Ohio University mourns the loss of alumnus and longest-running supporter, Gary Clark ’60

OHIO's longest-running donor, Gary Clark, BSCOM ’60, supported his alma mater for more than 60 years. Clark passed away in December 2023 in Anderson, Ind.

February 14, 2024


Gary Clark, BSCOM ’60, passed away Dec. 15, 2023, in Anderson, Ind., leaving a legacy of unparalleled dedication and generosity to Ohio University. Beginning in 1962, his unwavering support over more than six decades marked him as OHIO’s longest-running donor. 

“Year after year, for 61 years, Gary’s extended generosity showed his commitment to the next generation of Bobcats, and his ongoing contributions played a role in shaping our institution,” says Jennifer Bowie, Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and Executive Director of the Ohio University Alumni Association. “We are incredibly grateful to Gary for his philanthropy and for the example of community engagement he was to us all.”

At OHIO, Gary studied business, preparing him for what would become a successful career in corporate business development and marketing. But like many Bobcats, outside the classroom is where he created his most formative memories, many connected to his passion for singing. He sang in the Ohio University Chorus and in the Ohio University Singers. As a member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, he sang formally in competitions like the Spring Torch Sing and informally during pinning ceremonies or whenever the mood struck.

These experiences and more, including landing his first job through a connection in OHIO’s student chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Management, instilled in Gary a lasting sense of gratitude.

“What you come away with [at OHIO] is a degree and academic experiences that you hope to apply as you go forward in life,” Gary told Ohio Today magazine in 2022. “So many of the significant events of my life occurred here.”

Gary Clark at Ohio University commencement on the Athens campus, 1960

Gary Clark stands on College Green on the Athens campus at Ohio University commencement, 1960.

Gary Clark stands with Phi Tau roommate and lifelong friend Bill Katholi in Athens in 1960.

Gary, right, with Phi Tau roommate and lifelong friend Bill Katholi in Athens, Ohio, 1960.

Gary retired from marketing management following a 40-year career in the Dayton and Cleveland areas and was an active and valued member of Central Christian Church in Anderson, Ind. He continued to pursue his lifelong love of music by singing in the church choir. 

Gary’s astonishing, long-running generosity to Ohio University was matched only by his unending willingness to help his alma mater in other ways – including his gifts of time and presence. In the fall of 2021, OHIO had the honor of sharing Gary’s story through the launch of its “Give Like Gary” campaign, with the goal of reconnecting with past donors and boost donations to The Fund for Ohio, which supports the University’s area of greatest need. 

Gary’s letter mailed to donors near the end of the campaign generated more than $202,000 from 1,099 people. About one-third of those were returning donors who had lapsed in giving to the University. In 2022, The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) awarded Ohio University a “Grand Gold” Circle of Excellence Award in recognition of the campaign. The wide-ranging effort, which included video, email, print and social media in addition to the mailed appeal, was described as “exceptional” by CASE judges. The campaign continues to serve as a model for other institutions, says Caty Allgood, executive director of Annual Giving.

“Gary Clark was an exceptional person who truly believed each of us has the power to make a difference,” says Allgood. “It was my pleasure to work with Gary in our fundraising efforts, and to see firsthand how everyone on campus who met him during our visits was moved by his generosity and spirit.” 

In noting how much he enjoyed his return visits to the Athens campus to participate in the creation of the campaign in late fall 2021, Gary said, “I am glad I chose years ago to give back in the small way I have, and [this] recognition has validated it and made me very proud.”