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As they have inspired many through their generosity and kindness, the 2020 recipients of Ohio State’s highest philanthropic honors deserve a celebration in proportion to the outsized impact they have made on the communities we serve.

Though we could not all gather in person for a big event, this year’s Reese Medal and Gerlach Award recipients received this recognition in the company of their families, with virtual guest appearances from those whose lives they have forever changed.

Pat Brundige was awarded the Everett D. Reese Medal, the university’s highest honor in recognition of exceptional service in private philanthropy. Libby and Rick Germain received the John B. Gerlach Sr. Development Volunteer Award, which rewards those who show the utmost dedication and personal investment in university fundraising efforts.

Fittingly, Pat and her family commemorated the occasion at the Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building, a place that has special significance for all of them. For Pat, naming this facility was a way to pay tribute to the people who instilled in her the value of giving back.

“Being able to dedicate the Franklin County Extension building at Waterman in memory of my parents, Fredrick and Kathryn Kunz, was a great honor,” said Brundige. “My hope is that by investing in the building and the 4-H program, I will help make the best better and enhance outreach statewide.” – Pat Brundige

In 2019, the Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building opened, made possible through an $11 million gift from Pat. Anchoring the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on the Columbus campus of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), it is a hub for teaching, research and community engagement around food, health, agricultural production and sustainability, serving the Franklin County community through educational programs and events for youth and adults.

Brundige is the biggest individual benefactor in the history of CFAES. Her “see a need, fill a need” philosophy has led her to make many statewide 4-H donations, including to the Ohio 4-H Center, the state 4-H research endowment fund and camp scholarships for Ohio Military Kids.

Libby and Rick Germain are longtime supporters of the central Ohio community and Ohio State. Libby is a member Ohio State’s Foundation Board and an alumna, as are two of the couple’s children. The Germains joyfully embrace many Ohio State causes.

As big fans of Ohio State Athletics, the Germains have made leadership gifts to scholarships, the football program and Olympic sports, and have assisted in providing first-class athletics facilities. They are also champions for students participating in the Brutus Buckeye mascot program.

The Germains have devoted extraordinary time and resources to the Office of Student Life. They support activities that help to create an extraordinary student experience, including the Columbus Ambassadors Program and BuckeyeThon, Ohio State’s largest student-run philanthropy. They mentor BuckeyeThon students and help them fundraise and plan related events to support Nationwide Children’s Hospital patients.

Their commitment to BuckeyeThon is also driven by their passion to fuel cancer research and save lives. Libby has served as co-chair for Up on the Roof and Harvest of Hope, both fundraisers benefitting The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Since 2012, the Germains have both served on the James Ambassadors Society, and Libby has served on The James Foundation Board since 2015, representing the hospital in the community. Their philanthropic priority is attracting top physicians, including a gift that helped recruit Raphael Pollock, MD, PhD, who now directs the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

When presented with words of congratulations and gratitude during a virtual presentation of the Gerlach Award, Libby and Rick were overwhelmed.

“We were able to hear reflections from different friends who are dear to us,” Libby Germain said. “They represent programs that we believe in and it is an honor to be able to work for good at Ohio State. That makes receiving this award so very special and memorable.” – Libby Germain
“Collectively, Pat Brundige and Rick and Libby Germain have made an immeasurable impact on Ohio State and the communities we serve. Pat’s support for Ohio State University Extension and 4-H is helping us live up to our land-grant mission by reaching all 88 counties of our great state. Libby and Rick are driving cancer research to change and save lives, giving hope to survivors like me. They embody the Buckeye spirit.” – President Kristina M. Johnson

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