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Philanthropists, volunteers recognized by MVNU

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Donors and friends were honored by Mount Vernon Nazarene University during the annual Donor Recognition Luncheon on March 30, 2019, in Ariel Arena’s Foster Hall.

“It’s my privilege to extend a huge thank you to everyone in this room,” said James Smith, Vice President for University Relations. “I have been so looking forward to this day because it’s a great opportunity for us to catch-up and for MVNU to thank you for all you’ve done to enrich the life of our University and our incredible students. Without you, it would be very difficult to fulfill the mission and vision of our University.”

Several donors were honored throughout the luncheon for their contributions to scholarships, annual giving and specific fund-raising campaigns.

The Knox County Foundation was presented the Exemplary Foundation Award for decades of support to MVNU’s growth on campus and into the Mount Vernon community.

“The Knox County Foundation has been a major contributor to MVNU throughout our existence,” said Justin Nowicki, Director of Development. “Through the generosity of their donors, the foundation has supported various causes including the R.R. Hodges Chapel/Auditorium, Thorne Library and Learning Resource Center, the Prince Student Union, the Buchwald Center, Hunter Hall, and most recently the Soccer and Lacrosse Complex.”

Brandon Blackford of Maineville, Ohio, was recognized as the New Generation Alumni Philanthropist.

“Brandon is a financial advisor with Edward Jones,” said Nowicki. “Brandon and I are both 2011 graduates of MVNU. We share some wonderful memories of life on campus, including living in Oakwood. We are grateful for the example of generosity that he has provided for our young alumni.”

The Volunteer Service Award was presented to Robert Wilson, of Pickerington, Ohio, for his continued efforts to invest in the class of 1972 as its Class Representative, but also for his ability to reach out to other alumni and spread his enthusiasm for the future of MVNU.

“Bob has been a consistent and reliable leader who engages his class as one of our strongest class representatives,” said Travis Keller, Director of Alumni Relations. “Bob has expanded his leadership to utilize the connections and network of other classmates and the 1972 graduating class has had the highest turnout for class reunions. Bob’s support of the university expands beyond his own giving as he encourages his fellow alumni to be a part of the future of MVNU.”

Dr. and Mrs. John (’93) and Amy Keyser (’95), of New Albany, Ohio, were tapped as Outstanding Philanthropic Alumni for their establishment of two endowed scholarships.

"John is an assistant professor of accountancy at Case Western Reserve University. Amy is a math teacher at Ohio Connections Academy. Together, they have established the James and Ruby Davidson endowed scholarship, as well as the Keyser Family Endowed Scholarship,” said Keller. "The time and resources they have given back to their alma mater continue to provide immeasurable value for our students.”

Gambier resident Ted Schnormeier was granted the Distinguished Philanthropist Award for his continued contributions to MVNU.

“This award is for individuals who have made a significant impact that will provide lasting effects for the students who attend MVNU,” said Smith. “Mount Vernon Nazarene University and the city of Mount Vernon would not be the same without the philanthropic efforts of Ted and his late wife, Ann. The Schnormeiers have been a major force behind numerous projects including Ariel-Foundation Park, and here at MVNU, the Buchwald Center and its beautiful Schnormeier Gallery. He also helped with design on campus projects including MVNU’s main entrance on Martinsburg Road.

Students receiving scholarships are also invited to attend the luncheon as it provides many of them the occasion to meet and converse with those providing scholarship funds.

“It is important that we have the opportunity to honor our donors, have them on campus, and introduce those who have benefited from the scholarship provided by our donors,” said MVNU President, Dr. Henry W. Spaulding II. “The luncheon offers the opportunity for our donors to put a face on the scholarship recipient. The greatest impact comes from the ability to say, ‘Thank you.’”

To support MVNU scholarships, or for more information on financial contributions, visit

To view photos of the event, click here.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students, and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 31 states and 22 countries/U.S. territories.