The Ohio State University at Newark


The Klingensmiths: Lifelong Educators Establish Scholarships for Generations to Come

November 22, 2021

Bob and Linda wearing jackets standing on brick walkway outside Founders HallResidents of Newark have been learning from Robert “Bob” Klingensmith, PhD, and Linda Klingensmith for nearly four decades. Now many more students will continue to be influenced in perpetuity by these two long-serving educators as a result of the Robert D. and Linda D. Klingensmith Scholarship.

“Education is the lifeline for progress for any community. Investing in the youth is one of the best things we can possibly do, and we want to continue that,” said Linda, who spent 25 years of her teaching career at Newark City Schools. Bob, professor emeritus at Ohio State Newark, started teaching geography in 1971, retired in 2005 and then spent a few more years teaching part time.

The Klingensmiths settled in Newark by way of Florida, where Bob held a short-term teaching position at the University of Florida after doing his doctoral studies at Southern Illinois University. Prior to that, each earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Eastern Michigan University. Transplants from “that state up north,” the Klingensmiths are proud Buckeyes.

“Ohio State Newark provides access to one of the greatest universities in the country without leaving home. Some students just couldn’t do it otherwise,” said Bob, noting that he spent nearly his whole career there. Today he is still in contact with former students. “It was a place where you could get to know your students. It was very personal. I think that was a very rewarding part of it — to be associated with so many students and so closely.”

In addition to teaching thousands of undergraduate students, Bob has also participated in numerous community organizations, including serving as executive director of the Licking County Community Leadership Program, executive director of Leadership Ohio and chairman of the Licking County Planning Commission. Though he has retired from most activities, Bob is still active — and the only current founding member — on the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority board of directors.

The Port Authority was established in 1995, an agreement between the cities of Newark and Heath with Licking County, to save local jobs upon the closing of the Newark Air Force Base. The Port Authority owns and manages the former base property plus an adjacent development site, making it one of the largest manufacturing campuses in central Ohio.

For its 25th anniversary, the Port Authority made a $50,000 contribution to Bob’s namesake scholarship in recognition of his service to the community. “Bob brings extensive higher education experience, personal knowledge, community awareness, broad statewide acquaintances and an unmatched leadership perspective,” read the proclamation. “The Board of Directors desires to encourage members of the community to emulate the community service track record of Bob Klingensmith.”

Rick Platt, CEO of the Port Authority, added, “The Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority and Ohio State Newark have enjoyed a long partnership. Ohio State Newark graduates are among the largest concentration of degreed personnel on the Port Authority’s campus.” In return, the Port Authority is a large contributor to both the John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology and the SciDome, a collaboration between Ohio State Newark and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology.

Echoing the sentiments of legendary Ohio State football Head Coach Woody Hayes, Bob said this scholarship “is an opportunity to pay forward. I can’t pay my parents back for the education they provided me, but I can pay them back indirectly by providing educational opportunities to others.”

With the Klingensmiths’ generous support and the Port Authority’s gift, the Klingensmith Scholarship is now endowed and will become a permanent scholarship at Ohio State Newark. You too can help grow this award by contributing online at give.osu.edu; search for fund number 483642.