Skip to main content
Gateway to Marietta Fields

When you find a place that makes you feel at home, you’ll do your best to make sure it receives the love and care it deserves long after you are gone. For Charlene Samples ’77, Marietta College is that place.

Coming from Hershey, Pennsylvania, Charlene first fell in love with Marietta while making a college visit with her mother.

“When we got to Marietta, I loved the look of the campus. The people that we met were wonderfully friendly and approachable. There was a strong English Department, and I was passionate about literature, writing, and the critical thinking that comes from exploring different prose and poetry.”

Her liberal arts education allowed her to thrive in both the corporate and financial worlds. Her career began at Procter and Gamble, whose chairman at the time was Marietta College Board Chair Edward G. Harness ’40. He made sure P&G interviewed graduating MC seniors each year, and Charlene was one of five in 1977 who earned positions with the corporation.

Charlene Samples headshot“I worked in sales, which led to roles in marketing, and then I closed out my career in banking,” Charlene said. “Most of my career, I was helping people solve problems, quite often problems they maybe didn’t even know they had. Once you identified a solution, it was easy to go find customers experiencing that problem and who would be interested in your solution.”

Throughout her adult life, Charlene has been intentional with her support.

“Because I developed such a fondness and connection to Marietta, and because I understood from the get-go that Marietta is a private school that doesn’t get state funding, I wanted to support the College as much as I could,” Charlene said. “I can’t tell you how, but I also understood as a graduating senior that it was important to give back to my Alma Mater. So, I’ve done that virtually every year since I graduated.”

Initially, she supported mostly restricted funds, such as supporting the renovation of Andrews Hall, and eventually endowed the Charlene Samples Creative Writing Scholarship. She and her partner, Donald West ’01 — a former Assistant Director of Annual Giving at Marietta — helped fund a project that erected the gateway to the College by the Soccer Complex.

“Early on, I realized the need to prioritize my charitable giving, and in thinking about what charitable missions matter to me and where my gifts can make a difference, Marietta rose to the top of my list,” Charlene said. “With gifts to Marietta, you can both make an impact and see your gifts at work.”

Charlene, a Trustee Emerita who served on the Board from 2002 to 2012, also wanted her legacy to extend beyond the here and now. She established a charitable gift annuity, and she and Donald have included Marietta in their estate plan.

“Marietta has been my number one charitable priority all this time, so why wouldn’t I leave what I hope will be a meaningful gift to the College? It was really sort of a no-brainer. Most of us want to leave something lasting after us that can help other people. So, in my case, setting up a CGA and leaving financial contributions to Marietta are ways to do all of that. It's quite simple and easy to do but makes a huge difference.”

Her generosity toward Marietta has brought her the satisfaction of seeing the students she impacts today — including scholarship winners who have sought her out to thank her for supporting their academic careers — while knowing that her estate will continue to affect the lives of tomorrow’s students.

“At Marietta, you can see the difference, you can hear from the people who are benefiting now, and although you can’t hear from those who will benefit from your estate gift in the future, you’ll have an idea what their ‘Thank yous’ would sound like, too. It’s a very tangible impact.”

If you would like to learn more about Gift Planning at Marietta College, please visit or contact Bethany Leslie, Director of Major Gifts, at (740) 376-4402 or