Mark White, BSBA ’85, experienced a turbulent time as a teenager and early in his college life, having lost both of his parents by his second year of college. Now, an incredibly active alumnus in his own right, White continues to give back to the university that supported his family for generations with his family’s latest contribution to the Forward Together Campaign.
White’s family history at ONU stretches back to his great-grandfather and his great-uncle who both graduated from the Ohio Normal School in 1887. White’s father, who passed away when White was 16 years old, also attended ONU until he joined the U.S. Navy during World War II, then later returned after his military service. His mother, brother, and daughter all graduated from Ohio Northern and his nephew is a current student.
When White’s mother passed away during his second year of college, his first at ONU, White got a house in Lima, Ohio, and commuted to his classes, with strong support from the University, including his academic advisor, David Savino.
Because of the positive impact Ohio Northern had on his and his family members’ lives, White and his wife, Michelle, made a gift to the Northern Fund that will serve future generations of Polar Bears.
“I feel an obligation to support something that was central to our family’s success,” he said.
The Whites, who live in Van Wert, Ohio, made their donation through an estate gift, which names Ohio Northern as the beneficiary of a retirement account. As a result of their generous and cumulative philanthropic commitment to ONU over the years, the Whites will be inducted into the Henry Solomon Lehr Society in October 2023.
“Being a Lifetime Lehr member is an honor, but also a marker of giving, and an important one, but not a finish line,” he said. “I plan to continue supporting ONU financially or in any way the school feels I can be of assistance.”
The couple has financially contributed to many ONU ventures, including the Northern Fund, the Business Student Support Fund, Patriotic Pops, a trustee scholarship for underrepresented students, the January 11 Fund and the Robby Fund.
Mark White is CEO of Vancrest Health Care Centers and serves on the ONU Board of Trustees. He also is a member of the Dicke College of Business Administration Advisory Board.
His service expands beyond the reaches of ONU’s campus, as he volunteers with many community organizations, often in a leadership role. White has served as a Van Wert County Foundation trustee, board member of the Van Wert Business Development Corporation, past board member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board and past treasurer of the First Presbyterian Church in Van Wert.