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Shaping the Future

Craig and Kay Pierson gift will impact future engineering students.

In keeping with the spirit of a capital campaign at his alma mater, Craig O. Pierson, BSME '78, and his wife, Kay, of Bowling Green, Ohio, have made an impact on future students at Ohio Northern University and his profession through a recent lead gift to the University’s “Campaign for Engineering: Building Impact at ONU,” an endeavor to fund a new building for the T.J. Smull College of Engineering.

The proposed 105,000-square-foot facility will be nearly twice the size of the current 55,000-square-foot Biggs Engineering Building and will feature space for collaboration, class projects and community-building, helping ONU remain on the cutting edge of educating engineers who make a difference. To date, a total of $12 million has been committed toward the total fund-raising goal of $15 million for the building.

Pierson, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio Northern in 1978, has used his ONU educational experience to make a mark in his profession. He joined Marathon Pipe Line Company as a pipeline engineer in June 1978 and steadily advanced within the company. In May 2011, Pierson assumed the position of president of Marathon Pipe Line LLC. He also was vice president of operations for MPLX GP LLC. Pierson has served on the board of the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, and has been an owner representative for Marathon’s interest in Capline; both entities are significant parts of the nation’s crude oil infrastructure. In addition, he has served as an industry representative on the Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Technical Advisory Committee, which advises the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration on regulatory matters.

Pierson’s recent gift is largely motivated by his affinity for ONU and his desire to ensure that future students receive the same high-quality educational experience that has served him well.

ONU led me to a successful career, which has helped shape our family for decades,” he said. “The close, personal relationships that are established between the academic staff and the students make the ONU education experience special. Those relationships are likely more influential than the education itself.

The new facility that is supported by Pierson’s gift will continue the legacy of high-impact learning and student-faculty collaboration that distinguishes ONU.

“ONU is proud of Craig Pierson’s professional achievements and grateful for the Pierson family’s leadership and generosity to our students,” said vice president for university advancement Shannon Spencer. “Just as the present facility enabled the success of students like Craig, the new facility will enable the College of Engineering to grow and flourish.”

“The modernization of the facility will be the most exciting aspect,” Pierson added. “The student experience will be even more special, and the technology in the labs will allow for a richer learning experience.”

ONU’s T.J. Smull College of Engineering continues to prove itself as one of the finest engineering programs in the nation. In its 2017 Best Colleges rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks the College of Engineering 31st nationally among programs that offer the bachelor’s or master’s as the highest degree. ONU’s ranking is especially notable as the college continues to advance after being ranked 39th nationally among similar programs the year before. This is the ninth time in the last 10 years that ONU’s College of Engineering has been ranked as a top-50 program.