A History of Giving​


In 1966, the Newark community embarked on a fundraising campaign to establish a permanent state-owned building for The Ohio State University’s Newark branch that would make available both day and evening classes for local students. More than 7,000 Licking County contributors pledged funds in excess of $1 million, far exceeding the local campaign goal of $625,000. Founders Hall was constructed as the first building on the Newark campus, and Central Ohio Technical College joined the campus as a co-located partner in 1971.

In the early 1980s, several Newark community members spearheaded a $2.5 million fundraising drive and founded the Newark Campus Development Fund (NCDF), a permanent, locally-controlled endowment to support COTC and Ohio State Newark. Because of extraordinarily generous donors, NCDF has been able to award millions of dollars in scholarships, grants, technology upgrades, and capital improvements to both COTC and Ohio State Newark.

In the late 1990s, more than $10 million was raised as part of the “Our Campus for Tomorrow Campaign” to fund a new technology center on the Newark campus. The John Gilbert Reese Center opened in 2003 and today stands as one of the most technologically advanced teaching and learning facilities in the region.

In 2010, J. Gilbert and Louella H. Reese established the first international cultural exchange program for COTC, giving students the opportunity to directly experience Italian life, language, and culture during a biannual trip to Reggello, Italy. Through the Reese’s generosity, the Italian Immersion Program allows for alternating exchanges of COTC students traveling to Italy and Italian students traveling to Licking County.

Also in 2010, Mr. and Mrs. Reese called the Newark and surrounding communities to action with a $10 million “Next Generation Challenge” to support the growth of endowed scholarships for students attending COTC and Ohio State Newark. The campaign achieved profound success through a tremendous outpouring of community generosity, surpassing the $20 million goal by nearly $1 million and making it the most successful fundraising effort in the history of the Newark campus.

In 2018, COTC created The 1971 Legacy Society to recognize alumni, faculty, staff, retirees and other friends who have named the college as the beneficiary of a planned gift. Through charitable bequests, retirement plan assets, and life insurance policies, planned giving donors have the opportunity to impact the colleges for generations to come and establish a legacy that will last an eternity.

The John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology, completed in 2021, occupies the southwest region of the campus’s academic core. The three-story, 60,000-square-foot building houses classrooms, science labs, research labs, student study areas, conference rooms and faculty offices to address both institutions’ growing need for additional laboratory, research, technology and student-centered space. Although COTC and Ohio State Newark will share all general classrooms, smart labs and common areas, each institution has its own dedicated space within the building. The Alford Center is a long-term investment in our region’s economy and will strengthen campus connections and collaborations with local business and industry to meet growing workforce needs. Construction of the Alford Center cost approximately $32 million. COTC and Ohio State Newark invested a combined $18 million, and 281 unique donors pledged nearly $14 million to support the construction of the building. Ohio State Newark and COTC recognize many business and community supporters, including Ariel Corporation, the Gilbert Reese Family Foundation, the LeFevre Foundation, the Newark Campus Development Fund, Park National Bank and its associates, and Licking Memorial Health Systems, among others for their support. The name of this state-of-the-art facility pays tribute to John and Mary Alford, who were unwavering supporters of COTC and Ohio State Newark for several decades. In recognition of their parents’ tremendous support of the local community and specifically the Newark campus, Ronald Alford and Barbara and Michael Cantlin pledged a generous lead gift of $2.5 million.