Special gift for Special Collections: Emeritus trustee honors late brother with gift

Emeritus Trustee Bob Showalter ’59 appreciates the efforts that Marietta College has made when it comes to preserving historic documents and has taken steps to ensure the College continues to fill that role.

Marietta College President Jean Scott will formally recognize the Kenneth E. Showalter ’50 Special Collections Endowment at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 5 in the Special Collections area of the library. The endowment was established to honor the memory of Bob Showalter’s late brother.

“He graduated from Marietta in 1950,” says Bob Showalter of his brother. “He was one of my role models and I followed in his footsteps to Marietta. We both worked our way through school—I worked as many as seven jobs at one time to do it,” Bob says.

The endowment will support the division of the library in two ways. First, it will provide general support for Special Collections to acquire historic materials and strengthen the department’s ability to preserve collected works.

“The second part of this gift will support student research for Special Collections,” says Dr. Douglas Anderson, Director of Legacy Library, who will speak briefly during this week’s ceremony. Dr. Scott and Bob Showalter will also give brief remarks.

Anderson says the endowment will support student use of Special Collections, in part, by providing an annual award to one student who has completed a research project for the department. “Nominations for award-worthy projects can be made by the various academic departments,” Anderson says.

Bob Showalter chose to support Special Collections for various reasons—ranging from his desire to help students to honoring his family’s love of history.

“Ken’s family was a great camping family. His son Bill, even as a child, was very interested in history. During their many camping trips I believe they visited just about every major battle site of the Civil War,” Bob Showalter says.

Bill Showalter is married to Linda Lee Showalter ’79, who is a Special Collections Associate. “I became interested in Special Collections when I was a trustee. Linda always spoke highly of the collections that the College had and how it preserved the original plats of the Ohio Company Land Purchase. It’s very important to protect that part of the area’s history and I see no one better than Marietta College to be able to fill that role.”

Three of Ken’s four children, some of their children, and Ken’s widow Mary will be among those in attendance at the ceremony.

Giving to Marietta College is nothing new for Bob Showalter. Having served on the Board of Trustees for seven years, he made an effort to help the College’s leaders become more knowledgeable about Marietta’s investments. When McCoy Hall was nearly complete, he learned during a Board meeting that there wouldn’t be enough funds to cover the cost of constructing a bridge walkway between the residence hall and the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.

“I asked (Physical Plant Director Fred Smith) what it would cost to build one and then next thing I knew I was telling my wife, ‘Dear, you just bought a bridge.’ ”

He and his wife established a scholarship fund for students from Williamstown, W.Va., who wanted to attend Marietta College. They also contributed to the last Don Drumm Stadium renovation project, which installed a new track and field surface.

“I’m honored to do this and hope this gift encourages others to give as well,” Showalter says.