Before the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Marietta enjoyed a vibrant campus life, including a celebration of Kuwait National Day in late February and the start of spring sports.


I am sure you are all aware of the cliché, “You don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone.”

That is exactly how all of us at Marietta College have felt since March 10 when we made the heart-wrenching but necessary decision to transition to online learning. As difficult as it was to not have our students — and a majority of our employees — on our beautiful campus, everyone showed that amazing Pioneer spirit that makes this place so special.

Instead of standing still, everyone jumped into action. Because of our size and our desire to succeed, we showed the world how nimble and flexible we can be. While other colleges and universities extended their spring break an additional week, our faculty and staff pivoted in a matter of days.

With each passing day and at the successful conclusion of each week, we showed amazing resilience, and also improved how we were doing our jobs. And when times were tough or the final weeks of the spring semester began to drag, our students didn’t complain. Instead, they joined us for a virtual Doo Dah Day, virtual Monday Music Night and Live Q&As.

We also made decisions that were fiscally responsible, including the suspension of printing the spring edition of Marietta, The Magazine of Marietta College. We hope this is the only time we have to do this, but it just made sense at a time with so many uncertainties. I always look forward to sharing the latest issue of the magazine as we highlight our alumni, students, faculty and staff. While this is a digital-only version, I think you will be proud to read how the Marietta College community stepped up in the face of adversity.

I am motivated and inspired by the resolve and resiliency of the Marietta College family. And that is a major reason why we are preparing to re-open campus for in-person learning in the fall. We know there are a lot of question marks and hurdles that need to be cleared, but we are confident we will be welcoming students back on campus in August.

Thank you for your continued support and I am pleased to share Marietta College’s stories through this digital platform. Each one of them reveals, no matter how difficult the times, that we are continuing to provide a transformative education for our students.

Bring Forth a Pioneer!

President Ruud Online:



Born Leaders

1980s alumni take over Chair, Vice Chair posts on Board of Trustees

Matt Weekley ’81 and Mary Studders Korn ’82

As the May meeting of Marietta College’s Board of Trustees was coming to a close — on Zoom of course — Matt Weekley ’81 added a few final remarks.

“I want to thank George Fenton for his outstanding leadership as Board Chair during some up-and-down times at the College,” Weekley says. “I am also pleased to know that he will remain on the Board as I begin my time as the Chair.”

Weekley, who served as Vice Chair for the past two years, is excited to take over the top spot on the Board, but it is something he never envisioned.

“The College has always had a special place in my heart, providing me a strong liberal arts education and blessing me with life-long friendships and memories,” he says. “I’m in a position now where I can give back to an institution that has meant so much to my family and me. Both of my parents graduated from Marietta in 1956 and my sister graduated two years after me. The timing is right too — my retirement date of June 30, 2020, enables me to spend the time to support MC.”

As colleges and universities around the nation are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Weekley says he is looking forward to helping lead Marietta College.

“I’m confident that President (Bill) Ruud, the faculty, and our staff are prepared to lead us forward and actually make us stronger than before,” Weekley says. “Over the last several months, I’ve watched firsthand as we plan for the future and I’ve witnessed the creativity, energy, commitment, and smart ideas exhibited by all.”

Weekley, along with Fenton, have remained engaged with daily discussions by joining members of the College during Zoom meetings as campus closed to in-person learning and now as Marietta works to have students return in the fall.

“I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve seen and heard from President Rudd and his leadership team,” Weekley says. “The Midwest has many fine colleges and universities and I’ve been keeping tabs on how they are responding to the COVID-19 situation. I can confidently tell everyone who cares that Marietta College is at the front of the pack in terms of proactively and creatively developing solutions that are in the best interest of our students, parents, faculty and community — both in the near term and long term.”

Ruud, who begins his fifth year at Marietta in July 2020, is looking forward to working with Weekley.

“Marietta College is fortunate to have someone with Matt Weekley’s strong and varied leadership experience as our Board Chair,” Ruud says. “Matt has a strong connection to his alma mater, as well as a wide network of Marietta alumni that he remains in contact with. He is also a well-respected member of the Board whose opinions are sought out when we are talking about the bright future of the College.”

Weekley, who is beginning his seventh year on the Board, has spent his entire career in the healthcare field, most recently serving as leader of Plante Moran’s national healthcare practice, where he was responsible for strategic planning, revenue growth, development of the partners and staff, and client service excellence.

“My retirement plans include spending time with my family, volunteering at church, traveling and exercising,” he says. “My wife, Joanne, and I will split our time between Ohio and Florida, with me sneaking away from time to time for golf in Arizona.”

Taking over his spot as Vice Chair is Mary Studders Korn ’82, who is starting her fourth year on the Board.

“This is an opportunity to give back to an organization that I love so much,” says Korn, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, Thomas. “There is a huge opportunity for the Board, under the outstanding leadership of President Ruud, to continue building connections with the faculty, staff, students, parents and alumni. Serving on the Board is both a privilege and a responsibility.”

Korn has more than 25 years of experience as CFO/COO working with public and private technology and consumer products companies. Mary is the CFO for Linear Labs, a smart electric motor company based in Fort Worth, Texas. She travels between California and Texas. Her career focus is on building venture capital-backed technology companies and growing them through the exit stage.

“The education experience at Marietta College led me to a career in finance and technology. The life-long friendships I developed while a student are endearing and the stories enduring. … Marietta was the right choice for me at 17,” Korn says. “I enjoy every visit back to our beautiful campus, seeing the people I know and also meeting new people. I love interacting with students at events, going to a crew race, softball, or soccer game, and of course going downtown to support local shops and restaurants.”

Weekley and Korn are both excited to lead a talented and diverse Board.

“Not only do (the Board members) have great résumés, but their thoughtful and articulate contributions to the strategy and direction of the College are immeasurable,” Weekley says. “Their time commitment for Board meetings, committee calls and attending Marietta College events is extremely impressive. But it’s more than that — it’s the esprit de corps, the energy and always wanting to do the right thing that makes it such a pleasure to be a part of this Board.”

Though I prefer to deliver news about Marietta in the form of a printed magazine, this (hopefully) one-time digital magazine issue was borne out of necessity. Early on, we knew the use of the College’s resources would need to be carefully considered, which is why we opted for the online format.

For many, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken us on a wild ride, from shock and confusion to panic and fear, to overwhelming busyness, to boredom, to loneliness to bad haircuts, back to fear, add in a few pounds and sweatpants, until we get to now.

Some people call now “the new normal,” but I beg to differ.

While it’s true that “normal” means standard and typical, to me, it also hints at stagnancy — which is far from what has been happening here. In our own little Marietta College world, over the past few months, we have demonstrated what it means to have a liberal arts education. We have shown flexibility in our thoughts, words and deeds. We have used our abilities and our resources to help those within and outside of our community. We — our students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni — have practiced what we preach.

As you will read in this issue, Marietta College was in a position to act early and swiftly when the pandemic hit. We promised our students when they first enrolled, they would blaze new trails — and they did. Once the shock of transitioning to online remote learning wore off, our students, faculty and staff went to work. When times were tough — athletic seasons cancelled, regular Doo Dah Day moved online, Spring Commencement moved online, and even when essential food became scarce for students returning to homes with limited resources — our alumni stepped in to help shoulder the burden and share words of encouragement. In so many ways, this little Marietta College world revealed how large it truly is.

As Pioneers, there is a commitment to move further — to begin the upcoming academic year even stronger than before. And just like the Spring semester, it’s going to take the entire community to make that happen.

Go Pioneers!

Under normal circumstances, while I see the accessibility benefits of online learning and instruction for people who need it, I am not personally interested in online teaching. I believe the benefits of a small, residential, liberal arts college like Marietta to be intrinsically tied to the interactions between faculty and students, students and students, etc. No matter how much care we take to replicate those interactions and experiences online, we can never fully achieve the quality of interactions that are possible in person.

It is due to my firm belief in providing authentic experiences for students that even long before we were faced with a pandemic, I have always opted for demonstrations or hands-on lab experiences for my students over simulations. A large part of teaching physics is helping people to develop a physicist’s way of thinking about how the universe works. Computer simulations, or even video recordings, are able to present complicated physics concepts in elegant, efficient ways, but they are less capable of changing the way people think than an experience with actual apparatus, where nature is the authority.

Overall, we were able to make due in a difficult, unexpected situation. Some might say that this proves that all of college could just be done online. I would say, rather, that this experience for me reaffirmed the many benefits of a true, residential, liberal arts experience.

— Physics Professor Dennis Kuhl

Testing the Mission

For a small, liberal arts college that prides itself on being a closely knit, residential institution, Marietta College could have stood still in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused classes to move online and the majority of students and faculty to finish spring semester from home.

But that’s not what happened.

As this special community knows all too well, when it comes to challenging times, Pioneers blaze new trails.

Marietta College Mission: Marietta College provides a strong foundation for a lifetime of leadership, critical thinking and problem-solving. We achieve this mission by offering undergraduates a contemporary liberal arts education and graduate students an education grounded in advanced knowledge and professional practice. Intellectual and creative excellence defines the Marietta experience.

In the early evening of Tuesday, March 10, President William N. Ruud sent a message to the campus community announcing that the College would transition to online-only classes until further notice, as advised by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Earlier that morning — which was Day 2 of the College’s spring break — earnest discussions were being had about how to protect the health and welfare of the campus community and how to continue to deliver a top-notch education to students.

“We have to reimagine what we’re doing,” President Ruud said during one of first COVID-19 Task Force meetings. “Unprecedented situations lead to unprecedented decisions.”

The oval-shaped assembly of tables and chairs spanning the Trustee Conference Room in Dyson Baudo Recreation Center held representatives from all aspects of campus — faculty, administration and finance, athletics, building services, health and wellness, information technology, human resources, campus safety, communication, residence life and student services. Board of Trustees Chair George Fenton, Vice Chair Matt Weekley and others joined the meetings via a conference call.

“Folks, if you’ve ever wondered what a military war room might look like,” said President Ruud, “this is it.”

The task force looked at all aspects of student and employee life, and how the pandemic could affect them — from helping students obtain belongings safely from their residence halls, to feeding students and essential employees who remained on campus, to providing access to health and wellness to the student body, to securing personal protective equipment. The College shared the latest information with the campus community through daily emails from President Ruud, website updates, social media and livestream Q&A sessions.

Over the course of a few days, students were informed that Spring semester would resume on time, though students were asked to return to their homes if possible until further notice. International students and students who could not return home due to extenuating circumstances were allowed to remain on campus. Local students who needed access to the internet for their classes could also use Legacy Library or the campus’s Wi-Fi to stay connected to their courses. Though several athletic teams were competing during spring break, players were informed later in the week that their spring seasons were being canceled. The College announced that pro-rated refunds for room and board would be given to students moving off campus after the break, and that federal funds through the CARES Act would be sent via check to 853 eligible Marietta College students. Students who qualified for work-study jobs would continue to receive payment, as well.

It was a lot of information to take in — and there was still an incredible amount of work to do.

Faculty members had less than a week to plan and implement a way to move their courses and labs to remote online classes — and communicate those plans with their students.

Fortunately, in July 2019, the College had put in place a program that would enable the monumental task of going virtual in a matter of days. Linda Roesch, Marietta’s Instructional Technologist in the Worthington Center for Teaching Excellence, had added the cloud-based video/telephone software platform, Zoom, to campus last year at the urging of Provost Janet Bland and Senior Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Michele Marra, who had been attending Zoom meetings and preferred that format over Skype. The College started with 20 Zoom licenses, which were shared between faculty, staff and Trustees.

“When COVID hit, I had already developed a really good relationship with Zoom; and I told our rep, ‘Help me!’ and he sold us a bunch of licenses for a really good price,” Roesch says. By March 18th, the decision was made that online learning would continue until the end of the semester and that only employees deemed essential services should be coming to campus, making Zoom all the more important to the College. “We got up to 225 licenses in a matter of two weeks — it was incredible. … I don’t know if Michele or Janet think about this, but I sent them an email saying, ‘I don’t know how you did it, but bringing Zoom to campus — that saved us. They put us ahead of the curve. Other schools had to get Zoom and get lined up when we were already there.”

Roesch says she and Associate Provost Suzanne Walker worked well into the early morning hours as the College transitioned its learning format, helping faculty utilize Zoom, Moodle and email. Roesch and members of the Information Technology Department loaned equipment to faculty and students who were in need of items such as computers, webcams, headsets or iPads. She also enlisted the help of staff members, particularly Anna Marie Offenberger (Administrative Receptionist and Data Entry Assistant in Admission), Dr. Douglas Anderson (Director of Legacy Library) and Hanah Dawkins (Administrative Coordinator in Psychology), to help with scheduling and proctoring exams remotely and in-person, as well as typing exams for professors so she could upload them into Moodle.

The College’s Academic Resource Center and Communication Resource Center continued to offer online tutoring, and a new partnership with Smarthinking added 24/7 live, on-demand individual instruction and support in a variety of subjects for free.

Roesch says the entire campus came together to contribute to the successful completion of the semester — from Jeanne Catalano (Library Service Associate) being her “boots on the ground” to Carol McCracken (Building Services) keeping her office sanitized to Jared Bloomfield (PC Technician) returning to work on campus to help with IT needs.

“I’ve seen the best in people through this,” she says. “I’ve seen the best in my colleagues through this. I think it’s going to change the way we do a lot of business at Marietta College and I think it will be for the better.”

Dr. Christopher Bowmaster, an instructor and music recruiter for the Music Department, taught individual clarinet lessons and Music Fundamentals via Zoom. It took three to four weeks of the online format for the class to gain a sense of normalcy, though the classes resulted in two different teaching experiences.

“My online clarinet lessons proved to be rather tricky because you couldn’t hear the necessary subtleties in performing that are essential in demonstrating their knowledge of the composer’s stylistic differences,” he says. “I had to have the students record themselves and then email the recording to me for an assessment that we discussed during our time together on Zoom. The recordings ended up being profoundly beneficial for the students as it forced them to correct the inconsistencies that they could previously avoid.”

He plans to add mandatory recording assignments in future clarinet lessons as a result of what he observed.

He says he taught Music Fundamentals primarily at a piano, rather than in a classroom with a projector and whiteboards, and noticed an increase in student engagement with the material.

“Those that had previously not paid as much attention during in-class sessions became passionately engaged, which makes sense when thinking about their generation,” Bowmaster says. “However, we found ways to make this course successful and professional together. If a student had an issue with the internet at home, we found a way to solve it through a friend. If a student wasn’t mentally healthy on a particular day, I gave them a reasonable extension to complete an assignment without penalty. Unfortunately, the most annoying part about the class was all of the additional scanning for assignments. Thank goodness for Adobe Scanner!”

He commended the students for their ability to succeed in such a changing and challenging environment.

“Our students were unbelievably brave and resilient during the immediate switch to online teaching,” Bowmaster says. “They have made me a believer that we truly have some of the most exceptional students in the country. Not only am I proud of them, but honored to be their instructor/mentor as well."

“I want to also send a special congratulations to all of the seniors joining The Long Blue Line. You have become a part of something massive and immensely special. If you need us, we will always be here for you. Congratulations to the Class of 2020!”

Faculty members paid close attention to their students’ academic progress as well as their well-being. Provost Bland reached out to staff, most of whom were working from home, to help with an effort to call every student at Marietta to gauge how they were doing. Within two weeks, every student was called and students who had questions or concerns about various topics would receive a follow-up call.

Brittany Peppel PA’12 had just started her job as the Physician Assistant in the College’s Center for Health and Wellness on March 1, and her first day began with a 9:00 a.m. COVID-19 planning committee meeting. The week before spring break, the center was busy and she was able to see a lot of students.

“The following week, when the students left for spring break, they found out they were not coming back to campus. Immediately I thought, how can I be of service to the students when they aren’t on campus? After much thought, we decided to offer telemedicine and telecounseling to best serve our students,” she says. “Thankfully, previous medical laws restricting telemedicine across state lines without proper state licensure were lifted, therefore, medically we could serve our students across the U.S. Also, restrictions about having HIPAA compliant software were lifted, therefore we were able to provide telemedicine via Zoom video communication with the student’s consent.”

Peppel says the employees from a variety of departments reached out to her to offer support and encouragement as the Health and Wellness Center ventured into teleservices.

“I felt like I was on a winning team and that we were all in this together. It was also rewarding to be able to support students across the U.S. who were struggling mentally and physically in this time of isolation,” Peppel says. “I tried to reassure the students that the staff at Marietta College care about them and can’t wait to see them back on campus in the fall. As we forge into the future, I look forward to working with such an intelligent and strong group of people to do what’s best for the students of Marietta College.”

Top Row: Students and employees experiencing food insecurity can still request food — regardless of where they are currently living — via an online form located in the MyMarietta portal. Bottom Row: Parkhurst Dining continued to serve meals to students who remained on campus during the second half of spring semester, providing food — free of cost — to students and essential employees. Marietta College’s Food Pantry received a $15,000 boost from anonymous donors shortly after classes moved to remote/online learning.

Parkhurst Dining continued to offer free meals in Gilman throughout the spring semester to students living on campus and employees whose work required them to be on campus. Students experiencing food insecurity — regardless of where they lived — had access to the College’s Food Pantry. Within the first two weeks of the stay-at-home orders, anonymous donors gave $15,000 to ensure the pantry would remain stocked and ready for students in need.

Christy Burke, Director of the Office of Education Abroad, serves on the Food Pantry Committee alongside Alicia Abramski (College Counselor), Alex Blackston ’22, Amanda Haney Cech (Director of the Academic Resource Center), Katie Evans (Coordinator of Community Based Living), Adria Handley (General Manager of Parkhurst Dining), Lori Hart (Admission Coordinator for Physicians Assistant Program), Emily Schuck (Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management) and Amber Smrek ’12. When students were planning to move out of their residence halls, the College reminded them that they could request food from the pantry to take back to their homes.

“During the COVID-19 crisis, it was easy for me to access the pantry and box up the orders as they came in since I’ve been working primarily on campus,” Burke says. “Food boxes were prepared for students moving out and have also been mailed to their homes throughout the semester. I took gloves and face masks down to the pantry so that any volunteer who fills an order has access to those supplies.”

For the 70 percent of international students on campus, Burke’s office touted the Food Pantry as an available resource and also emphasized the additional support that they had at Marietta while away from their homes in Brazil, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Japan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

“COVID-19 affected our international students from Asia and Europe well before it became an issue in the U.S.,” Burke says. “Once the cases started advancing in the U.S., we tried to help students communicate to their families all the efforts the school put in place to keep their safety in mind: providing masks, to-go eating in Gilman, cleaning in residence halls and social distancing protocols in public buildings around campus.”

The Office of Education Abroad helped students navigate plans to travel home, go somewhere in the U.S. or remain in Marietta, as well as collected student flight information and helped facilitate extensions in housing and dining in case of cancellations.

“Our goal was to help the students feel safe, and encourage them to continue with their studies,” Burke says. “OEA staff regularly communicated with students via Zoom, social media and through email during the remainder of the spring semester.”

One of the hardest decisions to come out of the pandemic was transitioning the Class of 2020’s in-person Commencement ceremony. The College honored the graduates during a virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 3, which welcomed about 175 graduates to The Long Blue Line. President Ruud, Provost Bland, Board of Trustees Chair George Fenton and Student Government Association President Katie Kitchen ’21 conducted the ceremony from campus. This fall, Marietta hopes to welcome back the Class of 2020 for a formal Commencement on campus.

With Ohio under a Stay-at-Home order, recruiting and registering new students became a challenge — but the College was determined to push forward with its goal of 425 new students for fall semester.

Rather than host in-person PioSOAR days during the spring, faculty and staff from Student Life, Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management developed and implemented successful virtual PioSOAR days. By early June — when in-person visits resumed — Marietta had 380 deposited students for the fall.

Graphic Design major Ian Darling ’21 had a surreal living situation during spring semester: he was the only person living on his floor in McCoy Hall.

“The upside is that I get my own bathroom and I get to be loud now,” he says.

Darling remained on campus for the semester because moving back home to Colorado would have involved a 22-hour drive and the move would have impacted his studies. He spent the majority of his days in his room studying or practicing and competing on his esports Overwatch League of Legends team — “We’re the only sport on campus right now,” he says proudly.

“I lose track of time during the day,” he says. “I know I’m not the only one. I saw a news segment that focused on what day it is today. I think the hardest part has been on the professors, really. They have to organize so much of their curriculum in different ways and then use Zoom. For me, it’s hard to keep track of where the Zoom links are, but my professors have been pretty understanding.”

Darling says he feels most sympathetic toward the seniors for how their final semester turned out. On the bright side, he notices that most people have expressed a lot of care and concern for others during this time.

“Leaning on the introverted side, the quarantine hasn’t been the most earth-shattering thing for me, but I know how hard it has been for others. I guess it’s kind of remarkable that I’ve been able to do this for so long,” he says. “I think what’s going on can be very scary, but I look at it more as a different type of crisis. Yes, it’s a health crisis because of the risk of infection, a global health crisis, but I think it’s more of a crisis of human connections in terms of how much we should value the time we spend together. I hope this shows everybody that we need each other right now and in general as we come out of this.”

Roommates and women’s soccer teammates Callie Heft ’22 and Taylor Carr ’22 shared an apartment in Harrison Hall during the spring semester and both returned to campus after spring break.

“I was on spring break with the lacrosse team — I also play lacrosse— when we got the news,” says Carr, a Political Science and International Business major. “My first reaction was sadness. Two days after we learned about the online classes, as soon as we got back to the school from our spring break trip, our season was cancelled. We learned that together and it was devastating. I keep up with the news and I knew it wasn’t going to be just two weeks.”

Heft, a Biology major, was on a spring break trip with friends in Florida when they learned about the online transition — which they thought would be short-term.

“We were all under the impression that our spring soccer season would be back to normal in two weeks. At the end of break when we were traveling back, that’s when we received more news that our spring season was postponed and we realized it was going to be more permanent, and that’s when it turned to sadness.”

The day Heft pulled into the parking lot from break, she saw her friends walking to their cars with suitcases to move back home. She was not able to move back to her Frostburg, Maryland, home because her parents had sold their house and were temporarily living with family until they bought a new one.

“It was definitely a sense of sadness because I knew I wasn’t able to go home and I was watching all my friends who made my daily life so much better — I was watching them leave,” Heft says. “There were definitely some emotions of anger. We always knew the situation and what was happening was best for our nation as a whole, but definitely I was angry at how much this was affecting us personally. But now, obviously, we are much more understanding.”

Heft and Carr appreciated the frequent updates from the College regarding what was happening on campus and in the community. One suggestion that both women believe would have been helpful was to delay the start of online classes by a few days to allow students to travel back home or prepare themselves for virtual learning.

“President Ruud joined one of my virtual classes, which was great because he was able to see our learning environment and he was willing to explain some of the situations happening on campus in depth,” Heft says.

Heft adds that the second half of spring semester has reminded her not to take her academics, her friendships or her campus life for granted and to appreciate accessibility to things.

“For me, this experience has taught me patience,” Carr says. “It takes a lot of patience getting through all of this, creating your own schedule and keeping the motivation to do the things you have to do throughout the day to make your education a success. Under normal circumstances, your college schedule is set and you just have to follow it because it’s mandatory. Right now, there is a lot of independence and so following through with your schedule takes a lot of discipline.”

Like many students living in rural environments, Sydney Amore ’23 and Lauren Eakle ’21 needed to remain on campus because of the lack of reliable internet service.

Living in the Sigma Kappa house with a fellow sorority sister and her house mother, Amore continued to work in Legacy Library throughout Spring semester and kept up with her studies.

“I live out in the country (in Zanesville, Ohio) and I was concerned about not having strong enough internet for Zoom,” she says. “I had great grades before Spring Break, so I didn’t want to jeopardize them by not having access to internet. My parents were sad at first because they wanted me home and they were concerned about me being here alone or becoming antisocial by not being around anyone. It’s not the same campus but it’s definitely better for me to be here.”

Eakle, a Music Therapy major from Whipple, Ohio, lived in McCoy Hall along with three other students on her floor.

“As far as my classes are concerned, they’ve been a mixed bag,” Eakle says. “Some courses adapted flawlessly to an online format because they were always lecture-based to begin with; and others, we’ve had to get a little more creative. As a Music Therapy major, a lot of my work is very hands-on and I had field work off campus that had to be canceled. Some classes have taken a little more working around, but I’ve been very grateful for the way my professors have been able to adapt.”

Amore appreciates the effort the College made to provide alternative student experiences, such as the virtual Doo Dah Day, virtual Late Night Breakfast, and for the care it provided to students during the pandemic.

“Marietta still feels like a home to me,” Amore says. “They have done a great job as far as working to keep students happy. They provided masks for us, which is helpful and nice and not something they had to do. They’re giving us money back for our food, but they’re still providing food for us. It’s those types of things that make me appreciate my decision to come to Marietta where, normally, I would receive hands-on learning and face-to-face experiences. I really appreciate this college.”

Both Amore and Eakle know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and that the pandemic will not last forever.

“Here’s something that I need to remember from this time: I need to remind myself to reach out to other people,” Eakle says. “Even if we’re separated by distance or by quarantine, those connections are still there and you just need to reach out and talk to the people who matter to you to keep those connections going.”

Unmasking Heroes

College’s Bumgarner, Dawkins aid campus workers, students with homemade masks

Hanah Dawkins, an administrative assistant in the Department of Psychology, showed off her sewing skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. When students and employees were informed not to return to campus following spring break, Dawkins worked from home making masks that were shared with College employees.

Rhonda Bumgarner and Hanah Dawkins are on opposite sides of the Marietta College campus. Once the campus closed in response to COVID-19, the employees were on the same page when it came to how to help.

Bumgarner, a staff accountant, and Dawkins, an administrative assistant in the Department of Psychology, pulled out their sewing machines and started making masks for employees and students who were still on campus.

Combined they have made more than 100 masks and are prepared to make even more.

“I’d actually been thinking about making masks as the COVID-19 outbreak came to light when (Director of Physical Plant) Fred Smith contacted me with a need to supply masks to the Marietta College employees who have to work on campus during the outbreak,” Dawkins says. “I was more than happy to help.”

After Smith requested 50 masks, Dawkins started looking around online at various patterns that looked like they would be effective and could be completed quickly.

“I ended up combining a couple different patterns and finished in about two and a half — very long — days,” she says. “I’ve been getting many more requests daily.”

Bumgarner was motivated by her eldest daughter, who is a nurse.

“I know it was something small, but I wanted to do something that could help,” she says.

Bumgarner has continued to make masks for campus, but also for “Sewing Faith,” which donates masks to several organizations and healthcare groups.

“I will be donating more to Sewing Faith, and I am also making more for some of the students who are still on campus,” she says.

Neither of them says they are a seamstress, but they aren’t novices either.

Bumgarner took some classes in high school and learned by watching her mother.

“My mom used to make some of our clothes and she made quilts by hand,” Bumgarner says. “I decided I would try making a quilt for my youngest daughter when she graduated in 2010. After that, I took a beginner’s quilting class and since then I have taken a few more mystery quilt workshops.”

Dawkins’ mother was also an inspiration. She started learning from her when she was 10.

“I started out making simple items like aprons and shift dresses for 4H projects,” Dawkins says. “I’ve done all kinds of sewing — I’ve made formal dresses, curtains, children’s clothes, costumes, and now facemasks. I also do a lot of alterations for others. My favorite items to make are my daughter’s Halloween costumes.”

Dawkins says her mom will periodically post a photo on Facebook of her in a Renaissance dress that she made to wear for her high school madrigal choir.

“That dress is still the most difficult item I’ve ever made,” Dawkins says. “As a challenge, I picked a pattern that was ‘authentic,’ and it was incredibly challenging. The bodice had rows of boning in the front, ruffs around the neck and wrists, and about 15 hook-and-eye closures on the back. The skirt was a masterclass in gathering upholstery-weight fabric, attached to the bodice with several large hook-and-eye closures, and even incorporated a bum roll to lift the dress out at the waist.”

It took her several months — and many tears — to complete, so she entered it into the West Virginia State 4H exhibition.

“I did win the Best in Show Award,” Dawkins says.

While restrictions are starting to be lifted across Ohio and the U.S., Marietta’s mask makers say the biggest challenge they faced was not what either expected.

“Finding elastic for the ear loops was a bit more challenging,” Dawkins says.

Bumgarner adds, “I just never thought finding elastic would be so hard.”

Going into the Fire

PA graduate, current student go to NYC to help with COVID-19 pandemic

Left: Dana Sharosky Pilz PA’04 gives a thumbs up as she's ready to work on a COVID-19 floor in New York City. Top Right: Emily Chafins PA’20, third from left, is joined by friends and shipmates Taylor Hartley, Rachel Hartley and Tom Huling, who were all volunteering in New York City. Bottom Right: Emily Chafins PA'20 lived on a sailboat in New York City while volunteering.

With two sons, both under the age of 6, and her husband at home in Ohio, the decision to leave and help others impacted by COVID-19 in New York City wasn’t easy.

Dana Sharosky Pilz PA’04 thought long and hard, and recalled why she went into the health-care industry in the first place.

“I always wanted to make a difference, to work doing something for the greater good,” she says. “I left my family to come help where I was needed. It was a big decision as no one could say what I would be doing or where. I knew with my emergency background I could be of use here.”

Dana has been helping in New York City since early April, and most recently was working in an overflow facility that was converted into a working hospital after being abandoned since the 1990s. NYC has been the epicenter of cases in the U.S., reaching almost 25,000 deaths by June 1, since the nation was put on a lockdown to flatten the curve and help save lives.

“I am treating those who are less fortunate and cannot return home or to their shelters while they have COVID-19,” she says. “We are also treating those who are less acute and as an intermittent ‘stop’ between the hospital and a sub-acute rehab facility, as well as some of the 12 percent who survived being on a vent for month(s) after being infected with COVID. It really has been an emotional and amazing experience to care for these survivors.”

Dana has worked at Trillium Creek Dermatology & Surgery Center for more than four years, and prior to that worked in emergency medicine for 12 years in Virginia and Ohio.

Miranda Collins, Director of Physician Assistant Studies Program, says keeping up with PA alumni on Facebook has been rewarding and exciting.

“Even after 16 years, I find out the great things they are doing. When I saw Dana’s posts about volunteering in NYC, I was amazed,” Collins says. “I’m not surprised, but rather amazed because Dana was always a caring and compassionate person but in awe-amazed that she and her young family were sacrificing so much for her to provide care to patients without any. Reading her initial posts and seeing her photos shed light on how dire the situation was; but over time, you could see the impact being made by the dedicated providers who chose to put others needs before their own. The program is immensely proud that Dana is an MCPAP alumna.”

Dana believes the risk was worth it, but she is also aware that restrictions placed on businesses and individuals by governors and local officials have become a political lightning rod. What she has witnessed this spring and now stretching into the summer, is beyond anything she ever imagined, and it has taken an emotional toll.

“I had never seen someone talking to me in complete sentences with oxygen levels so low; and then decompensate very quickly. We’ve never had to lock family members out of the ED and allow patients to die ‘alone’ because it was so contagious,” Dana says. “We’ve never had all floors of major hospitals set with vents to accommodate the mass amounts of patients coming in. …

“There is still a lot we don’t know about the coronavirus. We do have research departments in every major hospital here in NYC and they are all collaborating together to try to find the answers. I hope we are able to develop a better treatment and effective vaccine soon. What we do know: this is NOT our ‘typical’ virus.”

Dana is not quite sure when she will return home, but she credits her husband, Jon, with keeping things as normal as possible for their sons, Nolan and Landen.

“The boys are doing quite well and their dad is a real super hero,” she says. “We have a village that has really supported us during this venture. This is the longest I’ve ever been away from my family. Their grandma and one of our neighbors watch the boys while dad is at work.”

Possibly the toughest day was when she missed Landen’s fifth birthday party.

“It was a car parade, but I was able to feel like I was there thanks to my husband,” she says. “He has really made sure I’ve been included in our boys’ day-to-day adventures, and we FaceTime a lot.”

There’s also a good chance she will miss Nolan’s seventh birthday party as she expects to be home to quarantine around June 13.

Dana was not the only Marietta College Physician Assistant connection to COVID-19 and New York City. When her psychiatry clinical rotations were suspended, Emily Chafins PA’20 joined some friends and they sailed on a 50-foot yacht from the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia, to New York to volunteer. They docked at ONE15 Brooklyn Marina and slept on the boat.

“We were blown away by the kindness of the marina staff,” Emily says. “They allowed us to dock for free and they just opened their doors to us to have access to food. They rushed to get a shower and bathroom put in for us.”

At first, Emily worked at The Bowery Mission, which provides meals for residents of a drug and alcohol addiction recovery program, as well as feeds about 300 homeless people a day.

“This doesn’t count for anything toward PA school or for our clinical experience, but I have a really strong faith in the Lord and I felt I need to take this opportunity to help our neighbors who are struggling,” Emily says. “I had a great opportunity to help in the community and do some volunteer work with a great operation.”

After about four weeks, Emily was ready to start work at New York Presbyterian Hospital, but she had to turn it down because clinicals in Ohio would restart before the contract ended on May 31.

“I was disappointed, but also excited to return to Ohio and finish my clinicals,” she says. “This is the peak of why I chose to go into this field. This is the worst time in some people’s lives, and I wanted to be there to help.”

Collins said this experience will be something Emily recalls throughout her career.

“Knowing how compassionate and caring Emily is, I was not even a little surprised when she told me she wanted to volunteer in NYC during this crisis,” Collins says. “Since COVID-19 paused all clinical rotations, the program has created a virtual academic rotation. This remote structure allows students to complete the work from anywhere, including from a boat in a marina. The program is extremely proud of Emily and her desire to serve others.”

Both the graduate and soon-to-be graduate agree that their experience at Marietta College helped them during their time in New York.

“The reason I chose to go to Marietta was I loved the small program. The professors are genuine and they have an open-door policy,” Emily says. “Mrs. Collins kept in touch with me the entire time, and I was honored at how she has checked on me and supported me.”

Dana adds, “The professors and staff in the PA program were wonderful at Marietta College. They gave me a solid PA education/foundation on which to build. I have also been fortunate enough to be paired with some excellent physicians over the years for continued on-the-job training, which has been invaluable. All of this has given me the confidence to work where I am today.”

Over the past couple of months, the transition took some adjustments across the board. Most of us were working from home with the exception of a few people. Our communication coordinator and visit coordinator did a great job setting up virtual visits which allowed us to still interact with families for daily visits and even larger scale visit experiences. We have still been calling, texting, emailing, and zooming to try to stay engaged with students during this time, as it is an adjustment for everything and tough on students trying to still decide where they went to attend college and we are just trying to assist with that process.

— Admission Counselor Amisha Herd

Teacher Leadership

Students study local school district’s push for new schools

After observing the heartbreak that came from many students, teachers and administrators in Marietta City Schools District when the new schools levy failed at the polls in November 2019, Education majors in Marietta College’s Teacher Leadership Program shifted their work with the district to pursue another challenging path: school consolidation.

Though the spring semester was disrupted when all Ohio schools and colleges moved online, students in Dr. Tanya Judd Pucella’s Teacher Leadership class presented their observations on issues they observed during the district’s attempt to pass a new construction levy, as well as what they learned about the process in which the district went through to determine which schools would consolidate and which would close.

Jordan Taylor ’22 chose to pursue the Teacher Leadership Certificate in part because she wanted to become engaged with a community and understand the workings of a local school system.

She and fellow Education majors got that and more as they helped facilitate recent meetings between the Marietta City Schools and the public regarding the district’s plans to consolidate schools in the near future.

Taylor says this wasn’t her first exposure to local government. She attended a school board meeting and township trustee meeting as a student at Waterford High School, which is in nearby Wolfe Creek School District. Still, she says she wasn’t sure what to expect as a student helping to facilitate what was, at times, a contentious conversation.

During the 2019 November election, Marietta schools presented the community with a plan to build a new central campus. The project would have involved the closing of some schools and increases in local taxes and voters turned out against the project. But from that result, community conversations continued as the district moved ahead with plans to consolidate schools in an effort to save money.

“I was surprised by the number of people who attended the meetings and how engaged they were,” she says. “It was interesting being part of the conversation.”

Will Hampton, Superintendent of Marietta City Schools, says the experience with the Marietta College students was a positive one.

“It was an opportunity for them to see leadership in action,” he says. “The district is in the middle of making some difficult decisions and big changes. The students got to hear the perspective of the people involved.

“The experience broadened their circle,” Hampton adds. “As teachers, you know what happens in your classroom, but when you work with the administration, it broadens your understanding of the working pieces around you.”

In addition to helping to facilitate a couple of public meetings earlier this year, the students also developed a community survey on the subject. Once the survey was completed, the students presented a summary of the results to the district and were asked to help develop a long-term planning committee.

Judd Pucella, who is Chair of the College’s Education Department, is also the Coordinator of the Teacher Leadership Certificate program. She says Education students spend most of their time involved in clinical and classroom experiences, but it’s important for the students to know what’s happening in schools and be familiar with the process.

“They were all really pumped to see how things worked,” she says. “They were surprised to see that the voices of teachers really weren’t evident at the public meetings and that a lot of strong, negative voices dominated.”

Judd Pucella says the students also experienced some negative feedback to their role as some community members wondered if Marietta College was trying to steer the conversation. Even so, the students came away from the experience with a positive outlook.

“It’s true the experience might convince some students to become administrators,” she says. “But it’s also important teachers know they can also lead from the classroom.”

Taylor, who is majoring in Special Education/Elementary Education, just finished her sophomore year. She appreciated the chance to see “behind the scenes.”

“I really thought this would be a great experience for me to learn more about myself and learn how I can be a leader,” Jordan says. “I hadn’t thought about working as an administrator, but this project opened my eyes to what you can do. But first, I’m looking forward to getting into the classroom.”

During the Zoom presentation, Turner Mitchell ’22, a Special Education/Elementary Education major, believes the College is setting himself up for success in his future profession by providing experiences such as these.

“In regards to this project and, honestly, almost every project that I’ve been involved with through the Education Department or the Leadership Department — the projects don’t stop unless we do,” he says. “I think I can speak for most of us on this panel here … we can use these tools that we’ve learned in the Education Department and the Leadership Program and continue to go out into this community and affect and hopefully change the lives of students. While this (presentation) might be wrapping the whole project up, it surely doesn’t stop here for any of us.”

Champions at Heart

There were no words that could erase the pain of losing a season as it was just beginning. One after another, Marietta College coaches pulled together their student-athletes and broke the news to them — the 2020 spring season was canceled because of a virus.

They comforted each other by crying together. They hugged each other as some realized they would never play competitive sports again.

All of the hard work and sacrifices these dedicated Pioneers made to be the best high jumper, outfielder, rower or attacker did not matter anymore. COVID-19 robbed them of a season in their prime.

Not surprising, though, as true Pioneers, Marietta College’s student-athletes are persevering and are ready for what life throws at them next.

Tom Arison, Golf

The pandemic was a tough time for our program. Not only did our season get cut short, but we had to deal with the virus affecting a family in our program. You feel a sense of coming together during events like this. I learned I have a collective group of athletes who are truly resilient in any situation they face. Whether on the golf course or in their personal life, they will persevere and continue the process of bettering themselves every day — our team motto.

Brian Brewer, Baseball

Our guys were super excited about the start to our season, so I think the cancellation hit us all pretty hard initially. Fortunately, we found out at a time when we were allowed to continue to play a few additional games. We had the ability to recognize our seniors and have some closure, which was a good thing. Despite the disappointment, our guys understood and respected the decision. On a positive note, the three guys who were directly affected by the cancellation — Brady Cottom, Seamus Kenneally and Dalton Wiggins — are all planning to return for an extra year/semester to play a full final season.

Jenn Castle, Softball

The abrupt end to our season was heartbreaking and shocking, but this crisis has actually brought our team closer together. After learning the season was canceled, we still had games to play on our spring break trip in Florida. For the team to come out and play with passion, integrity and a no-lose attitude really brought out a different competitor in each of my student-athletes. This group is tenacious and really eager to be back together to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.

Jason Davis, Track & Field

I learned a lot about my team during this pandemic. After the initial disappointment of losing a season, I found out just how resilient they are. Not only have they continued to train and work toward the future. They have gotten creative with the gyms being closed and a stay-at-home order. With the weekly meetings we have via Zoom, I can see they are doing a great job of staying positive and playing the hand they have been dealt. I also learned they are hopeful and optimistic about the future. When faced with a new reality, they have stayed positive and are eager to resume classes on campus in the fall. I can’t wait to see all of them, the returnees and the newcomers. In the end, we will be a stronger group.

Abby Klicker, Women’s Rowing

As a team, we talk a lot about learning and growing from every situation. Two things the pandemic has taught us is the significance of consistency and gratitude. While practicing on campus, we take a few minutes each Thursday to share something for which we are thankful — Thankful Thursday. Gratitude is powerful and can shift our perspective in positive ways. Since the pandemic and stay-at-home orders, the team has continued to get together each and every Thursday in a Zoom meeting to share what they are thankful for that week. Having a consistent meeting time through the ups and downs of virtual learning gave the athletes something to look forward to each week. There were some weeks where it was clearly harder to be thankful than others but sharing in these times has brought the team closer. It allowed them to encourage each other in meaningful ways when they needed it the most and has increased trust within the team.

Greg Myhr, Men’s Rowing

In rowing, where we spend the first 6 ½ months of the school year laying the groundwork and training, spring break becomes the final tune-up period before racing begins immediately afterward. We had a remarkable year of preparation and really positive spring break training and we were feeling really good about how we were going to stack up in competition. I’m not sure we were going to set the rowing world on fire just yet, but anyone paying attention would have seen the makings of our resurgence. Then the beginning became the end, which I think we are all still trying to process. But this is a resilient team, and the hard work of this past year is still in the bank, so to speak, and we’re ready to get back to business and keep moving forward. In many respects, rowers live to train — the racing is almost just a way to rationalize the training. We can’t wait to get back to it, as we make the leap back into the upper echelon of rowing teams in this country.

Malory Nadrah, Women’s Lacrosse

When we learned our season was cancelled, it was an extremely sad moment. We sat together as a team on the steps outside the recreation center and sobbed together. Even I couldn’t hold back my emotion. But after a few minutes of being sad, I told my team we are allowed to be sad, but we have to learn something from this. Next time we can practice, we won’t take it for granted. Next time we want to complain, this will teach us not to. Next time we look at something as we “have” to do it, we will look at it as we will “get” to do it. I was proud of my players. Through tears they smiled and listened and I know it will only make us a stronger team in the future. During the height of the pandemic and quarantine, I created a virtual challenge for my players to stay in shape, stay active and have fun. I was blown away at the response and engagement. It was so nice receiving texts from many of them every day, seeing them get outside and be active during a time it was easy to stay inside and do nothing.

Shawn Runyon, Men’s Lacrosse

Initially the biggest disappointment from the team was not being able to prove ourselves in conference and show the progress we made from our first year to now. We had a lot of conference games that we were excited about playing and competing at a much higher level this year, and we weren’t able to get that chance. In continuing to talk with the team, I have realized how much they miss being with their teammates every single day on the field and how important their teammates are to them. Looking ahead to next season, I think everyone will appreciate those opportunities a little bit more and take advantage of the time together once we get back on the field.

Shelby Millheim ’22, Women’s Lacrosse

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Having to cancel mid-season was surely one of the most shocking things to take place during this pandemic. To make the most of the situation, I think this unique experience will bring us closer next season. We will no longer take any time on the field, at practice, or even at conditioning for granted. All of us teammates saying goodbye to the 2020 season will only empower us to work harder through a new perspective.

Zionne Newkirk ’23, Women’s Lacrosse

Youngstown, Ohio

For me, COVID-19 did take away the opportunity of playing with my team and playing for my coach, and that was really hard at first. I listened to all the songs we used to sing together and I kept in contact with everyone and with my coach. It helped a lot. When I transferred to Marietta, it was the spring season, so I had to jump right into practice; and it was a nightmare having that taken away. My heart was breaking but we’ll be back and better than ever. We will win too many games to count next season!

Kasey Neville ’22, Track & Field

Belington, West Virginia

This has definitely impacted our team but, it in my opinion, it has brought us together more than ever. We meet on Zoom, we have group chats and we all still keep in contact, which is a bond that a family has. The atmosphere has definitely changed with not being able to see my teammates, from cheering them on to seeing them on campus. I have coped with this by keeping in touch with as many of my teammates as possible and coaches. The one thing I do to cope with this is just practicing and doing what I can during this time. I cannot wait to see my teammates all together and get back to work. I know our coaches have been trying to get us back together once this whole thing is over which would definitely be nice.

Brooks Spires ’20, Men’s Rowing

Sebastian, Florida

This period has been one of the hardest of my life. Having the spring season taken from us was absolutely heartbreaking. As a team, we tried to remain as upbeat as possible as the events have unfolded but a gloom remains. It has made a lot of my teammates, including myself, begin to value the time that we had together more than ever. There is a spark of hope and excitement that next year we can go out there and show what we had up our sleeves.

Damian Yenzi ’21, Baseball

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It was really hard on everyone that our season got canceled. We worked so hard during the off-season to prepare for this year and it really hurt not being able to complete the season. We were off to a great start and this group of guys had a lot of potential. We are all very excited to get back on campus and can’t wait to get back to work.

Pioneers collaborate to support Marietta community

Did your family have the pleasure of enjoying President Bill Ruud’s virtual reading of The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter? How about Provost Bland’s rendition of Peter Rabbit by the same author, or Marietta College Education major Kelsey Hall ’21 reading her own work, You Milk How Many Cows?

The week of virtual storytelling in early April was the brainchild of a special group of staff members at the College tasked by President Ruud with finding creative ways to keep the Pioneer community connected and engaged.

“When people started leaving campus to work at home because of COVID-19, Dr. Ruud wanted to try to keep people connected,” says Paula Lewis, Executive Coordinator to the President. “He asked Tara Meagle [Coordinator of Development Events] to gather a group of folks from across the College who could put together some fun activities for the community.”

The ad-hoc committee was comprised of Maribeth Saleem-Tanner, Amy Elliott and Katie Evans from the Office of Civic Engagement, Mary Roberts from Communication and Brand Management, Josh Jacobs, Annie Kubala ’17 and Meagle from Advancement, and Lewis.

“We wanted to think of a snazzy name for ourselves, but I’m not sure we ever did,” says Elliott, Director of Nonprofits LEAD. “We were moving at a pretty quick pace to determine how Marietta College faculty, staff, students and alums could continue to feel connected and engaged virtually. The connection that we wanted to foster included a connection with one another as the MC family, but also with the community of Marietta.”

The group coordinated the storytelling efforts for one week, with President Ruud and others reading children’s stories so children in the community could enjoy a new bedtime story each night. They also hosted a virtual trivia night, facilitated a collaborative video tribute from faculty and staff to the Class of 2020, and, perhaps their most successful initiative, launched a Virtual Food Drive in support of the Marietta Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Plan to help families facing food insecurity.

“We talk often about the Marietta College ‘family,’ and I think the virtual food drive is an example of just how much that is really true,” says Saleem-Tanner, Director of Civic Engagement. “The donors included faculty and staff members, but also alums, students and families, members of the Board of Trustees, and friends of the College. For all of us, the local community is our home, the organizations on the front lines of response are our partners, and the people of Washington County are our neighbors.”

The committee set an initial goal to raise $2,020 in honor of the graduating seniors, a goal that was quickly dwarfed by the generosity of the Pioneer community.

“We exceeded our first goal within three hours of launching the drive,” Meagle says. “We reset the goal to $5,000, and in two and a half days we exceeded that one. We set the bar at $7,500, and in the end raised more than $9,300 for the food pantries in Washington County.

“I was overwhelmed, but not surprised,” she adds. “There are so many generous Pioneers out there — including our amazing Trustees and Cotton Society members — who are ready to step up to help us help our friends in the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

All of the money collected went to the Marietta Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response Fund, part of the Foundation’s three-pronged plan to bolster Marietta’s senior and youth populations, while supporting all members of the community who face food insecurity by funding and mobilizing volunteers to stock Washington County’s 13 local food pantries.

“We thought of the food pantry donation out of gratitude for our continued employment status as we watched so many face furloughs,” Elliott says, “and out of the knowledge that our campus is in the heart of a place that has a very real food insecurity issue.”

“For me, it is always crucial to raise awareness about food insecurity, as it is such a vital issue in the Mid-Ohio Valley,” says Evans, Coordinator of Community-Based Learning, “and even more so during this pandemic and economic crisis.”

A particularly nimble organization, the Marietta Community Foundation (MCF) implemented their original COVID-19 Community Plan well before the stay-at-home-orders, anticipating the demographics that would feel the most impact, and adapting their efforts to the changing landscape of the pandemic.

“The Foundation’s board and staff keep a constant stream of communication within the community,” says Foundation Communications & Program Services Director Mason Beuhring. “We speak to donors, nonprofits, local businesses and many other facets of the community to see what potential needs will arise and how we can bring each component together for the betterment of Washington County. To appropriately serve our community, we listen.”

Foundation President & CEO Heather Allender says MCF is an important part of the community, but there are many other organizations that comprise Washington County.

“We can make a greater difference when we work together and the partnership with Marietta College is a great example of that fact,” she says.

The committee was excited to see the impact they had on the community.

“Some faculty and staff from the campus community are out volunteering to help stock pantries, or sew masks, or deliver meals, or bring needed supplies directly to local organizations, and that is wonderful,” Saleem-Tanner says. “This donation drive offered another way for everyone to come together as Pioneers and show our support for our neighbors and partners in the Marietta community, no matter where we were geographically.”

Jacobs, Vice President for Advancement, was proud to see what was accomplished, even as everyone had to continue working on existing projects.

“I think it’s endemic of the new partnerships and collaborations that are happening campus-wide, positioning us to move forward as a stronger College and community,” he says.

College proudly partners with hospital fundraiser

As Marietta College’s primary source of unrestricted funding that affords leadership the flexibility to embrace new ideas and emerging opportunities — or pivot during emergency situations — The Marietta Fund is always a College priority.

There are times, however, that special projects require a special effort.

“President Ruud challenged our leadership cabinet, and I have challenged my staff: What are the rules we’ve created for ourselves that prevent us from adapting to unique situations?” says Vice President for Advancement Josh Jacobs. “How do we challenge our own conventional wisdom in ways that make our organization more effective?”

One way is to form unique community partnerships when the health of our community is threatened.

Spearheaded by Marietta College Trustee Andrew Ferguson ’95, the Marietta College Advancement team created a special fund this past April and helped to raise more than $15,000 to support Marietta Memorial Hospital’s move toward in-house COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing.

“I felt compelled to do something to protect our Marietta College family and the Mid-Ohio Valley,” Ferguson says. “This was a way to protect the Marietta College community so that when our students return, it isn’t for a memorial service of a cherished professor, or to attend the funeral of a classmate.

“Maybe more important than the amount of money we raised was that this marked the first time that the Marietta Community Foundation, the Marietta Memorial Foundation and Marietta College all collaborated together to raise money for the same cause,” he adds. “I think that’s probably the best part of the story.”

While unrestricted giving remains key to the strength of the institution, special initiatives within the College have also emerged. As students and their families face new challenges, Marietta College has also created the Pioneer Support Fund to provide direct grants to students with emergency needs related to COVID-19 or other unforeseen circumstances. For more information, contact Senior Director of Annual Giving Kathryn Gloor at (740) 376-4620 or kathryn.gloor@marietta.edu.

Created By
Ryan Zundell