Dear Marietta College Family,

From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Each and every one of you is simply amazing. The outpouring of support you have shown for the sisters of Alpha Xi Delta is beyond our expectations.

As many of you know, in the early evening of Tuesday, November 9th, the Marietta College campus was startled by the fire that caused serious damage at the Alpha Xi Delta house on Fifth Street. In those moments, all any of us could think about was making sure all 15 students and the house mother who lived in the home were safe.

As of today (November 19, 2021), we have received $71,516 from 677 donors to support the Alpha Xi Delta recovery effort. We did not waste any time providing financial support, and the College will continue to distribute funds to the impacted students over the next several months as they identify other expenses related to the tragedy.

We are pleased to report that the Alpha Xi Delta Housing Corporation Board is confident the beautiful and historic home can be saved, and the board is already speaking with contractors about renovating the house.

You will also be happy to know that the College is providing free housing in Marietta Hall for the students who were living in the house for the remainder of this semester.

I also want to thank the fire departments from Marietta, Reno, Devola, and Williamstown, who all responded to the call. They are a big reason why the Alpha Xi Delta house can be restored to its former glory. It is also important that you know how our students, employees, and community members rallied to help in multiple ways that evening and in the days that followed.

Here are some updates that should provide some context on all that is happening or has happened since last Tuesday:

  • The Marietta Fire Department and College Physical Plant facilitated the removal of the students’ belongings from the house on November 10th.
  • Many of the items were transported by the College to The Gathering Place for temporary storage.
  • The majority of the damage to personal property is smoke and water-related.
  • The damage is mostly in the rear of the house, and there is no damage to neighboring buildings.
  • The AXD Housing Corporation Board partnered with the Red Cross for emergency relief funds for residents (up to $515 per resident).
  • The College’s counseling team has worked with the sorority to speak with AXD members.
  • The Washington County Mental Health Board’s Crisis Response Team met with students last week.
  • The College’s Academic Affairs Office is working with faculty to ensure flexibility with coursework from students impacted by the fire.
  • The Ohio State Fire Marshal is investigating the source of the fire and has not ruled out arson.

When I speak with prospective students and their families there is one topic I always talk about: the special extended family you join when you become a Marietta College Pioneer. Once again, you have exemplified this point of pride.

Thank you again for showing such amazing support, and for reminding us what it means to Bring Forth a Pioneer.

With gratitude,

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management