Octogenarian Couple Reminisces about Meeting at Wilmington College
Wilmington College is joining organizations and higher education institutions from across the nation in observing Giving Tuesday, Nov. 29, when affinity groups are encouraged to financially support their favorite non-profit entities.
PICTURED: Mike and Ruth Podolin, who met at WC in 1955, are pictured at a College dance. The couple made a gift in recognition of the College’s paramount role in their 65 years of marriage.
The College set the ambitious goal of raising $100,000 in 24 hours. All gifts will benefit the Wilmington College student experience. Indeed, gifts will support people, living/learning environments and a sustainable future for the institution.
WC is promoting Giving Tuesday as “Giving Choose-Day” while asking alumni and friends to consider the question, “Why did you choose WC as the recipient of your Giving Tuesday gift?” They are encouraged to post their replies on social media along with the hashtag #WeAreDubC. Some of those testimonials already received include “best four years of my life,” “hands-on learning opportunities,” “I love the sense of community,” “outstanding faculty,” “Quaker values” and “It still feels like home.”
Rather than using social media to reply or the website for transferring their gift, 86-year-old Mike (Class of ’59) and Ruth (Byerly) ’59 Podolin chose to share their reason for supporting the College through a letter to WC in the U.S. Mail, which included a check for $1,000.
Mike noted that he initially met Ruth on the first day of classes in September 1955 in the cafeteria. She was an Oklahoman and he came to WC from New Jersey. Later that term, the couple kissed at The Campus Rock, then popularly known as “The Kissing Rock.” It held the legend that couples who first kiss at that campus location are destined to marry.
“We are very grateful to Wilmington College for our 65 years of marriage,” Mike wrote. Ruth added, “We always credit Wilmington College with allowing us to meet, and thus enable us to spend our lives together.”
She recalled sitting in Boyd Auditorium the first week of school and hearing Vernon Wills, dean of students, “humorously warn us to look around where we were sitting because the person in front of us, behind us or beside us could be our future spouse. We all snickered!” she added, but directly behind her was none other than Mike Podolin.
“We had met the day before in the cafeteria and there did seem to be an ‘interest’ — on both sides.” Mike eventually developed an affinity for veterinary medicine so, once the couple became engaged, they transferred to Oklahoma State University, where he earned his degree in veterinary medicine and she in elementary education.
Enjoying retirement, they now reside in New Jersey. The postcard reminding them of Giving Tuesday provided an opportunity for the couple to look back fondly upon their time at the College. “Wilmington College has played a meaningful part in our lives,” Ruth said. “May the College thrive and grow in the years ahead and nurture the many young lives that come under its care.”
Tuesday will be a day of emails, calls and social media posts from College officials and students asking alumni and friends to consider the meaning Wilmington College holds in their lives, how their education has impacted their quality of life and to, like the Podolins, think of those special people they met through WC who continue to resonate in their lives.
Gifts can easily be made online at <www.wilmington.edu/giving-tuesday> or by mailing a check noting “Giving Tuesday” on the memo line to: Wilmington College, Office of Advancement, 1870 Quaker Way, Wilmington, OH 45177.