Dr. Bill Pursch, of Springfield, Ohio, has traveled to 75 countries and all 50 states; his late wife, Lenore, traveled to 62 countries and 47 states.
“There is nothing like traveling abroad and interacting with other cultures,” he said after describing a diverse 33 years of service.
Dr. Pursch began serving in infantry in the Army, and later served two tours in Germany, two tours in Vietnam and one tour in Okinawa. He went to reinforce infantry when the Berlin Wall went up, and served as an escort officer for John F. Kennedy’s entourage.
He has more than twenty years of teaching experience in logistics and contract management. He is professor emeritus and former department head of the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
He and his wife were “a team right from the onset, and always were,” he reminisced. Together they had two daughters, Wendy and Heidi. Tragically, both in their twenties from undetected heart problems.
To honor their daughters and leave a lasting family legacy, they created the Pursch Family Memorial Fund (#645950). This affords students Study
Abroad scholarships in horticulture and crop science. Students planning to study in England receive priority because of the wonderful experience their daughter Heidi had in her time studying landscape architecture at Myerscough College.
"We were very happy to do that because it’ll be around as long as Ohio State is around,” he said. They ran a campaign amongst their friends and they responded quite well.
To this day there are still people that put money into the fund, which continues to benefit students.
“Without your generous donation, I would not have been able to study in Ireland. The trip helped me develop both professionally and academically. For that, I am forever grateful,” said Jessica Stacy, a recipient of the Pursch Family Memorial Fund.
When asked why he contributes so passionately, he cheerfully says, “Like Woody said, you can’t ever pay back, but you can pay forward.”
Bill also established the William D. Dowling Fund for Adult Education in honor of his professor and mentor after receiving his PhD in Adult Education in 1982 from The Ohio State University.
“That was the best decision I ever made. That PhD from Ohio State opened so many doors for Bill Pursch, it truly made my career,” he said. Bill received his BA from Gettysburg College and his MS from the University of Southern California.
Today, Bill loves attending the college’s annual Fall Scholarship Dinner. “I love those scholarship dinners. They are fantastic because I get to meet the students -- I truly am blessed.”
He also thoroughly enjoys attending every home football game that he can.
“The connections run deep there. I’m going to continue to contribute as long as God lets me.”
-Sarah A. Johnson (senior, agricultural communication)