee, led by Debra Davis, Chair, and Emily Christian, Vice Chair, were pleased to award support to Miss Anna Susel from Kent, OH.
Anna will be a freshman this fall at Ohio State, hoping to pursue her dreams of studying molecular genetics and becoming a cancer researcher. Throughout high school, she successfully competed as a swimmer and channeled her love of sports and giving back as a volunteer with Special Olympics.
(Pictured L to R: Debra Davis, '81, Emily Christian, '05, '07, Anna Susel, '22, First Lady Brenda Drake, Lindsay Finneran, '18)
From Anna’s application:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” These are wise words uttered by the 26th president of the United States, and the namesake of her high school, Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt accomplished more than most Americans ever dream to accomplish, but the message rings true, even in her small Ohio hometown. I do not have a lot to give: I am not rich nor do I have much influence in the world, but I have time, the ability, patience, and a desire to give back.
Look for opportunities to meet Anna at an upcoming Women & Philanthropy event this fall. If you’d like to send Anna a note to officially welcome her as a Buckeye, please do so by mail:
Att: Lindsay Finneran
Women & Philanthropy
2200 Olentangy River Rd.
Columbus, OH 43210