Showing Support: Calvin D. “Cal” Wible

May 1, 2014

Cal Wible earned an undergraduate degree in business administration in 1949 and followed that with an M.B.A. in 1950. After a 33-year career as an automobile dealer in Medina, Ohio, during which he served as president of the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, Wible turned his attention to Ohio State’s alternative break program, Buck-I-SERV.

In 2012, he received the Alumni Association’s Ralph Davenport Mershon Award, which recognizes leadership and service to Ohio State.

Wible and his wife, Donna, live in Naples, Fla., and often invite Buck-I-SERV students working on projects in the area for dinner.

Cal Wible

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.

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.

What is your role in Buck-I-SERV?

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, Fla., for 19 years.

I join others who contribute annually to help with Buck-I-SERV program costs. The student pays half the cost, and the balance comes from the university, alumni, and friends. To help increase the number of trips the program can support, I advise and talk to as many alumni clubs as I can to share information about the program and the value of financial support.

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. Three groups of students travel to Naples, Fla., each year for Buck-I-SERV, and 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.

One important aspect 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?

For our winter 2013 trips, we had nearly 800 applicants. Of those, 343 students were chosen to go, and 29 advisers.

We began with about 250 students going each year and are now hoping to reach 1,000 for the period of fall 2013 to summer 2014. So far, more than 4,000 students have taken part.

What activities were you involved in as a student?

I played football and received the Varsity “O” in 1945. When the war ended, however, the better players returned to campus, and I eventually stopped playing. I chaired Home- coming in 1947 and was active with Romophos, Bucket and Dipper, Sphinx, the Ohio Union, Ohio Staters, and Phi Delta Theta.

Why have you remained connected?

The experiences I had in and out of the classroom contributed to whatever success I had after my years on campus. I was grateful to receive the Mershon Award. Awards are wonderful, yet that’s not why we do what we do. It’s because the work needs to be done. With Buck-I-SERV, I can see we’re creating a better future.