Press Release

Honoring an Alumna

February 12, 2018 – by Cole Hatcher

Entrepreneur Carol A. Latham '61 to be Honored by The Ohio Foundation Of Independent Colleges

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University alumna Carol A. Latham, Class of 1961, will be inducted in April into The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) Hall of Excellence.

Latham of Bay Village, Ohio, is the retired founder, president, and CEO of Thermagon, Inc., a custom manufacturer of high performance heat-transfer materials for electronic components. Under her leadership, Thermagon changed the microchip industry and, within five years of its launch, achieved sales of $18 million annually.

A chemistry major at Ohio Wesleyan, Latham is the 11th OWU graduate to be inducted into the Hall of Excellence since it was created in 1987 to honor distinguished alumni from OFIC-member colleges.

Inductees are selected based on a committee review of their “professional achievement; impact on society through service, leadership, scholarship, minority affairs, sciences, research, arts, or elected office; and service to their alma mater, all of which exemplify the value of a liberal arts education.”

Latham was working at Sohio Oil Co. when she was inspired to launch Thermagon in 1992. Her ideas about how to keep computers cool were revolutionary, and her invention diffused heat better than anything else on the market. With her help, Intel, IBM, and Silicon Graphics – among others – overcame overheating issues to advance their computing products.

“Carol Latham was a true entrepreneur then and now,” said Colleen C. Garland, Ohio Wesleyan’s vice president for university advancement, who collaborated with university President Rock Jones to nominate Latham for the OFIC honor.

“Carol built Thermagon from an idea into an industry-leader through hard work and determination,” Garland said. “She borrowed from family and friends, employed and trained local residents, and fearlessly promoted her product even as a small start-up.”

Latham remains active in coaching entrepreneurs in technology start-up companies and in supporting both her alma mater and its students.

At Ohio Wesleyan, Latham is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and of the advisory board for Woltemade Center for Economics, Business and Entrepreneurship. She also serves on the campaign leadership committee for the university’s $200 million Connect Today, Create Tomorrow fundraising campaign and is one of its leading donors. 

Most recently, Latham participated as a speaker for the inaugural Women of Ohio Wesleyan (WOW) Leadership Forum in 2017 and provided funding to create the interdisciplinary Carol Latham Entrepreneurial Scholars Program. Launching in fall 2018, the scholars program will support students from all academic disciplines who seek to become the next generation of business trailblazers.

 In addition to supporting Ohio Wesleyan and its students, Latham has worked tirelessly to improve her local community, creating the Latham Family Fund of the Cleveland Foundation and supporting efforts to improve working conditions and develop meaningful employment within the inner city.

Latham is a past member of the advocacy council of the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Council (MAGNET) in Northeast Ohio and has served on the boards of Enterprise Development, Inc.; CAMP, Inc.; the Greater Cleveland Growth Association; the Old Stone Foundation; and the Northeast Ohio Technology Coalition.

She has earned multiple awards for innovation, leadership, and entrepreneurship, including the 2000 Business Woman of the Year Award for Northeast Ohio and the Inner City 100 Award. She is a member of the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame and has been recognized for her accomplishments by Inc. Magazine and by the EY Entrepreneur of the Year® program.

 President Jones said Latham epitomizes the prestigious OFIC Hall of Excellence honor.

“Carol is a perfect choice for this honor,” said Jones, Ph.D. “Her professional success and her personal impact on society are profound. From ensuring that her Thermagon employees had the math, computer, and communication skills needed to succeed, to supporting and mentoring current Ohio Wesleyan students, Carol understands the value of a liberal arts education, of giving back to her community, of mentoring the next generation of entrepreneurs, and of philanthropy. 

“The Wall Street Journal had it right when it wrote: ‘So take a lesson from Carol Latham: Climb out of your silo and cast the widest view possible. Innovations await,’ ” Jones said. “We are elated that Carol is the 11th member of the Ohio Wesleyan family to be inducted into the OFIC Hall of Excellence.”

Latham will be inducted into the Hall during a special “Evening of Excellence” April 11 at The Grand Event Center in Columbus.

Ohio Wesleyan graduates previously inducted into the OFIC Hall of Excellence are:

  • Gregory L. Moore, Class of 1976, award-winning journalist and former editor of The Denver Post, inducted in 2015.
  • Jean Carper, Class of 1953, New York Times best-selling author and former CNN medical correspondent, inducted in 2014.
  • Evan R. Corns, Class of 1959, co-founder and retired CEO of America’s Body Co., inducted in 2010.
  • David L. Hobson, Class of 1958, retired member of the U.S. House of Representatives, inducted in 2005.
  • George H. Conrades, Class of 1961, chairman of Akamai Technologies, inducted in 2001.
  • Robert W. Gillespie, Class of 1966, chairman emeritus of KeyCorp, inducted in 1997.
  • Sherwood Rowland, Ph.D., Class of 1948, Nobel Prize-winning research chemist, inducted in 1996.
  • David Hamilton Smith, M.D., Class of 1953, physician, researcher, and author, inducted in 1995.
  • Frank N. Stanton, Ph.D., Class of 1930, former president of CBS, inducted in 1991.
  • Norman Vincent Peale, Class of 1920, pastor and author of the “Power of Positive Thinking,” inducted in 1989. 

About The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges

The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges was founded in 1950 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization representing independent higher education throughout the State of Ohio. Today, OFIC helps students in need by soliciting financial support from corporate and foundation donors that believe strongly in higher education. OFIC has 33 member institutions, including Ohio Wesleyan, and represents more than 90,000 students. Learn more about OFIC and the Hall of Excellence at www.ofic.org.

About Ohio Wesleyan University

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.