Supporting Our Scholars

Posted Sep 16, 2020

Mark Thresher ’78 and Debbie Scott Thresher ’77 will tell you the best things in their lives can be traced to an Otterbein football game in the fall of 1975.

That was when Mark, a sophomore, says he first spotted Debbie Scott, a junior, in the crowd at Memorial Stadium. He decided he had to meet her and came up with a strategy to get his foot in the door at Debbie’s sorority house. It worked – and he wasn’t even put off by the fact she had curlers in her hair the evening they were introduced.

“That was quite a first impression,” Debbie says, “but he stuck around.”

The two started dating and Debbie, a music education major, selected Mark, an accounting major, as her escort when she was elected Homecoming Queen in 1976. They married four months after Mark’s graduation.

From there, the Threshers began building a life that has seen Mark advance to top leadership posts at Nationwide Insurance — he’s now chief financial officer — and serve as chairman of Otterbein’s board of trustees. Debbie has been a music educator, first as a teacher for 10 years in public schools and at Powell United Methodist Church the past 19 years. As parents, they raised daughters Chelsea ’05, now an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Columbus, and Kaylea, who holds a doctor of pharmacy degree from Ohio Northern University.

The Threshers have never forgotten how their experiences at Otterbein helped prepare them for life. So it became obvious to the couple that supporting the university’s “Where We Stand Matters” campaign was a critically important thing to do. As a result, the Threshers made gifts totaling $500,000 to establish a scholarship fund for music education majors and a fellowship that will support experiential learning at Otterbein.

“This is something we needed to do as a couple and give back to what nurtured us so well,” Debbie says. “Otterbein is obviously where it all started for the two of us.” Adds Mark, “Deb and I wouldn’t be here doing what we do today without Otterbein. The best thing about an Otterbein education is it prepares you for life, not just a career. You learn how to be a person who can communicate and solve problems.”