Tom Starr Awards.

Tom Starr at the annual Sales Centre awards ceremony.

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University

Tom Starr at the annual On the Green

Tom Starr posing with other Bobcats during On The Green Weekend.

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University

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Remembering Tom Starr, a one of a kind Bobcat


On the back of Tom Starr’s business card, it said “The Connector.”

“He had a lot of contacts. He was very outgoing. He never knew a stranger,” said Anne Starr, Tom Starr’s widow.

Tom Starr, BBA ’69, was one of the founders of Ohio University’s Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre. He had a career in marketing and sales operational management at the Xerox Corporation before returning to OHIO to teach an introductory sales class as an executive-in-residence for the College of Business.

He died in 2013; however, his spirit and compassion for others lives on through his namesake OHIO scholarship and the University’s successful sales program that reaches across disciplines.

In 2014 Anne Starr, BSED ’70, established The Tom Starr Miracles for Life Scholarship in his memory. The scholarship is given to a student participating member of the Candidate Advisory Council, an executive team made of students acting as a voice of leadership within the Schey Sales Centre.

One of the first of its kind, the Schey Sales Centre provides students with a sales curriculum accredited by the University Sales Center Alliance and the National Conference in Sales Management.

Tom Starr, along with the late Jim Wycoff, AB ’71, had the foresight in the ‘90s to know the importance of sales beyond business, and that the skill was needed across disciplines, former Executive Director Kenneth Hartung said.

Today, the Schey Sales Centre it is one the highest ranked college programs. According to its current Executive Director Adam Rapp, the sales program has 100 percent job placement.

The gift made in Tom Starr’s memory is used to ease a student’s financial struggles, but also to reward them for a job well done in the Schey Sales Centre.

“We are incredibly thankful for alumni and individuals who make these types of donations. The impact goes much further than you can really articulate. The way it changes [students’] lives … they will always remember the impact it had and the things it helped them accomplish,” Rapp said.

The impact of the scholarship reflects Starr’s impact on others and the University.

A two-time liver donation recipient, Tom Starr also helped those who were in need of a liver transplant. He founded Miracles for Life, Inc., a nonprofit organization, that connected donors with those in need of a transplant, while also raising awareness and funds for the cause.

After his death, his brother Larry Starr, MED ’71, and wife Anne Starr used the remaining funds in the Miracles for Life to establish the scholarship at OHIO.

Avery Pantaleano, BSME ’17, was a recent recipient of the scholarship. He found that his leadership role in the sales centre set him apart from other students. Although he graduated as a mechanical engineering major, he said the Schey Sales Centre provided him with adequate training for any career goal.

“I went to the Schey for sales training and it really broadened my horizon and helped to differentiate me from my peers. It’s easily one of the most influential programs you can join to prepare you to leave college and join the workforce,” Pantaleano said.  

Tom Starr was known for helping students discover what they were passionate about and helping them succeed in that area. He could often be found uptown after class, meeting a student over coffee or pizza. He also provided people and others with professional contacts, which earned him the name “The Connector.”

“Tom had a tremendous passion and wanted to see students succeed,” said Larry Starr, who serves on the OHIO Alumni Association Board of Directors. “He would invite the students to come over and have pizza with him. He did that because he wanted to hear from them outside of the classroom.”

Hugh Sherman, dean of the College of Business, worked closely with Tom Starr during his time at OHIO.

“Tom was truly one of those people you hope you can run into two, or three of them in your lifetime. He rubbed off on other people. He left a wonderful feeling with everyone who had interacted with him,” Dean Sherman said. “When Tom came into a room, it lit up. He had a passion for helping people find out what they were passionate about, and making what they were excited about become a career.”