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Ohio University alumni couple plan $2 million gift for engineering and technology

Pete Shooner | Jan 22, 2019

Ohio University alumni couple plan $2 million gift for engineering and technology

Pete Shooner | Jan 22, 2019

An Ohio University alumni couple are donating $2 million to the Russ College of Engineering and Technology in support of the college’s mission to “create for good.”

Brig. Gen. Mark Arnold, BSISE ’82, and his wife Karin, BSCS ’81, will bequeath the gift as part of a trust, ensuring that its impact will be felt for many years to come.

“Our only desire for the gift is to provide an enduring and meaningful contribution to the Russ College,” Arnold explained, adding that they entrust the dean’s discretion in how the gift can best support the College.

"Karin and Mark have provided future deans with additional funds that will continue the enhancement of our student experience, our faculty prominence and our exceptional outreach," said Russ College Dean Dennis Irwin, who will retire as dean in July 2019.

Arnold has been giving back to OHIO for years through his service on the Russ College board of visitors, which he previously chaired. He also has led a full career that included reaching pinnacles in both the military and industry.

His more than 37 years of U.S. Army service was primarily in Special Forces (Green Berets). He served three combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq in special operations task forces as commander of Coalition Special Operations Forces Afghanistan and operations and liaison officer to special mission units Iraq. Other assignments include assistant chief of staff of U.S. Army Special Forces Command, brigade commander, and commanding general of the 100th Division. 

Following his graduation from the Russ College and his initial years of Special Forces training on active duty, Arnold began dual careers: active service in Army Reserve units including multiple stints of months-long military training, and full-time employment in corporate America. He was recruited by GE and served in its aircraft engine business for 10 years before taking a management position with Advanced Drainage Systems, the world’s leading plastic pipe manufacturer. His 14 years there led him to roles as a corporate officer in assignments as vice president of government affairs and market development, then vice president and general manager of international operations.

Arnold then joined Lubrizol, a Fortune 500 company, where he led one of its global business units, before being recruited to be president and CEO of GSE Lining Technologies, a multinational manufacturer that he helped grow, achieving record profits and an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. Two years later, he was promoted to be commanding general of the Army’s 100th Division, resigning from GSE in order to finish his military career on active duty.  

Now retired, Arnold is the president of the Special Forces Association’s Ohio chapter, a member of three boards of directors of non-profit organizations, and serves in a professional Ohio fire department.

His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, our nation’s highest award for military service; the Legion of Merit; the Bronze Star Medal; the Combat Infantryman Badge; Master Parachutist Badge; Special Forces Tab; and Ranger Tab. He received Ohio University’s Medal of Merit in 2007 for achievement in business.

Arnold earned his MBA at Cleveland State University and a master’s in strategic studies at the U.S. Army War College.

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.