Keith and Linda Monda commit $10 million for travel scholarships

December 7, 2012

Keith and Linda Monda

Ohio State alumnus and Foundation Board Director Keith Monda and his wife, Linda, have committed an additional $5 million to The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences. This gift supplements the Keith and Linda Monda International Experience Scholarships, which they created with a gift of $5 million in November 2011, bringing their total support for the scholarship to $10 million.

“Our objective was to do a little bit to level the playing field, to make sure that everybody who has an interest in understanding the broader world has the opportunity to do that,” said Monda, who serves as chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Committee and campaign chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Capital Campaign at Ohio State. “If you look around this troubled world that we live in, maybe some of the problems wouldn’t be as extreme if people at least understood the other individual’s point of view.”

Within four years, the Mondas’ initial commitment will provide—annually and in perpetuity—50 arts and sciences students with funds to participate in an international experience. The additional $5 million commitment, an estate gift, is expected to roughly double the number of students when it is realized.

Monda, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics at Ohio State, retired in 2008 as president of Coach, Inc. “Ohio State was a critical element in creating the Keith Monda I wanted to be; that success has permitted Linda and me to give back and, hopefully, make the world a little bit of a better place.”

He describes retirement as the start of the “give back period” of their lives. “People who are blessed have an obligation to give back.”

Providing the opportunity to travel and experience first-hand the variety of viewpoints, cultures, and languages outside of the United States is an important goal for the College of Arts and Sciences, according to the college's executive dean and vice provost, Joe Steinmetz.

“Keith and Linda have dedicated their lives to finding ways to make education and educational experiences accessible and affordable to all persons,” said Steinmetz. “Their extraordinary generosity will ensure that a vital part of a student’s education, the experience of studying abroad, will become a reality for many of our students who do not have the means to experience education and life in another country.”

Ohio State is focused on globalizing its curriculum. The 2012 Open Doors Report, an annual survey published by the Institute of International Education, ranked Ohio State 14th nationally with 1,993 students participating in long-term study abroad programs in 2010-2011, and ranked Ohio State 3rd in the nation with 1,806 students studying abroad on short-term programs.

The average study abroad experience costs $5,000-$7,000, making it for many students a difficult activity to participate in without scholarship support.

Monda scholarships are expected to average $6,000 per student to pay for travel, housing, program fees, and other costs associated with living and studying in a foreign country.

“I am deeply grateful to the Mondas,” said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. “Their strategic vision and uncommon generosity will make tangible and lasting differences in the lives of countless students.”