A Good Ride in Life: Cal Wible

October 28, 2013

Cal and Donna Wible

Calvin "Cal" Wible earned an undergraduate degree in business administration in 1949 and an MBA in 1950. After a successful 33-year career as an automobile dealer in Medina, Ohio—during which he served as president of the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association—Cal and his wife, Donna, moved to Naples, Florida. They are President’s Club donors and members of Neil Legacy Society.

In 2008, Cal turned his attention to Ohio State’s Buck-I-SERV, an alternative break program that he joined in its early days. At that time, 250 students took part in weeklong service trips during winter, spring and summer breaks. In 2012, Cal received The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s Ralph Davenport Mershon Award for his leadership and service to Ohio State.

Here, Cal shares his thoughts on Ohio State and the Buck-I-SERV program—and the legacy he is creating.

What’s the purpose of Buck-I-SERV?
It’s to help students become aware of the blessings they have and how fortunate they are to be able to receive a quality education. We all have a responsibility to help others who don’t have these opportunities and to pass along this lesson. I’ve had a good ride in life, and the students will too, beginning with a strong Ohio State foundation. We need to pay our dues by helping others.   

Buck-I-SERV students participate in weeklong service trips during winter, spring and summer breaks. They travel to communities across the country and internationally to work with local agencies and learn about social issues, including homelessness, hunger, the environment, disabilities, literacy and HIV/AIDS. The program teaches students the important concept of living well by helping others.    

How did you get involved in Buck-I-SERV, and what is your role?
I became involved in 2008. I was exploring estate-planning options, and I knew I wanted to include Ohio State as a beneficiary in a bequest. Since I’d been involved in some capacity with developing all three of the Ohio Unions, I decided initiatives through the Office of Student Life would be a good match. When I heard that students were interested in Habitat for Humanity, I knew I’d found the right place. I’ve been a volunteer for Habitat in Collier County, Florida, for 19 years. We build 100 houses a year, the largest number for a Habitat group in the world.

I join others who contribute annually to help with Buck-I-SERV program costs. The student pays half the cost with the balance coming from the university, alumni and friends. Costs depend on how far the students travel and the type of accommodations. I advise and talk to as many alumni clubs as I can to share information about the program. In this way, alumni can make a big impact on students and communities by supporting their travels. All gifts count toward the But for Ohio State Campaign.

What do students gain by taking part in Buck-I-SERV?
They see the issues of poverty personally. It’s more intense than reading about it or seeing it on TV. When three groups of students travel to Naples, Florida, each year for Buck-I-SERV, I have them view the problems firsthand. They may see a broken-down trailer home without plumbing that houses 15 people, or similar life challenges. There’s no better way to understand the situation than by being there. They also have fun, and they experience leadership and teamwork. They develop great friendships in the process.

An important element of the program is the down time students have to talk and digest the experience. Meeting groups and families who desperately need their help will influence them throughout their lives.

How many students participate, and how are they selected?
For our winter 2013 trips, we had nearly 800 applicants. Of those, 343 students will go, along with 29 advisers, leaving some 400 students to volunteer but not participate. From 250 students the first year, we hope to welcome 1,000 students for fall 2013 to summer 2014. So far, more than 4,000 students have contributed 137,130 hours serving on Buck-I-SERV trips. Our goal, with the help of additional financial support, is to accept every interested student into the program. 

We give every student an equal chance to go on a trip. Those who traveled with Buck-I-SERV in the past must reapply. To select leaders for the trip, the Buck-I-SERV student committee reviews applications with names removed. Other applicants are placed on trips randomly based on their preferences.

What activities were you involved in as a student?
I played football and received the Varsity “O” in 1945. When the war ended, the better players returned to campus so I chaired the 1947 Homecoming, was active with Ohio Staters and Phi Delta Theta, and took part in class honoraries Romophos, Bucket and Dipper, and Sphinx.

Why have you remained connected?
The experiences I had in and out of the classroom have contributed to whatever success I have had since my years on campus. I was grateful and humbled to receive the Mershon Award, although awards are not why we do what we do. It’s because the work needs to be done. With Buck-I-SERV, I can see that we are creating a better future.

For more information about Buck-I-SERV, contact Chaz Jennings at 614-247-8034 or jennings.254@osu.edu.

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