Benches, scholarship memorialize outstanding alumnus

The patio outside Thomas Hall at Marietta College now boasts two new iron benches.

Placed in memory of Robert D. Duggan '59, and in honor of Duggan's friend and mentor, emeritus professor Wen-Yu "Frank" Cheng, the benches are appropriately situated outside the building that is home to economics, management and accounting - the academic department where student Duggan and professor Cheng first met.

"The benches are tangible symbols of Bob Duggan's affection for Marietta College and the value he placed on his experiences here," said Charlie Powell, associate vice president of advancement.

Duggan's relationship with Marietta College began in 1955, when he enrolled under the auspices of the G.I. Bill. Quickly distinguishing himself as a top student, he graduated with a degree in economics in 1959, and launched what would become a highly successful career in banking.
Over the years, Duggan maintained his ties with Marietta College and with Cheng. He served on the MC Alumni Advisory Council for many years, and he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1994. He passed away on July 29, 2004.

In his memory, Duggan's wife, Omah C. Duggan, son, Michael P. Duggan '80, and daughter-in-law, Joanne Edwards Duggan '81, established the Bob Duggan '59 Distinguished Scholarship in 2005. The purpose of the scholarship is to provide financial assistance to students majoring in the department of economics, management and accounting, who demonstrate financial need, with preference given to students with a grade point average of at least 3.0 (or its equivalent).

The first recipient of the scholarship was Jackson High School graduate Stephanie K. Esparza '06, who completed requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree, graduating magna cum laude with a double major in accounting and finance. Esparza is the daughter of Beverly and Saul Esparza of Canton, Ohio.

Warren High School graduate Kayla Righter '08, of Vincent, Ohio, is the 2006-07 recipient of the scholarship. A finance major, Righter is the daughter of Theresa and Daniel Righter of Vincent.

Duggan, a native of Coshocton, Ohio, has been called a self-made man from a humble background. Duggan's father died when he was a youngster, and his mother struggled to raise him and his brother. Duggan graduated from Coshocton High School and enlisted in the Air Force in 1951. His wife, Omah, whom he married that same year, joined him in Hawaii during his military service as he served as a chaplain's assistant. While he studied at MC, Omah worked at Union Carbide in Marietta to support him.

When Duggan graduated in 1959, he joined the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland as a planning clerk. Intent on continuing his education, he worked at the bank during the day and took classes at Case Western Reserve University at night, earning an M.B.A degree from Case Western in 1963. He rose through the ranks at Federal Reserve, serving at the bank's Cincinnati and Pittsburgh branches as vice president, chief operating officer, and senior vice president.

In 1981, Duggan was recruited by S&T Bank in Indiana, Pa., and was promoted to president and CEO a year later. In 1993 he was elected chairman and CEO of S&T Bancorp and S&T Bank, the position he held until his retirement as president. Duggan continued to serve as S&T board chairman until his death in 2004.

Under his leadership, S&T Bancorp grew from a bank with six branches and $200 million in total assets to a large financial services company with $3 billion in assets and with 49 offices and numerous subsidiaries in 10 counties in west-central Pennsylvania.

In addition to his services to Marietta College, Duggan served on the board of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where a scholarship has been established in his honor. During his tenure with S&T, he also chaired the board of Indiana Hospital, the board of the Indiana Economic Development Commission, and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

In a tribute to Duggan presented in 2005, Cheng said, "Bob is truly one of the outstanding students and alumni of Marietta College in its long history."