Dear Marietta College Family,

With the start of the holiday season upon us, I want to extend my fondest wishes to you and your loved ones that the coming weeks will be filled with an abundance of memorable experiences.

Thanksgiving offers a special opportunity to contemplate our blessings and recommit ourselves to using our talents to improve our broader society and our world. Every year, I share with you some of the reasons why I am thankful for the opportunities that I have been blessed with at Marietta College. It is truly a privilege to work alongside each of you as we strive to make the College, the community and the world a better place.

Over the past 12 months, we have experienced enrollment growth and dramatically improved student retention rates, while also adding talented world-class faculty in areas that needed additional resources. Marietta’s diverse student body is working hard in the classroom, and that work is paying off as they make positive impressions through scholarly competitions and professional internships across the nation. Outside of the classroom, our students benefit from prospering fraternities and sororities, as well as new and established clubs and organizations that add a richness to their lives at Marietta — memories that will be cherished for many years to come.

I applaud our student-athletes who are achieving greatness both in the classroom and on the fields, courts and rivers. The men’s soccer team advanced to the Ohio Athletic Conference semifinals this fall, while the men’s basketball team earned its fifth consecutive conference title last spring. In the spring, we also completed our first season of women’s lacrosse and the men’s program returned after a long hiatus.

Our more experienced professors continue to perform at levels that outpace faculty at much larger, more renown universities. The success of our recent graduates in finding employment or gaining acceptance to prestigious graduate programs is a direct reflection of how well prepared they are upon graduation from Marietta.

This fall, we welcomed Signal Mountain, Tennessee-native Rebecca Guhde ’23 to campus. She is the first recipient of the Virginia McCoy Scholarship, which covers tuition, room and board and any additional fees during her four years. She is an outstanding addition to the Pioneer family.

I am also thankful that we are providing first-class facilities that give us a competitive advantage. Our most recent facility upgrade, the newly renamed Don and Sue Schaly Field at Pioneer Park, would not have been possible without the generous support of Hap and Meg Esbenshade, Sue Schaly ’62, James E. Tracy ’78 and his wife, Debra, Life Associate Trustee Tom Carbonar ’60, Trustee James Fryfogle ’73 and his wife, Wendy Keck Fryfogle ’75, Dave Conley ’93 and Joseph Freddoso ’83.

And clearly I cannot overlook the most recent contribution made by Jeff Hugel ’77, a former Pioneer rower and coach, who has agreed to donate $253,000 a year for the rest of his life to Marietta College rowing, and another $3,000,000  in his estate plan. We have some amazing alumni and supporters. It truly is a great time to be a Pioneer.

In January, we will conduct our second annual MLK Day of Service, and this year we were fortunate enough to receive a $15,500 grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to help offset the costs. I expect hundreds of students and employees will be there to make sure it is not a day off, but a Day On and a wonderful day of service.

Within the Marietta family, I want to offer thanks for the incredible blessings and privileges we are given each day. I am particularly grateful for the hard work of our faculty and staff, whose dedication to the College and students makes our lofty goals a reality each day. I wholly appreciate our students, who are committed to learning and developing the skills that are needed to blaze new trails and to ensure there are better paths to success for others — that is what we mean when we say, “Bring Forth a Pioneer!”

Lastly, we could not do what we do at Marietta without the humbling generosity of our alumnae and alumni, trustees, dedicated friends and the great residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley in Washington County Ohio and Wood County West Virginia. Together, we will continue to make Marietta College a crucial economic driver in this region and an agent of change for society as a whole. Thank you for all you do to make Marietta College shine bright.

Thank you and have a happy and safe holiday season.

Bring Forth a Pioneer,

Bill Ruud
President and Professor of Management