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Gift continues pioneering athletics legacy at ONU

Aug 2, 2016

Family members of former Ohio Northern University professor and women’s athletics pioneer Dr. Helen Spar Ludwig have made a $508,000 gift to support the scholarship fund that bears her name. James “Jim” Ludwig, Helen’s son, passed away in April 2015 and requested that the remaining value from the 2010 sale of his farm in Dola, Ohio, be directed to ONU.

Jim Ludwig’s brother Gary Ludwig, sister Jacqueline Sperling and sister-in-law Charolette Ludwig presented the gift to ONU President Daniel A. DiBiasio in June 2016 after the estate was finalized.

“The Ludwig name is held in the highest regard at Ohio Northern, and this gift is further evidence of the family’s devotion to education,” said DiBiasio. “It is fitting that the Helen Ludwig Scholarship will now be able to help even more students, because she helped so many throughout her illustrious career at Northern.”

A U.S. Air Force veteran, Jim Ludwig attended ONU in the late 1960s. Although he did not graduate, he remained a supporter of the University for the remainder of his life. He was proud of his mother’s accomplishments in bringing about gender equity in athletics. Gary Ludwig and Jacqueline (Ludwig) Sperling graduated from ONU in 1969 and 1971, respectively.

Helen Ludwig was a professor in the physical education department from 1963-84 and is considered to be one of the developers of women’s athletics at ONU. She also served as a coach, assistant athletic director and academic director of the physical education department, and she received regional and national recognition for her leadership.

The Helen A. Ludwig Scholarship is given annually to students in ONU’s Department of Human Performance and Sport Sciences who display scholastic achievement, leadership and personal character.

From left: Director of Athletics Tom Simmons, Jacqueline Sperling, Charolette Ludwig, Gary Ludwig, ONU President Daniel A. DiBiasio.