COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A $500,000 gift from Dorothy Teater and her four sons to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences will help both natural resources students and in-career professionals.
The gift from Mrs. Teater, a retired Franklin County Commission member, and four sons establishes the Dr. Robert W. Teater Endowed Fund (#482635), named after her late husband, a director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for eight years. Before that, he had been director of Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. SENR is part of CFAES.
The endowed fund will provide scholarships to natural resources professionals or other mid-career students in that field of study. Furthermore, it will provide program support for undergraduate and graduate interns working on projects in partnership with natural resources professionals. Also, it will support SENR professional development outreach and educational programming for natural resources professionals.
The sale of the family’s farmland in southwestern Franklin County led to the donation, Mrs. Teater said recently. The new owners who purchased the property plan to continue to farm there.
“The sale of that farmland will have a lasting impact on students in the School of Environment and Natural Resources,” said Bruce McPheron, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES. “Hopefully, Dorothy Teater’s generosity will inspire others who see the value in our college and in the profession.”
Especially gratifying is that the donation honors one of the state’s premier natural resources professionals, said Jeff Sharp, SENR director and professor.
“Bob Teater has had an incredible impact on the nature of conservation in the state. It will be great for us to honor that legacy through this contribution. Our hope is that we will be able to continue, expand or even enhance the programming that we provide to professionals and students alike,” Sharp said.
As her husband’s entire career had revolved around the field of natural resources, Mrs. Teater wanted to make sure that professionals along with students saw benefit from the donation, she said. “It’s important to me because there is so much changing in our world that the professionals need to keep up with.”
She also wanted internships included in the endowment because of her own valuable experience as a student teacher, Mrs. Teater said.
The Columbus couple devoted most of their adult lives to public service or education. “We were both very busy, but we always had great conversations when we had dinner together,” she said.
Dorothy Teater taught briefly, then took an outreach position in the city of Columbus Office of Consumer Affairs under then-mayor Tom Moody. She later was a member of Columbus City Council. From 1985 to 2000, she served as a Franklin County commissioner, becoming the first woman elected to that position.
Bob Teater, who died in 2013 of Parkinson’s disease at age 86, had served as associate dean of Ohio State’s College of Agriculture (now CFAES) and director of the School of Natural Resources (now SENR) from 1969 to 1975. He later served as director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He founded a natural resources consulting firm and was one of the founders of The Wilds animal preserve in Muskingum County. In addition, he served 12 years on the Columbus Board of Education.
More information about this gift and others to CFAES can be found at cfaes.osu.edu/development.