Commitment to Future Buckeyes
By Matt Marx
Every student who walks into Daryl Faustini’s AP Biology class quickly learns that only one university matters.
Photographs of the `Shoe, Wexner Medical Center, Ohio Union and other iconic campus locations cover a scarlet-and-gray-painted wall in his high school classroom in Maryland.
“For those kids that were looking for advice, I would say, `Please let me know when you go on your college visit if the other schools can check off all these boxes,’” said Daryl, who along with his wife, Connie Faustini, has made a gift to The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. “I was the ambassador to Ohio State for many years.”
No one at Westlake High School in Waldorf, Md. remembers any graduates attending Ohio State before 10 years ago, when Daryl retired from his private-sector career as a senior research scientist and began teaching there.
Since then, Westlake has sent 23 students to Ohio State. Among them was Christina Manning, a track and field star who was enshrined into Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame last fall.
And when they introduced Manning and other inductees during the 2017 Homecoming game, Daryl and Connie happened to witness it from the stands.
It would be more surprising if the Faustini’s hadn’t been there, considering that they make the eight-hour drive from Maryland to Columbus for every Buckeye home game. They look at it as a chance to spend time together.
“Some people play golf, or go on crazy vacations,” Daryl said. “When we come in on I-70 and we see the Columbus horizon, I just know I’m home.”
Both first-generation college students, they met while they were studying entomology in graduate school at Ohio State.
Connie, from St. Alban, W.Va., was finishing her bachelor’s degree in biology at Glenville State University in West Virginia when a zoology professor encouraged her to go to graduate school. She received a full scholarship to attend Ohio State and earn her master’s degree.
Daryl was the youngest of nine children, born in Cleveland but raised in southern California, occasionally seeing the Buckeyes play football on TV. After earning his bachelor of science in biology and master’s degree from California State University, San Bernardino, “there wasn’t any question” that he wanted to attend Ohio State for his doctorate.
The couple’s commitment to the university will continue through an estate gift that creates three CFAES funds:
- The Daryl and Connie Faustini Endowed Professorship in Entomology
- The Daryl and Connie Faustini Study Abroad Scholarship Fund
- The Daryl and Connie Faustini Experiential Learning Fund in the School of Environmental and Natural Resources
They like that their gift, through the endowed professorship, will help to attract and retain top entomology faculty, as they know the impact a great instructor can have on students.
Connie Faustini remembers the assistance she received after graduation from Prof. W.J. Collins, from whom she had taken a course in human health toxicology. Like many graduates, she found herself at a job that required a specialty outside her major.
Connie needed assistance in reading complicated gas chromatograph, which helps analyze pesticide concentrations.
“I called Dr. Collins to help me. He took the time to do things that he didn’t have to do. He cared,” she said. “His teaching went beyond the school.”
The study abroad scholarship that they will create is inspired in part by their travels when Daryl worked abroad during his career at Altria Group, Inc. He went to Africa, Asia, Australia, Central and South America, and Europe. His favorite stops were Italy and Argentina. Connie occasionally went along, and a trip to Ecuador was memorable. “It’s a culture shock. We straddled the equator,” she said.
The fund that will enhance experiential learning provides a different form of opportunity. “How else can a person—in addition to what they get in the classroom—how else can they expand their horizons?” said Daryl, who remembers receiving $100 from the Department of Entomology to attend the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Denver in 1978.
“It would be nice to have moneys available to get to do that.”
That they will never meet the recipients of their generosity is okay, Daryl said. “Giving is a personal decision. Connie and I have always been givers. It’s the foundation of who we are. I never like to be told to give. It’s a responsibility. It should be natural to give. It’s what Buckeyes do."