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Ohio State honors supporters with highest awards for philanthropy and volunteerism

2020 recipients are Pat Brundige and Libby and Rick Germain

Three of Ohio State’s most committed and generous supporters were recognized last week with the university’s highest awards for philanthropy and volunteerism.

Pat Brundige received 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.

“Pat Brundige and Rick and Libby Germain have made an immeasurable impact on Ohio State and the communities we serve,” said President Kristina M. Johnson. “Ms. Brundige’s support for Ohio State University Extension and 4-H is helping advance our founding land-grant mission and uplifting people across our state. Mr. and Mrs. Germain are advancing cancer research to change and save lives, giving hope to survivors like me. They embody the Buckeye spirit.”

Brundige is the biggest individual benefactor in the history of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at Ohio State. 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.

In 2019, the Kunz-Brundige Franklin County Extension Building opened, made possible through an $11 million gift from Brundige. Anchoring the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory on the Columbus campus of 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.

“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.”

The Germains are longtime supporters of Ohio State and the central Ohio community. Libby is an alumna as are two of the couple’s children. She is also a member of the Foundation Board and has served as co-chair for Up on the Roof and Harvest of Hope, both fundraisers benefiting 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 Dr. Raphael Pollock, who now directs the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Germains have devoted time and resources to the Office of Student Life, and to shaping an extraordinary student experience. They support activities such as BuckeyeThon, Ohio State’s largest student-run philanthropy, by mentoring students and helping them fundraise and plan related events to support Nationwide Children’s Hospital patients.

Also 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.

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.”

“Pat, Libby and Rick represent the best of our Ohio State community, and show that, Together As Buckeyes, anything is possible,” said Michael C. Eicher, senior vice president for Advancement and president of The Ohio State University Foundation. “Their contributions of time, talent, treasure and tenacity for our students, patients, athletes, faculty, researchers and friends are inspiring. We are uplifted by their generosity and service.”

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