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Polar Bear Nation
The Polar Bear Nation Regional Challenge is dividing the nation into seven regions (plus international) in hopes that alumni will rally together to increase overall giving to The Northern Fund. Alumni participation is one of the key metrics used to determine where Ohio Northern University stands in the rankings. Not to mention, it shows how much you, as alumni, love your alma mater.
Any gift of any size will count in the Polar Bear Nation Regional Challenge. As Klondike travels to a new region each month, the standings for each region will be updated on the chart below. You will be able to see:
- The seven regions (plus international) competing in the Polar Bear Nation Regional Challenge
- Total number of alumni who reside in each region
- Total number of alumni who have participated in the challenged thus far
- Your region’s current overall participation rate
Alumni support in action
Meet Steven Cole!
Steven is a fourth-year pharmacy student from Fairport, N.Y. He represents the Northeast region in the Polar Bear Nation Regional Challenge.
When making his decision about where to attend college, Steven knew he wanted to focus on institutions that offered a 0-6 pharmacy program. “Being from a small town, I knew that I didn’t want to end up in a big city. I came to visit ONU and fell in love with the campus. As a scholarship recipient, I have been able to study pharmacy at the school of my dreams. Without alumni support, I would not have been able to attend ONU to pursue my career.”
Steven has seen firsthand the effect that alumni support has on the nationally ranked Raabe College of Pharmacy. “I really appreciate the facility that I get to study and learn in on a daily basis. Our lecture halls are amazing, and the overall learning environment for pharmacy students would be very different if not for our generous alumni community.”
A member of the ONU men’s choir, Colleges against Cancer, and American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (of which he is the president-elect), Steven has been very involved on campus since his freshman year. He also has spent his time as a representative with Polar Paws for a Northern Cause, which is the student philanthropy initiative at Northern.
“Through Polar Paws, I was able to educate other students on the importance of philanthropy and giving back to ONU. I talked with students about specific statistics regarding giving, and I collected small donations if they wished to give back. Even though I only gave a small gift to the University, it helped me show my appreciation and say ‘thanks’ to those alumni who support my education and the scholarships I receive.”
Polar Bear Nation Board Members
Region 1 Northeast: Jiv Subramaniam, BA ’00, and Tom Wiechart, BSPh ’81
Region 2 Mid-Atlantic: Andrea Maksim, BSPh ’99, Scott Greene, BSBA ’90, and Tom Galloway, BA ’71
Region 3 Southeast: Ed Gmyrek, BSEd ’65, and Stacia Wake, BSBA ’86
Region 4 Great Lakes: Rachel Kantosky, BS ’06, BM ’06, Rod Thompson, BA ’69, and Tiffanie Shanks, BA ’10
Region 5 America’s Heartland: Miranda Shaw, BSME ’03, Cameron Van Dyke, BSPh ’96, and Jim O’Donnell, JD ’66
Region 6 Mountain: Tonya Hunter, BS ’02, JD ’05, and Ken Hall, BSBA ’64
Region 7 Pacific Coast/Alaska and Hawaii: Bob Goldman, BSEd ’62, JD ’66, and Mark Gooden, BSEE ’95
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where do I go to give?
A: You can give to Polar Bear Nation here.
Q: How is Polar Nation Regional Challenge participation calculated?
A: Percentage of participation is calculated from each of the regions based on those who have given divided by the total amount of alumni who reside in each region.
Q: Do I have to give a gift to a specific area of Ohio Northern for it to be counted as part of the Polar Nation Regional Challenge?
A: Gifts to ALL areas of the University are counted toward the Polar Nation Regional Challenge.
Q: Do I need to use the online website for my gift to be considered part of the Polar Nation Regional Challenge?
A: No, if you make a gift through any direct mail appeal, over the phone through our student phonathon program, or on the University’s website, it will be counted as part of the Polar Nation Regional Challenge.
Q: Is there a minimum donation required for the Polar Nation Regional Challenge?
A: The focus of the Polar Nation Regional Challenge is increasing alumni participation, so there is no minimum donation. All gifts, of any size, are counted toward the Polar Nation Regional Challenge.
Meet Zaji Lieberman, a junior risk management and insurance major representing the Pacific Coast.
“Without alumni support, many students, including myself, wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to a school like Ohio Northern. I am from San Francisco, Calif., and looked at many schools before choosing ONU. Northern allows students to be part of a great community while receiving an even better education. I receive a merit-based scholarship and have been on the Dean’s List for the past year. It really keeps me motivated!”
“Alumni giving allows students to attend conferences and gives us the opportunity to compete on national levels while showcasing Ohio Northern. I’m treasurer of ONU’s Model United Nations delegation, and our group travels to New York City to compete in the National Model United Nations conference – the largest university-level simulation of the United Nations. I also will be able to travel to Las Vegas to compete with the Society for the Advancement of Management.”
Meet Taylor Reed a fifth-year pharmacy student from Springdale, Ark., who represents America’s Heartland in the Polar Bear Nation Regional Challenge.
Taylor knew early on that he was interested in pursuing a pharmacy degree, and a family friend (who also happened to be an ONU alumnus) recommended Northern and set up a campus visit. Taylor stepped on campus and was greeted by name at Weber Hall, a personal touch that really made a difference. Taylor met with professors, spoke of career goals and family, and left Ohio Northern knowing that it was the right choice for him.
“Without scholarships, coming to Northern wouldn’t have been on the table. It was contingent on scholarships,” Taylor says. “Without alumni support, I would have needed a different plan. Alumni have enabled me to be here. Alumni support has opened doors for me that I would never have thought to look for!”
Taylor is involved in a variety in clubs and activities on campus: a member of president’s club, past vice president of student senate, a residence life senior resident assistant, and the legislative advocacy chair of the NCPA, to name a few. Through these experiences, Taylor has met great friends and mentors and has had outstanding leadership opportunities.
What Taylor didn’t expect when coming to Northern was the overwhelming alumni support base. “Alumni come back and share their time, talent and treasure. The tradition is much greater than myself.
It’s about keeping the tradition going and creating a strong future and investing in tomorrow. Only our alumni can appreciate what a great, family-oriented place Northern really is. When you are a part of it, you can really appreciate it. It’s all about paying it forward. My experience wouldn’t have been possible without alumni donors; the scholarships dollars are very meaningful. Giving back would allow someone the same opportunities I have had.”
Meet Kylee Barnett, a sophomore nursing major from Bluffton, Ohio (representing the Great Lakes Region). She chose Ohio Northern because of its size and tight-knit community.
In her second year, academics are very important to her. “I receive an academic scholarship that pushes me to keep a high GPA to stay in my program. Class sizes are small, and professors go out of their way to help me as much as they can. If I didn’t have this scholarship, I wouldn’t be able to attend a school like Ohio Northern. Without alumni support, many students couldn’t afford ONU,” explains Kylee, who plans to become a nurse anesthetist after graduation.
Kylee is involved in many activities outside the classroom; she coaches soccer and plays affinity dodgeball. But she also understands the importance of philanthropy. Kylee gives her time to the Ada community through Habitat for Humanity, which is her favorite activity at Ohio Northern. In late summer, Kylee, along with 60 other students, cleaned out local houses and the bowling alley. They even built a house in Ada from the ground up!
Meet Richard Miller, a second-year computer engineering major from Pittsburgh, Pa., representing the Mid-Atlantic region.
Richard is truly grateful for the scholarships that he receives from Ohio Northern University and says that he wouldn't have been able to attend Northern without them. "My scholarships not only made it more affordable for my family and me, but also made ONU a more appealing choice even though it was further from home than other schools I looked at. I spent an entire week at ONU touring the campus and meeting with professors. My professors felt like family, and the small-town atmosphere made Ada feel like a home away from home. That experience, along with my financial aid package, set ONU apart from school and really sealed the deal for me on why Northern was the best fit for me."
Richard also works at the phonathon on campus, where he makes calls to alumni to ask for monetary support for ONU. Richard enjoys phonathon and the daily insight of past alumni who share their wonderful memories of Northern and their success stories after graduation.