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The energy and excitement continued to build for Marietta College students, employees, alumni, and friends who were striving to reach the This is the Time Comprehensive Campaign’s $100 million goal. 

The campaign was publicly launched during Homecoming 2021, though the College had been quietly working to lay a strong foundation of philanthropy for several years leading up to that announcement. This week, Marietta surpassed the $100 million milestone — and with the campaign officially lasting until June 30th, the campus community hopes to grow the total amount even more. 

“Marietta’s This is The Time Comprehensive Campaign has been an aspiring enterprise, but it is a brilliant example of what we can accomplish together to set the stage for unmatched success,” said campaign co-chairs Don Ritter ’81 and Leslie Straub Ritter ’85 said in a joint statement. “This campaign was the most ambitious and aggressive ever assumed by the College, but our lofty goals were established with the objective of meeting immediate needs and establishing a solid underpinning for the future of Marietta College. It is also important to highlight the impact the campaign had on reconnecting members of The Long Blue Line to their alma mater and reminding them that we need their help in making sure the students, faculty, and staff are supported now and into the future.” 

The historic endeavor focused on four areas: preparing students to be leaders in the community and the world; preserving and creating facilities where future members of The Long Blue Line will learn, play and prosper; investing in faculty so they can further develop their expertise and make more meaningful investments in students; and increasing experiential learning opportunities for students. Because it is a comprehensive campaign, donors had a variety of opportunities to support. 

“Our ‘This is The Time’ Comprehensive Campaign has been phenomenally successful. I am extremely grateful for the generosity of Marietta’s friends, alumni, faculty, staff, students, and parents in helping us exceed our $100 million dollar goal in five short years,” said William N. Ruud, Marietta College’s President. “Their gifts, which will benefit us for generations, show their passion for the College and demonstrate their confidence in Marietta’s current and future opportunities to positively impact our students’ lives. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to lead this Campaign with the great support of our Board of Trustees, our Advancement Team and VP Josh Jacobs, and Co-Chairs Leslie and Don Ritter and to be a part of the Marietta College family.” 

Achieving the $100 million goal took 8,357 donors from all 50 states — and their gifts were able to endow 18 programs, 41 scholarships, and three professorships. Some of the transformative gifts that came from the campaign were the Howsmon-Keyes Experiential Education Endowment Fund, which supports students during their internships, and the Ronald ’72 and Simin Shelton Rinard International Travel Grants Program, which supports students who plan to study abroad.

During the launch at Homecoming, the Ritters and Kevin O’Neill ’87, ’12 each pledged $1 million toward the new Campus and Community Center. Just a few weeks later, Peoples Bank announced a $1 million pledge that would enhance and facilitate the merger between the Department of Business and Economics and the McDonough Center for Leadership and Business. 

With about three weeks before the campaign officially wraps, there are two key projects that the Advancement team will continue to pursue funding for: the student center, which has received $8 million of the $20 million needed to construct; and the Softball Complex renovation, which has gifts and pledges totaling $828,663 toward the $1.1 million needed to complete the project. 

The Campaign Steering Committee, led by the Ritters, also included Honorary Chairpersons Robert Dyson ’68 and Laura Baudo Sillerman ’68, and members Barbara Perry Fitzgerald ’73, Michael Salvino ’87, Kevin O’Neill ’87, ’12, Charles Sulerzyski, Harry “Hap” Esbenshade III, Jason Rebrook ’96, Ronald Rinard ’72, Dale Wartluft ’63, Bill Ruud, Jo Ellen Diehl Yeary ’76, and Paul Zecchi ’70 and Patricia Kral Zecchi ’71.

“I am immensely proud to be part of a College family that steps up again and again to show their love and support for one of the best contemporary liberal arts colleges in the country,” said Mary Korn ’82, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “This campaign is an above-and-beyond success, and the Board is grateful to everyone who made this possible — and this includes the amazing Advancement team that Dr. Josh Jacobs leads. I also want to thank President Ruud for his tireless efforts to meet with alumni and other donors over the past seven years that led to multiple six- and seven-figure gifts.” 

Learn more about the This is the Time Comprehensive Campaign at