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Monday, Sep 01, 2014

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Ada Margaret Wilson Saviers (left) pictured with her daughter Joan.

Photo courtesy of: Bill Saviers

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Ada Margaret Wilson Saviers

Photo courtesy of: Bill Saviers

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In his own words: Teachers are miracles

OHIO alumnus talks about his inspiration for establishing a scholarship in honor of his mother


Teachers take facts and wisdom and transfer them to others. They spark the fire of curiosity that leads to the development of our common life together. My mother was a teacher and very much a miracle. It is in her honor that I established a Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education scholarship to benefit pre-service teachers.

Born April 13, 1913 in Parkersburg, W. Va., Ada Margaret Wilson was the only daughter of five children. As a child, she dreamt of going to college.

Her father and mother—A.H. and Blanche Wilson—made that dream come true when they helped Ada enroll at Ohio University in 1931. An education major, she graduated in 1935 with a focus on home economics and physical education. She went on to teach for more than 20 years in Ohio and West Virginia.

In 1942, my mother’s roommate at OHIO got married. My parents met at that wedding— my father the groom’s best man and my mother a bridesmaid. The next year, Ada Margaret Wilson became Ada Saviers.

While my father fought in the World War II, my mother taught school in Kent, Ohio, and Parkersburg, W. Va. When my father returned, my sister and I followed in short succession while he attended Kent State University.

My parents belonged to what journalist Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation,” a phrase he used to describe those tried by the Great Depression and the Second World War, many of whom dedicated themselves to raising their families in a better world than the one they had inherited. My mother found dozens of ways to use everything she and my father bought or grew to make ends meet and to feed and raise our family. Because of the hard work and ingenuity of both my parents, my sister and I were blessed with health and a fundamental sense of well-being, more than either of my parents knew in their younger days.

Mom was thoughtful and enjoyed surprising us with our favorite pies, breads and casseroles to the point that we delighted in eating as much as she and my father did. We relished family meals, good food, conversation, drink and laughter. This heritage still prepares me for my plunge into each new day with a sense of expectation and wonder. For that I can only say ‘thank you’ and keep those experiences in mind when I have opportunities to pass on what I have learned to those around me.

Ada made a deep impact on all her students, but especially the female students, who saw through her example that they could get a college education too. Her nieces remember fondly that their Aunt Ada was a working woman, which showed them that they could enter the professional world as well and succeed. When life fell apart for one of her nieces, it was my mother’s example that helped her persevere and develop a career in banking to support and raise her family. My mother liked to discover new things and share with others how to do them, a trait she exemplified both in her profession and in raising a family. Her work and effort as well as her humanity played a large role in teaching countless students and me about life.

Because of my mother’s passion for education and lifelong learning, I felt it was fitting to establish the Ada Margaret Wilson Saviers scholarship in her honor.

About Bill Saviers

Bill Saviers graduated from Ohio University in 1968 with a bachelor’s in political science. He took part in the Ohio Fellows Program begun by President Alden and Dean Rollins. In 1974, he earned the juris doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law. After graduation, Saviers pursued a career in corporate law, working in the energy sector for Columbia Gas Transmission, the Cabot Corporation, and Consolidated Natural Gas, which later was acquired by Dominion Resources.

During his career, Saviers also devoted his time to church music in various settings. He became a member of the Association of Anglican Musicians and was appointed chancellor in 1997, a position he still holds. He has written several articles for the Association and the Living Church on legal issues facing lay employees in the Episcopal Church. Saviers also has served in various capacities as a volunteer with Shepherd Wellness, Hospice and United Way. Since his retirement in 2004, he has been working with Legal Aid of West Virginia as a pro-bono volunteer, offering legal advice and representing clients in civil cases. He was recently elected to serve on Legal Aid’s Board of Directors. Saviers is currently working with his Ohio Fellow colleagues, Alden Library and University College to explore opportunities for student excellence.