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Mark Ohlinger ’92 has been giving back to Lycoming College since he graduated. “Like most Lycoming students, I was a scholarship recipient, so I’ve always thought it was important to do my part and pay it forward for others,” he says.
“My education and experiences at Lycoming are so important to who I am today,” he continues. “I know I’m a better writer, thinker, singer, Spanish-speaker, and citizen because of my Lycoming education. The people I met and lifelong friends I made at Lycoming enriched my life immeasurably, and I want to support the institution that made that possible for me.”
Mark notes that when he was a student, study abroad wasn’t as heavily promoted and supported as it is today, and financially he was unable to participate. He’s pleased to see that travel experiences are now encouraged, and he wants to be a part of it somehow. That’s why he chose to fund a named annual study abroad stipend at Lycoming.
“I’d like anyone who wishes to have a study abroad opportunity to be able to do so without the student or their parents having to worry about how to pay for it. It’s an opportunity to help enrich the student’s academic and life experiences in a unique way, and I love the idea of being able to help make that happen for a fellow Warrior.”
Despite not being able to spend a semester or year abroad, Mark is appreciative of the shorter travel opportunities he had while a student. “My own travel experiences with the Lycoming Choir were pretty special — four years of weekend and Spring Break choir tours across the eastern U.S., and a very memorable trip to Poland, Czechoslovakia, and West Berlin in 1990. I’ve got some great stories from that trip!”
Living vicariously through other Warriors is a perk. “I enjoy the postcards I’ve received from students during their semesters abroad. It’s very thoughtful of the students to take the time to drop me a line letting me know they appreciate the scholarship and sharing their experiences with me. Keep those postcards coming!”
A few years back, Mark decided to make his donations from appreciated shares of mutual funds. “It’s a simple way for me to make a gift to the College without incurring capital gains taxes from selling the shares and sending the College the cash proceeds,” he explains. “I simply fill out an online gift form through my investment firm, and the shares I specify go directly to Lycoming’s investment account. It’s very easy!”
Not only is this an easy and tax-advantaged method of giving, he adds this pro tip for stretching his dollars: “I work for a company that matches my gifts to Lycoming, so I always apply for the company match. If you work for a company that will match your charitable giving, by all means take the time to complete that form! If you don’t know your company’s policy, check with Human Resources.”
While reminiscing about his Lycoming days, Mark fondly recalls his hikes to Angel Falls and the first warm day of spring when everyone would hang out on The Quad. “But since we’re talking about study abroad, ask me about ‘The Albanian Wine and Cheese Party!’”
Mark is a member of the 1812 Leadership Giving Society and Tower Society, as well as the President’s Leadership Council at Lycoming. The economics and international studies major is a project manager for retail sales at Vanguard. He and his husband, Dan, reside in Reading, Pa.