Naming gift establishes Keith B. Key Center for Student Leadership and Service
Keith B. Key, former football player, alumnus, and Foundation Board Director at The Ohio State University, has committed $1 million to the Office of Student Life to support the newly named Keith B. Key Center for Student Leadership and Service located in the Ohio Union.
“We are grateful to Keith for his exceptional support of The Ohio State University,” said Vice President for Student Life Javaune Adams-Gaston. “Keith’s history of making a difference at the university began when he was an active student leader and student-athlete.
“His experiences then fueled his desire to help ensure students today have community service and volunteer opportunities, and graduate well prepared for leadership roles. His generous gift will enhance and increase opportunities for student involvement at the already exceptional Center for Student Leadership.”
With this additional resource the center will continue to offer Ohio State students innovative and comprehensive leadership training opportunities.
Key is the owner of Keith B. Key Enterprises. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, it is one of the largest African American-owned real estate development firms in the nation and has been involved in real estate projects totaling more than $1 billion throughout the United States.
Key, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1989, cited his student experiences in entrepreneurship as important factors in shaping his future.
“It’s always been important to my wife, Donica, and to me, to give back and find creative ways to support the community,” said Key. “We want to leave a path that others can follow and help to remove barriers along the way. This center will have fulfilled its purpose when students carry forth the lessons they learned here and use their intellectual talents in an economically productive and socially responsible way.
“As a student-athlete at Ohio State in the mid-to-late ’80s, I played football, became a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, became active in various campus organizations, and later started several businesses. At the time there was not a formal and coordinated system to support these types of student activities. While things have definitely changed for the better, we want to do our part to help ensure students have support for volunteer and entrepreneurial opportunities and graduate from The Ohio State University well-prepared for leadership roles in society.”
Key’s philanthropy is also firmly established beyond Ohio State. Key was the developer of the Heritage Community in Columbus where he helped initiate one of the first online high school learning communities in Central Ohio. He is also extensively involved in two major neighborhood redevelopment projects in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pa., -- Garfield Commons and Addison Terrace.
Key wants his gift to Ohio State to have a lasting impact on the university and in the community.
“It’s critically important to help young people embrace their leadership abilities so that they can go on to become valuable members of our communities so they can help to change the lives of students in the future,” he said. “We are very happy to make this contribution to The Ohio State University, and I look forward to watching our students’ progress as leaders in the years ahead.”