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Ohio State recognizes Fricks, Dietzes with top awards for philanthropy, volunteerism

Efforts support research and scholarship

Four of The Ohio State University’s most committed and generous supporters were recognized last week with the institution’s highest awards for philanthropy and volunteerism.

Robert and Corrine Frick received the Everett D. Reese Medal, the university’s highest honor in recognition of exceptional service in private philanthropy. James and Patricia Dietz accepted the John B. Gerlach Sr. Development Volunteer Award, which rewards those who show the greatest dedication and personal investment in university fundraising efforts.

“Through their ongoing generosity and dedication to the advancement of academic excellence, research and innovation that benefits people on our campuses and in the communities we serve, Corrine and Bob Frick and Jim and Pat Dietz are living embodiments of Ohio State’s foundational vision and values,” said President Kristina M. Johnson. “Together, they are creating opportunities and facilitating discoveries that both change lives and save them. They have forged a pathway that will inspire others for generations to come.”

In 2018, Ohio State announced an $18M commitment to create the Bob and Corrine Frick Center for Heart Failure and Arrhythmia. The Fricks established this first-of-its-kind center to explore the interface of heart failure and rhythm abnormalities at Ohio State’s Heart and Vascular Center. They also support the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute through the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer and The Urban and Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research.

To advance research and teaching, the Fricks have established six endowed chairs in the specialty of heart failure and arrhythmia. They have also funded a hybrid electrophysiology lab that converts to an operating suite if complications arise during complex procedures.

“For us, it was all about making a difference in people’s lives,” said Robert Frick, who is also a patient. “We wanted to help people extend their lives and have quality in their life, as I have had. Just think: You might be the next person to take advantage of these new methods and discoveries.”

James and Patricia Dietz have established an endowed scholarship that provides significant support for six to seven engineering students each year. They continue to mentor students even after graduation.

Four years ago, the Dietzes initiated a conversation with the College of Engineering to start a Triple Match Campaign, providing three-to-one matching funds to help encourage young alumni to contribute. They have led this effort every year since. James Dietz, a 1969 and 1970 graduate of Ohio State’s chemical engineering program, began volunteering with the university in 2008 and enjoys engaging with students in the classroom and offering advice.

 “After sitting down with students, I have really learned the importance of listening to and talking with young people,” James Dietz said. “These experiences illustrate what a great community Ohio State is and what motivates Pat and me to be involved — the people: administration, faculty, alumni, friends and above all, the students.”

James Dietz was the College of Engineering’s co-chair for the But for Ohio State Campaign, helping to drive this fundraising effort to exceed the college’s goal. The Dietzes made a gift during this campaign to name the unit operations laboratory, a mainstay of hands-on learning for undergraduate chemical engineers, within the new Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry Building. James Dietz currently serves as the College of Engineering’s chair for the Time and Change: The Ohio State Campaign, and the college is already halfway to its fundraising goal of $450M.

“Through their steadfast support, caring guidance and tireless volunteer efforts, Bob, Corrine, Pat and Jim perfectly represent the qualities we associate with our distinguished philanthropic honors and the Buckeye spirit of paying forward,” said Michael C. Eicher, Ohio State’s senior vice president for Advancement and president of The Ohio State University Foundation. “We are pleased to shine a spotlight on their generosity and commitment to our students, patients, faculty and researchers.”

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