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Monday, Sep 01, 2014

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Riedels

Alan and Ruby Riedel

Photographer: Jacquelin Weber

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A tradition of giving that began with a love story

Alan and Ruby Riedel honor their special connection to OHIO with gifts and commitments totaling more than $2 million


Alan Riedel began his undergraduate career at Ohio University in the fall of 1948. He was awarded a full-tuition scholarship, which at the time was $45.

He chose to attend OHIO because it was close to home - a decision that has influenced his entire life.

One of the first, and perhaps largest, milestones during his time at OHIO came at the beginning of his sophomore year in September 1949. He attended a mixer held at Bryan Hall – a mixer where he met his future wife, Ruby (Tignor) Riedel.

“I think I fell in love at first sight,” he said.

The pair tied the knot two weeks after Ruby’s graduation in 1953. In addition to their love for one another, the couple has also shared a love for their alma mater.

“We called it our four-year heaven,” Alan said.

In honor of their special connection with Ohio University, the Riedels began a tradition of giving to the University with a $25 dollar gift in 1961. Over the past 50 years, the couple has made gift commitments totaling more than $2 million to support the students, faculty, programs and facilities at OHIO.

The three Cutler Scholarships that the Riedels established are a particular point of pride; they regularly make time to meet with the recipients of their scholarships and even have them over for dinner.

“It made a lot of sense to develop scholarships that emphasize leadership… and getting to know these kids has been extremely satisfying,” Alan said.

The couple also created the “Riedel Family Scholarship Fund,” which benefits student-athletes. Both the Riedels share a passion for athletics, with Ruby’s father having played semi-pro baseball.

The Riedels have remained involved with the University through positions on the Alumni Association and Ohio University Foundation boards, the latter of which Alan served as chairman for five years.

Alan credits much of his involvement to lifelong friend Jack Ellis, vice president emeritus and associate cirector of the Cutler Scholars Program, whom Riedel said involved him in each University fund drive.

When asked why the couple continues to maintain a relationship with Ohio University, the Riedels responded that it is simply because they both love and enjoy it.

“There’s a quote that goes, ‘It’s not what you save, it’s not what you spend, it’s what you give that counts in the end.’ That’s what I live by,” Alan said.