Private support for Ohio University climbs again, topping $44 million in fiscal year 2023

Published: September 7, 2023 Author: Staff reports

In fiscal year 2023, the Ohio University Foundation received gifts and commitments from 15,667 alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and parents – the largest number of donors in five years. Their commitment supports scholarships for deserving students, bolsters capital projects that improve student experience, helps expand in-demand academic programming and more.

Combined gifts totaled $44,326,330 million, and FY23 (July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2023) is the fourth year in a row that gifts have surpassed $40 million. Of the more than 15,000 donors, 9,427 alumni made gifts to the University.

“Seeing not only the dollar amount climb but also the number of donors signals for me a sense of momentum and excitement that I have felt since arriving at Ohio University,” said Ohio University President Lori Stewart Gonzalez, who began her term as OHIO’s 23rd President on July 1. “I want to say a big thank you to every person who made a gift of any amount. I am committed to working with the Foundation to ensure those dollars have significant impact on our students and their success.”

Many of the gifts of the past year are already impacting learning outcomes at OHIO. A $1.5 million gift from the J.W. & M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation to Ohio University Zanesville’s nursing program is supporting upgrades to the campus’s clinical training areas and overall nursing corridor space. The upgrades will enable the expansion of the nursing program to meet the increased demand for nurses in east central Ohio.

In addition, an Ohio University education is now more affordable for select students from West Virginia thanks to a new scholarship fund created by the family of Frank B. Dilley. The Dilley Family Scholarship for West Virginia was established with funding from the Dilley family combined with The OHIO Match™ funds to create a $1 million endowment. Dilley served Ohio University for more than 35 years beginning in 1920 as the director of the John Hancock High School, a teaching high school in the College of Education, then as the OHIO registrar and later director of Admissions. His career kicked off a family legacy that spans four generations with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren earning degrees at OHIO. 

Another Ohio University graduate, alumna Jackie Reau (BSJ ’02, MSA ’12) made a historic and transformational commitment of $2 million to enhance women’s sports at OHIO. Reau’s planned gift is the largest philanthropic commitment to women’s sports in the University’s history. The newly established Fund to Recognize and Enhance Women’s Athletics will support facility enhancements, equipment and supplies, travel, recruiting and more. Reau is CEO and co-founder of Cincinnati-based Game Day Communications.

“Leadership gifts like these have immediate and lasting impact on our student experience, and that impact is what makes our work with donors so incredibly rewarding,” said Nico Karagosian, Vice President for University Advancement and CEO of the Ohio University Foundation. “I was also reminded this year just how much we can further that impact by coming together as Bobcats when our annual OHIO Giving Day surpassed $1 million in funds raised for the first time.”

On April 18, 2023, alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and parents shattered Giving Day records with 3,196 gifts from 2,672 donors bringing in $1.18 million in support. Funds raised focused on expanding scholarships and increasing experiential learning opportunities for OHIO students. Every college on the Athens campus and each of OHIO’s five regional campuses benefited from gifts made on Giving Day.

Fiscal year 2024 giving is now underway, and Ohio University is continuing The OHIO Match™ program, an undergraduate scholarship investment program through which the University is providing $0.50 for every dollar committed to eligible scholarship endowments. Alumni and friends can search funds by name, type, college affiliation and more and make an online gift at Or, simply send a check with your fund of choice designated to The Ohio University Foundation, P.O. Box 869, Athens, OH 45701. Questions about making a gift can be directed to The Ohio University Foundation at 800-592-3863 or