Ohio Wesleyan University Trustee Thomas W. Palmer, Class of 1969, and his wife, Susan Palmer, are contributing an additional $1 million to the university to create a $2 million endowment for the OWU Global Scholars Program.
The couple’s latest gift, combined with an additional $1 million in contributions made since 2014, creates The Thomas W. Palmer ’69 and Susan Palmer Global Scholars Program, fully endowing a program created in 2017 as part of Ohio Wesleyan’s Global Studies Institute.
The institute brings together faculty and students from the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and fine arts to explore issues from all academic disciplines and work toward real-world solutions. Each fall, a dozen or more incoming students are invited to become Global Scholars in recognition of their passion for international issues and potential for high academic achievement.
“Susan and Tom Palmer’s incredibly generous endowment ensures that the Global Scholars Program will exist to benefit future generations of Ohio Wesleyan students, many of whom would not be able to study abroad if it were not for the associated stipends,” said program director Jeremy Baskes, Ph.D. “Innovative programs at OWU are deeply dependent on the generosity of donors such as the Palmers. Ohio Wesleyan, and specifically the Global Scholars Program, is exceedingly lucky to have such committed and caring benefactors.”
Baskes, also an OWU professor of history, said as juniors or seniors, Global Scholars receive a $4,000 university grant to pursue an approved international research or study project of their choice.
“Few opportunities in college are as positive and transformative as studying abroad,” Baskes said. “The Global Scholars Program prepares students to make the most of their time abroad and forces them to make connections between their chosen areas of study and the broader world.”
As seniors, he said, Global Scholars also complete a faculty-supervised thesis or capstone project, which they present in a year-end conference. In addition, they are required to take four semesters of foreign language – a full year more than required of other students. Students who successfully complete the Global Scholars Program graduate with a Global Studies Institute certificate noted on their transcript.
The Palmers, longtime residents of Toledo, said they decided to endow Ohio Wesleyan’s Global Scholars Program because of the impact of Tom’s time at the university along with their appreciation of the importance of international experiences and understanding.
“We welcome this opportunity to support the initiative and creativity of faculty and students engaged in the Global Scholars Program,” the Palmers said. “This program not only enables experiences of global connection for those directly involved but also for others in sharing interaction. In this, OWU continues to differentiate itself as a university dynamic in affording distinctive learning opportunities.”
At Ohio Wesleyan, Tom Palmer majored in economics, graduated magna cum laude, and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also was a member of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. A current at-large member of the OWU Board of Trustees, he serves as vice chair of University Advancement Committee and a member of both the Student Engagement and Success Committee and the Honorary Degrees Committee.
Palmer has practiced law for more than 45 years with Marshall & Melhorn, LLC, where he is a former managing partner and current senior member of the firm’s litigation and business groups. Susan Palmer is a former educator and development director for the Toledo Museum of Art, where she still serves on the Board of Trustees. She is a former trustee of the University of Toledo, her alma mater.
Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones said the couple’s support of the Global Scholars Program through the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow comprehensive campaign helps the university better support the student experience and fulfill its mission of creating moral leaders for the global society.
“We are grateful for Tom and Susan Palmer, their visionary gift, and their continuing work on behalf of our Campaign Leadership Committee,” said Rock Jones, Ph.D. “As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, Ohio Wesleyan wants to ensure that our graduates are prepared to be active and engaged global citizens and leaders. Tom and Susan’s support helps us to achieve this important mission. We look forward to witnessing the positive impact the Palmer Global Scholars have on the world.”
In addition to benefitting the student experience, the Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign also is supporting The OWU Connection, faculty development, and efforts to maintain and improve the OWU campus, including an ongoing $60 million residential renewal project. Launched in 2014, the campaign already has raised nearly $210 million. Learn more about the campaign and its priorities at www.owu.edu/campaign.
Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Global Scholars Institute and The Thomas W. Palmer ’69 and Susan Palmer Global Scholars Program at www.owu.edu/globalscholars.