Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Receives Multimillion-Dollar Estate Commitment

January 13, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Don ’56 and Dannielle Hudler

Gift from OWU Alumnus Don and Dannielle Hudler to Support Student Scholarship

DELAWARE, Ohio – Having spent more than 50 years in the automotive industry with titles ranging from advertising manager to marketing director to president, Don Hudler is driven to succeed. And the 1956 Ohio Wesleyan University alumnus is equally committed to supporting college students in their efforts to earn OWU liberal arts degrees.

Hudler, a former General Motors Co. and Saturn Corp. executive, and his wife, Dannielle, a former advertising director for GM and its Chevrolet Division, have made an estate commitment to Ohio Wesleyan with a potential value of up to $10 million. The gift from the Charlotte, North Carolina, couple creates the Hudler Family Endowed Fund in Support of Student Scholarship. A total of $3.25 million of the commitment is considered part of the university’s Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign, which lists student scholarship funds as a top priority.

“I am honored to accept this generous and meaningful commitment on behalf of Ohio Wesleyan University and our students,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “Don and Dannielle are creating a legacy that will change young lives forever and for better. They also are setting a wonderful example of philanthropy for others to follow. Gifts such as the Hudler endowment are vital in our efforts to educate today’s students to become tomorrow’s successful global citizens and leaders.”

The Hudler endowment will benefit U.S. students who have demonstrated academic excellence and/or have shown academic promise along with the aptitude to succeed as they pursue their OWU bachelor’s degrees. In addition to recognizing the couple’s commitment to student scholarship, their gift also remembers Hudler’s twin brother, Ron, a 1956 OWU graduate. Each year since 2008, the Ohio Wesleyan community has come together in December to light the Ron Hudler Memorial Christmas Tree, donated by his family’s Hudler Carolina Tree Farms.

While a student at Ohio Wesleyan, Don Hudler majored in business administration and joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He later would serve as vice president and then president of the board of trustees for the national Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation. He also has been a supporter of the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

After earning his degree from Ohio Wesleyan, Hudler quickly was hired by General Motors in Cleveland. Highlights of his 42-year GM career include serving as one of the youngest advertising managers in company history; working in Madrid, Spain, as regional director of marketing with responsibility for Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain; and serving as GM’s director of marketing policy and dealer relations. He later helped to plan and launch Saturn Corp., serving as its first vice president of sales, service, and marketing. In 1997, he was appointed as Saturn’s chairman and president while simultaneously serving as a GM vice president. Today, he serves as president and chief executive officer of DDH Investments of South Texas Inc.

“We are proud to support Ohio Wesleyan in this small way that enables us to recognize and honor the true value of a sound liberal arts education,” Don and Dannielle Hudler said. “We hope that others will follow in our footsteps and find a meaningful way to support this fine university that has had such a big impact on all of our lives.”

Learn more about making estate gifts and other contributions to Ohio Wesleyan at https://www.owu.edu/alumni-and-friends/give-to-owu/make-a-gift/.

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 www.owu.edu.