Photo of Tom and Phyllis Gossel

It was over 60 years ago and tuition was just $260 a quarter, but Tom, BSPh ’63, Hon.D. ’17, and Phyllis (Black) Gossel, BSEd ’63, haven’t forgotten the struggle to make each payment.

Because they experienced it firsthand, they sympathize with students today who are trying to excel academically while worrying about finances. “And we want to help,” says Phyllis. “Yes, we want to help in whatever way we can,” adds Tom. 

That’s why the Gossels have contributed to Ohio Northern University’s Forward Together campaign, which aims to raise $100 million, half of which ($50 million) will be dedicated to student scholarships.

The ONU community is composed of many kind, supportive and genuine people, but perhaps none more so than the Gossels. The couple made Ada their home in 1972, and for five decades, ONU and countless students have been on the receiving end of their boundless generosity.

Their love story started at ONU. They shared two classes together during their freshman year in 1959, and they admit that their minds were frequently on topics unrelated to that which the teachers were presenting. They married between their junior and senior year, and after they both graduated in 1963, Tom with his pharmacy degree and Phyllis with her education degree, they moved to Lancaster, Ohio.

While working as a community pharmacist for the next five years, Tom, however, longed to continue his pharmacy studies and teach, just like the supportive professors who greatly influenced him at ONU. After receiving his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Purdue University, he joined the faculty in the Raabe College of Pharmacy. 

For the next 30 years, Tom taught courses in pharmacology, toxicology, and pathology, rising through the ranks to become full professor of pharmacology. He served as chair of two departments, associate dean, and then dean of the Raabe College of Pharmacy from 1994-99. When he retired in 2002, he was awarded the title of professor of pharmacology, emeritus. Since then, he was recognized as a distinguished alumnus by ONU and distinguished alumnus by Purdue University. He was also awarded an honorary doctor of pharmacy degree by ONU.

Early in his career, Tom began developing and delivering continuing education courses for pharmacists and nurses, and his contributions in this area are perhaps unsurpassed by anyone in the country. He has delivered 1,327 professional talks and seminars in 47 states, several European countries, and Jamaica, and he has written and published 738 articles in a variety of professional journals, three book chapters and seven books. The books include a textbook of Toxicology, used by Pharmacy students across the country, and a comprehensive history of the Raabe College of Pharmacy.

In addition to being a full-time mom to the couple’s three children, Phyllis served as a bookkeeper for local business establishments, secretary of the First Presbyterian Church in Ada, and advisor to her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. 

This summer, the Gossels celebrated 60 years of marriage. Their three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren are the delights of their life. The Gossels are strong believers in God’s presence and both actively serve God as ordained elders in their church.

The Gossels have shared the best of themselves with ONU for five decades, and contributed financially to the institution, including establishing the Thomas A. and Phyllis J. Gossel Scholarship for pharmacy students in 1991. 

Tom once said, “Phyllis and I decided early on to make our life here at ONU. And we have never – not even for one minute – wished to live anywhere else.”