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Strong OHIO bonds inspires parent to give back

Rita Isaacs sent her son Michael, nicknamed "Mickey," to Ohio University all the way from the Oakland, Calif., area, expecting the normal "sending-your-child-to-college" type of experience.

Instead, she quickly witnessed and appreciated the bond that students, faculty and alumni have with OHIO, the city of Athens and the community. So, she decided to explore different ways to get involved with Mickey’s future alma mater.

“I came to understand that whatever magical hold Ohio University has on people, it seems to stay with them,” she said.

Isaacs now serves on the newly-formed Division of Student Affairs’ Ohio Parents Advisory Council (OPAC), a group of OHIO parents who provide feedback to the dean of students about Student Affairs’ strategic planning, policies and services and programming.

Through her work as an OPAC volunteer, a funding need materialized and she began a charge to fulfill it. Isaacs now works to endow the Parents and Family Fund, a fund that provides aid to students when tragedy strikes on campus or at home—such as the death of a student or family member, or in the case of a disaster such as a fire or an accident. The fund is administered by Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi. Since the fund requires $15,000 to grow in perpetuity, Isaacs has committed to providing any remaining funds needed to reach the goal once other donations are made. Thanks to Isaac's efforts, the fund has received donations from every OPAC member.

“The motivation for providing the remainder of the funds is really quite simple for me: I saw an important need that I felt I could fill, so I filled it.” Isaacs said. Once the funding is in place, the fund will offer expanded services while continuing its main purpose: helping students.

The time and treasure Isaacs has given to OHIO has allowed her to reap benefits she values.

 “It has been an amazing learning experience for me,” she said. “I've made some wonderful friends from this group and know I will continue to be in touch with them long after our children graduate and move on to the next chapters in their lives.”

If you would like to donate to OPAC'srents and Family Fund, please call 1-800-592-FUND or visit www.ohio.edu/give.

Emphasizing the positive

Rita Isaacs also serves as a member of the University Communications and Marketing Advisory Committee. She offers her feedback and perspective on a number of OHIO public relations issues with the aim of boosting the university’s national image to attract the best students and faculty.

“The Scripps School of Journalism, Edison Biotechnology Institute and the Innovation Center should receive more publicity than ‘Palmer Fest’ (an annual block party held in the spring),” she laughed. “It is important that OHIO remain a viable option for our youth, and I think a big part of being viable involves moving into the new millennium and emphasizing the positive.”