ATHENS, Ohio (April 19, 2004) -- As Jeff Chaddock prepares to celebrate his 20th reunion at Belpre High School, he has pledged to make a difference in the lives of students from his alma mater. With his most recent gift to Ohio University's Bicentennial Campaign, he will provide for two annual scholarships of $2,000 each for Belpre High School graduates studying in the College of Communication.
The scholarship will provide $1,000 annually for the student organization Students in Communication Systems Management (SICM). The $50,000, 10-year pledge brings the 1988 Ohio University graduate's total commitments to the University to more than $2.6 million and makes him the youngest major contributor to the Bicentennial Campaign.
"I want to give back to what got me to Ohio University," says Chaddock. "And that's Belpre High School. I want to give back to where I came from."
Chaddock, of Columbus, Ohio, has been a senior financial advisor for American Express since 1988 and specializes in asset management, estate planning and endowment consulting. In 1994, he founded the public relations company Achieving Wow and currently serves as its principal consultant. He is a graduate of Communication Systems Management (CSM) in the College of Communication and is an active Ohio University volunteer. He served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors (1990-2000) and serves as a trustee of The Ohio University Foundation and as chair of the Student Affairs Bicentennial Campaign Committee.
In 2000, Chaddock committed more than $2 million to the university in his estate that will benefit the College of Communication and Student Affairs. "My charitable bequest will ensure that these scholarships are taken care of in perpetuity and that the mission and vision of philanthropy is carried out," he says.
Just one year after graduating from Ohio University, Chaddock received a call from the Ohio University Phonathon asking him to consider a $50 gift. "When I asked if I could do more, (the caller) was a little surprised," says Chaddock. "When I said I wanted to give $1,000 and that my company would match it two to one, making it a $3,000 gift, he hardly knew what to do with me." That gift - and Chaddock's commitment to continue making it every year for the next decade - made him the youngest member of the Trustees Academy, the university's premier giving society.
"Jeff's volunteerism and philanthropy are a source of inspiration for a new generation of Ohio University alumni," says Vice President for University Advancement Leonard Raley. "He demonstrated his commitment to the University immediately after graduation and has never looked back. The best part: This is just the beginning."
Chaddock believes that "the greatest tribute that could be paid to Ohio University is to start making gifts early after graduation, and gifting until it hurts. That's something we don't do often enough."
Chaddock is quick to point out that matching gift opportunities are an excellent way for young alumni to make a significant impact at Ohio University. "My $1,000 gift yielded $3,000, which could do a great deal for the College of Communication and for CSM," he says. "Really, $1,000 wasn't a lot over the course of a year," says Chaddock. "When you consider the tax benefits, it's really $660 out of pocket. That's about $2 a day to make a difference in the life of an Ohio University student."
"It's my hope that more young people will become motivated to become involved soon after graduation," he says. "That they will become engaged early on with the university, not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because it's an important thing to do."
Chaddock has served on numerous boards of trustees, including: Current chair of finance for the Dairy Barn Southeastern Ohio Cultural Arts Center and trustee for the Ohio Arts Council in Columbus. He served on the President's Advisory Council for American Express from 1993 to 2003. In 2001, Chaddock was named to the American Express Hall of Fame, a privilege earned by less than one-tenth of 1 percent of financial advisors worldwide. In 1993 Chaddock received the Ohio University Recent Graduate Award and in 2003 received the university's Distinguished Service Award.
The Bicentennial Campaign - which has raised more than $197 million toward its goal of raising $200 million to celebrate the university's bicentennial in 2004 - will provide money for scholarships, endowed professorships, technological enhancements, innovative programs and selected capital improvements.
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Media Contact: Assistant Dean for Development in Communication Heidi Tracy, (740) 593-4799, or Director of Development Communication Jennifer Bowie, (740) 597-1739
Editors: A photo of Chaddock can be found at: www.ohiou.edu/news/pix/CHADDOCK_JEFF.JPG