Remembering John Mount

February 20, 2014

Beloved university administrator, mentor and friend dedicated his life to helping generations of Ohio State students.

John Mount

The memorial service for John T. Mount will be live-streamed on Saturday, March 8, at 2 p.m., through the sponsorship of the Ohio 4-H, at The service will be archived at

John T. Mount brought to his work a characteristic ability to develop individual potential to the fullest. He dedicated his life, in fact, to helping generations of Ohio State students achieve their goals.

Throughout the years, Ohio State presidents asked him to tackle different and difficult assignments—from leading and mentoring to creating and cultivating a new program or department. No matter what the request, John took on the job with his notable modesty and supreme dedication to the university.

Reared on a farm in Middleton, Ohio, John earned his first money as a boy with a 4-H swine project. A few years later, in 1932, he raised a grand champion steer that sold for 24 cents a pound. He also worked in a steel mill before his 4-H membership led to connections with Ohio State and a scholarship to the university.

“With the passing of John T. Mount, Ohio State has lost a dear friend and loyal supporter. As an engaged alumnus and beloved long-time administrator, John dedicated his life to helping others achieve their goals, and in the process served as an outstanding role model for young people across the university and beyond. John’s generosity to the Ohio State family and his legacy as a truly inspiring leader will continue to endure for generations to come.”
--Interim President Joseph A. Alutto

His parents, despite not having the advantage of a high school diploma, taught their son the value of an education and the pursuit of excellence. To help with expenses and the $27.50 quarterly tuition fee, John earned 15 cents an hour as an elevator operator in Starling-Loving Hospital, where he took the doctors and nurses to the dining area. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education in 1941.

John Mount and Mount Scholars

John went to work as an OSU County Extension Agent for Highland and Clark counties, then served for almost four years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin before rejoining Ohio State as an assistant professor and 4-H program supervisor in 32 counties.

Beginning in 1960, John held four vice presidency positions: for the university, educational services, student life and the regional campuses. He was a faculty member in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and an administrator to the office of Ohio State President Novice Fawcett and the Ohio State Board of Trustees.

As a firm believer in education and democracy, John became known as the initiator of Ohio State’s student recruitment efforts. He personally called on hundreds of prospective students and their parents and wrote thousands of letters each year to let them know about the resources and benefits he received from an Ohio State education.

"John Mount's impact on Ohio and Ohio State are immeasurable. His efforts have provided Ohio State with the ability to transform society in communities across the state, the nation and the world by developing the next generation of leaders."
--Bruce A. McPheron, vice president for agricultural administration and dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

After retiring in 1983, John continued to hold the titles of vice president emeritus for regional campuses, dean emeritus for University College and senior volunteer associate for The Ohio State University Foundation.

His incredible influence continues to be felt in many ways. In addition to lifelong involvement with 4-H, he helped institute a Mortar Board chapter on Ohio State’s campus in 1970. He also helped establish the Mount Leadership Society in memory of his late wife, Ruth Weimer Mount, a longtime university administrator and volunteer who passed away in 1997. Each year, the society provides leadership lessons for 100 of Ohio State’s top incoming students.

For his commitment to helping others and enriching the lives of countless people at Ohio State, John received many university accolades and honors: Distinguished Service Award, the John B. Gerlach Sr. Development Volunteer Award, the Ohio Staters Founders Award and the E. Gordon Gee Spirit of Ohio State Award. In 2009, he was presented with the Mortar Board Distinguished Lifetime Membership Award. John also was a member of the Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame and, with Ruth, accepted the Volunteer Philanthropist of the Year Award from the Central Ohio chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

On his 90th birthday in 2008, John’s friends and colleagues surprised him with a celebration at the then-newly opened Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center at Ohio State. At the event, President Gee awarded him with the Ambassador Medal for his performance, devotion and representation of the university.

"His personality was magnetic and he was highly regarded and respected by all. He was a Buckeye through and through. His love of Ohio State; the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, and--most importantly--the thousands of people whose lives he touched is unsurpassed. He will truly be missed."
--Bobby Moser, former vice president for Agricultural Administration and dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

John’s philanthropic generosity extended to areas of Ohio State that he valued. In addition to helping launch the Ohio 4-H Foundation, he supported the student societies Mortar Board and Sphinx, the Alumni Association Endowment, and the Ruth Mount Leadership Endowment. He established scholarships and leadership initiatives, as well as a gift annuity in support of the 4-H Center and a retirement account designated to the university. A Leadership Suite in Longaberger Alumni House and Mount Hall also bear his name in tribute.

John’s legacy includes his cherished family. He was married to Bertha until her death in 1967. In 1969, he married Ruth, a former Associate Dean of Women and Dean of Students at Ohio State; she passed away in 1997. Carroll Cook Mount, his third spouse and a 1941 Ohio State graduate, passed away in 2005.

John had three sons and a daughter, all Ohio State graduates. Thomas L. Mount, MD, now retired, and his wife, Carol, live in Blacklick, Ohio. John R. Mount, PhD, and his wife, Kathryn, reside in Delaware, Ohio. Donald E. Mount and his wife, Judy, live in Marion, Ohio. Daughter Marilyn A. Mount passed away in 2012 following an illness. John also had eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

At 95, John continued to be involved with Ohio State and his family and friends. His devotion to his alma mater will sustain students for generations to come.