In the six decades since he graduated, Ronald “Ron” Woofter, BA ’61, has watched Ohio Northern University’s campus expand and improve. He credits ONU’s loyal alumni—of which he’s one—for the growth.
Woofter recently decided to take his steadfast support of his alma mater one step further. As part of ONU’s Forward Together campaign, he set up a charitable gift annuity to fund an endowed scholarship in honor of his parents. The Stanley L. and Grace Crow Woofter Endowed Scholarship ensures the vibrancy of ONU’s campus by providing scholarships to deserving students.
“I have been modestly involved at ONU over the years to help repay the benefits I received as a student,” said Woofter. “It is now my time to make a more significant contribution to ONU. I can do it by establishing a scholarship that will not only benefit ONU students, but also honor my parents who have done so much for me.”
The Forward Together campaign seeks to build a bright future for ONU by raising $100 million for student scholarships, teaching and learning excellence, facilities, and the Northern Fund.
According to Shannon Spencer, vice president for university advancement, Woofter’s gift is an example of how one gift can serve many purposes. “Ron has been a committed supporter of ONU for many years, and we are incredibly grateful,” she said. “By establishing this charitable gift annuity, Ron is ensured an income stream for the remainder of his life, and he’s leaving a legacy that honors his wonderful parents and supports the University he cares deeply about.”
Woofter is the epitome of a well-rounded professional. Well-read, creative and philanthropic, he’s thrived in multiple areas and taken his well-earned success and poured it right back into the things he cares about most.
He graduated from ONU with a bachelor’s degree in English in 1961. While at ONU, he lettered in track as a distance runner, served on the Student Senate, and was editor of the Northern Review.
ONU’s campus today bears little resemblance to ONU circa 1960, said Woofter. “When I started at ONU, there wasn’t any University housing for men. They built Lima Hall, the first men’s dormitory, during my sophomore year.”
The quality of the faculty, however, hasn’t changed, he added, recalling several professors who touched his life with their humor and exceptional teaching.
After graduating from ONU, Woofter taught school for three years, then entered the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam. He left the service with the rank of Army captain.
Ron was president of the Luckey Oil Equipment Company, which he purchased in 1982. He operated the family business until his retirement in 2013. He received his master’s degree from Bowling Green State University, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from ONU. He also served as president of ONU’s Alumni Board from 1984-86.
His generous spirit has manifested itself in several ways, including continual involvement with his church. He also helped sponsor two Vietnamese refugees until they reached adulthood, and he housed a teenager whose domestic situation required him to be away from family.
Since 1987, Woofter has donated to ONU each year. In addition to the scholarship for his parents, he spearheaded the Class of 1961 scholarship, and set up an additional scholarship in his name. Woofter is a Life Member of the H.S. Lehr Society, ONU’s top giving society.
These days, Woofter enjoys wintering in Florida each year. He keeps busy walking, reading, playing piano, bicycling, and swimming. He also plays bridge several times a week, and became a Gold Life Master.
Woofter says his involvement with his alma mater over the decades has made ONU more special to him. “I want to encourage others to give back to ONU,” he says. “What you pass on, and what you do for others—that’s what is important in life.”