BOWLING GREEN — A gift of $15 million by longtime Lima residents Allen and Carol Schmidthorst will support academic programming and establish the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business at Bowling Green State University.
It is the single largest academic gift in the history of the school. It was announced on Friday via streaming services.
“It is an absolute honor to name Bowling Green State University’s business college for Al and Carol Schmidthorst in recognition of their extraordinary impact,” said BGSU President Rodney Rogers. “Business education has always been a hallmark of the university, and Al and Carol’s philanthropic support elevates our international business education reputation.”
The gift was called transformational, and Rogers considered it to be a potential catalyst for donations from other sources.
The naming of the college was unanimously approved at a special board of trustees meeting prior to the public announcement on Friday. It will be the first named college at BGSU.
“This gift will allow the college to expand programming for students from a variety of majors from across the university,” Rogers said.
Ohio native Allen Schmidthorst is an entrepreneur with investments in real estate, the hotel industry and more than 15 McDonald’s franchises in Ohio.
He grew up working on the family farm in the Cincinnati area and attended BGSU in the mid-1950s before starting his business career. He and his wife, Carol, own AWS Properties, a business that provides comprehensive services for office, retail and leisure properties.
“The decision was really easy to do and I hope it makes a huge difference in the future years and it was really nice to let me be a part of it,” Al Schmidthost said.
The Schmidthorst name can be seen on the Schmidthorst Pavilion that is part of the Stroh Center, located on East Wooster Street. It includes the Schmidthorst Heritage Hall featuring the Cochran Cunningham Athletic Archives, both located in the Stroh Center. They have also supported the WBGU-TV Public Broadcasting Fund and numerous other funds and scholarships at the university.
Allen Schmidthorst received an honorary doctorate of business administration from BGSU in 2017.
The gift will be used to provide endowed and current-use resources to educate and directly empower current and future students to become the next generation of business and community leaders. The gift will be used to:
• Support the academic programming in the Schmidthorst College of Business, enhancing current programs and advancing new and innovative programs in the future.
• Fund scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students seeking a business degree, and the retention of students demonstrating a high financial need.
• Provide endowment for professorships and academic program leaders, supporting recruitment and retention efforts to attract outstanding faculty in key disciplines and increase national recognition for BGSU’s business education programs.
BGSU’s business school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a recognition it has held since 1954, and offers 14 undergraduate business specializations and several graduate degree programs.
The announcement of the gift took place in the new Robert W. and Patricia A. Maurer Center, which will be home to the Schmidthorst College of Business. The Maurer Center is expected to have an official opening at the beginning of the fall semester.
The Maurer Center connects the iconic Hanna Hall with a 50,000-square-foot addition in the heart of the BGSU campus.
“This is a truly historic moment for business education at BGSU,” Rogers said. “The Schmidthorst gift allows us to fully leverage this magnificent facility, made possible through the generosity of Bob and Pat Maurer, and other significant donors. BGSU is committed to supporting each student in their business pursuits.”
The gift also pushes the BGSU Changing Lives for the World campaign beyond its goal of raising $200 million in private funds by the end of 2020.