Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Receives $250,000 Gift to Create Endowed Faculty Support Fund

November 25, 2014 – by Cole Hatcher

OWU Class of 1964 alumnus George R. Mahoney and his wife, Linda L. Mahoney.

DELAWARE, Ohio – As an Ohio Wesleyan University student, George R. Mahoney was especially inspired by history professor Richard W. Smith, Ph.D. Mahoney appreciated his professor’s passion for helping students to understand the vital lessons the past provides the present.

Fifty years after earning his OWU degree, Mahoney, Class of 1964, and his wife are honoring Mahoney’s former professor and mentor by establishing The George R. Mahoney Jr. ’64 and Linda L. Mahoney Endowed Faculty Support Fund in Honor of Dr. Richard W. Smith.

“This is a vital gift for Ohio Wesleyan,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “The Mahoney Fund will support our outstanding faculty as they inspire future generations of Ohio Wesleyan students. We are grateful to George and Linda for honoring professor emeritus Dick Smith in such a permanent and profound way.”

The gift from the Charlotte, North Carolina, couple also is eligible for a $250,000 major-gift match, increasing the value of the endowment to $500,000.

At Ohio Wesleyan, George Mahoney majored in history and was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. He later earned a law degree from Duke University and served in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps before joining the New York law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. In 1976, he joined Matthews, North Carolina-based Family Dollar Stores Inc. as the retail chain’s general counsel. At Family Dollar, he served in roles including vice president, senior vice president, and executive vice president – general counsel and secretary. He retired in 2005, but continues to serve on the company’s Board of Directors.

“Ohio Wesleyan has made a lasting impression on my life,” Mahoney said. “Professor Dick Smith has made an equally important and lasting impression. My wife and I are honored to recognize him with this endowed fund that will help support the work of other outstanding and inspiring OWU faculty members. We’re also pleased to be able to enhance our gift through the ‘Connect Today, Create Tomorrow’ major-gift match program.”

Smith joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 1950 and retired in 1986. In between, he earned the Bishop Herbert Welch Meritorious Teaching Award – Ohio Wesleyan’s highest teaching honor – and inspired nearly four generations of students with his love and understanding of history. In 2002, several former students collaborated to endow the Richard W. Smith Lecture Series in Civil War History in recognition of his impact on their lives and careers. In 2005, Ohio Wesleyan made the retired professor an honorary alumnus.

Smith, who lives in Delaware and remains active with the university, called the new endowment from the Mahoneys an “eight-layer cake.”

“It’s very humbling,” said Smith, who has kept in touch with George Mahoney since his graduation. “In this profession, you don’t get things like this too often. It’s such an honor. I’m pleased that this will benefit the university, students, and faculty.”

Ohio Wesleyan launched its “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” campaign in July with the key objectives of enhancing access and affordability for students through scholarship endowment; recognizing and rewarding faculty excellence and innovation; and improving the physical campus. The leadership phase already has yielded more than $50 million in contributions and commitments, including an anonymous $3 million gift to create the major-gift match program. The match program will augment up to 12 future contributions of $250,000 or more with a $250,000 match.

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Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at