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In late summer 1963, Janet Burkel Poet ’67 arrived on campus as a bright-eyed freshman who would soon begin her lifelong connection to her alma mater.

Interestingly enough, that connection was made possible by unknown alumni who found it within their means to donate to student scholarships — one of which Janet had earned.

“I received a scholarship when I attended Marietta College, and looking back, it was very small but it meant a lot to my parents and me,” Janet says. “They didn’t have a lot of money and it meant a great deal to them, and I just wanted to give back to Marietta College for that.”

This spring, Janet became the longest consecutive donor currently on record at Marietta College. Since 1969, she has been donating to the causes, students and programs she believes in at Marietta. Her dedication to the College inspired a phone call from Marietta College President Bill Ruud, as well as a recent visit to her home in Connecticut, during which time Kathryn Gloor, Senior Director of Annual Giving, presented Janet with historic photos and handwritten notes from current students, faculty and staff expressing their gratitude for her loyalty to Marietta. During that visit, Trustee Patti Zecchi ’71 honored her service on behalf of the College with a commemorative crystal award.

Amisha Herd ’18, who recently joined the College as an Admission Counselor, was one of the people who wrote a personal note to Janet. As a student, Amisha was deeply involved in many aspects of campus life and played for the women’s basketball team. In her new role, she strives to recruit future members of The Long Blue Line.

“Essentially I just wanted to express my gratitude to Janet for all she has contributed to Marietta College over the years,” Amisha says. “It is great to see that Marietta has alumnae such as Janet who make such an impact behind the scenes. So I wanted to show my appreciation even if it was just through a single note. Personally, I believe it is astounding that she has been able to give back so much to her alma mater. I mentioned in the note how thankful we were for her contribution, and how one day I hope that I am able to give back at least a fraction in comparison.”

Janet credits her late husband, Raymond Poet ’66, as the driving force behind their many years of supporting Marietta. He donated to Marietta College for 48 consecutive years and even established a scholarship at a local high school in Portland, Connecticut, that Janet still contributes to.

“Education is very important to both of us,” Janet says. “He just felt that education was valuable, and we should give all the help that we can to students.”

Both Janet and Raymond made their first gift to Marietta College in 1967, the year Janet graduated.

“We have over 1,000 members of The Sinclair Society, those loyal members of The Long Blue Line who have given for three or more consecutive years,” Gloor says. “Yet just a handful have given for decades, without missing a single academic year, and we’re so excited to celebrate Jan as the first Sinclair Society member to hit this important milestone.”

Janet says the recent visit from the College was generous and enjoyable.

“While the award was nice, the handwritten notes and pictures were the best. My favorites were messages from students talking about the financial aid they received at Marietta. There was one from a young woman who said that when she told her mother she wanted to attend Marietta College, her mother said they couldn’t afford it, but through financial help she was able to.”

Each year, The Marietta Fund supports every aspect of the College — from student aid and student life to academics and athletics. Currently, 97 percent of students who attend Marietta College receive financial aid.

“I would encourage alumni to be thankful for what they got out of college and where they are in life now and to give back to other students,” Janet says.

Learn more about The Marietta Fund and other ways to support today’s Pioneers by visiting

- Claire Berlin