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Oct. 27, 2014

Jill and Larry McGruder have been Buckeye Club members since 1982, a 32-year journey that has allowed the couple from Cincinnati, and their daughter Megan, to become a part of the Ohio State Athletics family. Jill and Larry were both `Buckeye-born’ growing up in the state of Ohio. Jill came from `Woody Hayes country’ just south of Canton near New Philadelphia where Woody was the head football coach before leaving a lasting legacy at Ohio State. Larry was raised near Granville, donning the Scarlet & Gray from a young age.

The two avid Buckeye fans attended Capital University in Columbus and met for the first time as undergrads on a road trip to Iowa City to watch Ohio State Football in action versus the Hawkeyes. The rest as they say, is history.

Jill, Senior Vice President of Western & Southern Financial Group, is the CEO of several Western & Southern subsidiaries including Integrity Life Insurance Company, National Integrity Life Insurance Company, Touchstone Investments and Western & Southern Financial Group distributors; all of which manufacture and distribute retirement and investment products and services through financial intermediaries.

Jill and Larry’s involvement with the Buckeye Club began during their 17 years living in Columbus. Several of Jill’s co-workers at Nationwide were members and the McGruder’s jumped on board in `82. The group has been tailgating and attending Buckeye sporting events ever since.

“It is amazing to realize how many student-athletes in so many different sports are supported by the Buckeye Club,” said Jill McGruder. “I appreciate that our contributions facilitate the women’s programs as well. I am always gratified when I get that `thank you’ call from a student-athlete and they tell me that without the support of the Buckeye Club, she or he would not have been able to pursue a college degree.”

The McGruder’s fondest memory thus far as Buckeye Club members was the road trip to watch Ohio State Football captured the 2002 National Championship in dramatic fashion.

“The Buckeye Club is a great way to be involved with all of the athletic programs and feel that you are really making a difference in the lives of student-athletes,” said Jill McGruder. “Not to mention all of the other benefits associated with being a part of the Buckeye Club and all of the fun experiences afforded to you as a member.”

With 1,000 student-athletes in 36 sports, it takes significant resources to support an athletic program the size of Ohio State’s – the largest and most comprehensive program in the nation. Additionally, the Department of Athletics maintains totally self-supporting operations. All buildings and capital expenditures, including debt service, are funded by the department’s generated funds without subsidy from the University. No student fees, tax dollars or University funds are used to support the programs of the Department of Athletics.

For the 2014-2015 academic year, the athletic department will transfer over $17 million to the University to fund student-athlete scholarships. Thanks to the contributions from people like Jill and Larry McGruder, as well as over 4,000 members of the Buckeye Club, $12.1 million was raised towards that goal. While this shows the tremendous support of Buckeye Nation, it is our hope that, with your help, we can continue to build the Buckeye Club’s donor base and move closer to fully funding our student-athlete scholarships. To learn more about the Buckeye Club, and how you can support Ohio State student-athletes, please visit www.buckeyeclub.org.