Four of The Ohio State University’s most committed and generous supporters were celebrated last week and honored with the institution’s most distinguished awards for philanthropy and volunteerism.
Joseph “Joe” and Linda Chlapaty received the Everett D. Reese Medal, the university’s highest honor in recognition of exceptional service in private philanthropy. Carter Phillips and Sue Henry accepted the John B. Gerlach Sr. Development Volunteer Award, which rewards those who show the greatest dedication and personal investment in university fundraising efforts.
“Joe and Linda Chlapaty are steadfast in their commitment to advancing research and developing the facilities of our campus to support it,” said Acting President Peter J. Mohler. “Carter Phillips and Sue Henry’s dedication to academic excellence, and to supporting and mentoring our students, is unmatched. Together, these couples are creating limitless opportunities and empowering Ohio State to find the solutions people need now.”
Joe Chlapaty had been living with the symptoms of atrial fibrillation for many years when he sought a second opinion from Ohio State. That decision affected more than his vitality – it inspired him and Linda to invest in the advancement of cardiovascular research and volunteer to raise awareness and support during Time and Change: The Ohio State Campaign.
The Chlapatys continue to acknowledge the immense funding required to facilitate innovative research, which led them to direct their philanthropy to the Inpatient Hospital Tower, expected to open in 2026, and the newly opened Pelotonia Research Center in Carmenton, Ohio State’s innovation district. The Linda and Joe Chlapaty Research Laboratories within the center will be the birthplace of solutions to some of our most complex health challenges.
“Heart disease is a very difficult thing to live with day to day, depending upon the severity of it,” Joe Chlapaty said. “The techniques used at Ohio State can mitigate problems with arrhythmias and other situations. It allows you to live a good quality of life for as long as you can. And that would be our goal – in all our philanthropy, what we want is for people to have a better, happier life.”
Phillips, a 1973 alumnus who received an honorary doctorate in 2011, and Henry met in law school at Northwestern University. Their shared background in political science, coupled with their respect for quality education, led to their philanthropic investments in Ohio State to establish the Carter Phillips and Sue Henry Professorship in the Department of Political Science and the Max D. Phillips Endowed Scholarship Fund within the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Since I graduated 50 years ago, every meeting I have had with students has inspired me and left me enthusiastic to make a personal investment to enhance their experience and show them the value of their Ohio State education,” Phillips said. “Students are the future, and I will continue to support them in every way I can.”
This is a responsibility Phillips takes very seriously, which has directly shaped his involvement with Ohio State. He has been an active member of The Ohio State University Foundation Board of Directors since 2012 and has served on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Committee since 2015.
But Phillips’ volunteerism goes much deeper, through his service as a mentor to faculty, alumni and students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Moritz College of Law and those studying in Washington, D.C. He frequently meets with and provides connections for students, sharing insights from throughout his legal career. He is among the most experienced appellate and Supreme Court lawyers in the country, holding the distinction of having argued more cases as a private lawyer before the Supreme Court than any other lawyer in history.
“Carter goes the extra mile for our students, and he has a wealth of knowledge and experiences to impart. He and Sue embody the spirit of the Gerlach Award in every way,” said Michael C. Eicher, Ohio State’s senior vice president for advancement and president of The Ohio State University Foundation. “Joe, Linda, Carter and Sue all understand the powerful dynamic of philanthropic support and being actively engaged in the growth and development of our Buckeye community. We are incredibly grateful for all the ways they pay forward and positively impact the lives of so many.”