Father and son share falcon bonds

Marketing and Communications

By Terri Carroll

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The story begins with William Primrose Jr. ’42 who is one of the few living alumni to have known all of BGSU’s presidents.

William remembers visiting campus as a prospective student with his mother and father. “We were just walking around when a man came over to shake our hands. He said, ‘Hello, I’m President Homer Williams.’ Well, we were just so impressed that the president would come out to meet us. I knew right then that Bowling Green was where I wanted to be,” said William.

Yearbooks from 1939-42 show William as quite the man about campus. He was involved with track, band, Varsity Club, Key staff, YMCA and Commoners Fraternity (the predecessor of Pi Kappa Alpha.) Most importantly to William, he met his wife Mary Catherine Stahl, also a 1942 graduate, at BGSU.

The details of the romance vary within Primrose family lore. Children William Primrose III ’74 “Bill” and Jacalyn (Primrose) Mihocik ’71 have been told that Mary Catherine worked in the library and met William when he came to study. Other versions claim a study session at the library was the couple’s first date. Still another reminiscence places Mary Catherine in a neighboring boarding house near Wooster Street. In any case, William says he married the smartest and prettiest girl on campus.

“We have so many friendships, so many memories, so many connections – we can’t imagine our lives without Bowling Green”William’s involvement with the University didn’t end at graduation. If anything, the relationship with his alma mater became a major part of his professional and personal life.

He is a director emeritus of the BGSU Foundation Board of Directors, and established the William J. Primrose Scholarship, the William and Mary Catherine Primrose Endowment and the Primrose Family Professorship in Accounting. He has also served on the University Development Council, Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the Dean’s Alumni Advisory Council in the College of Business. In 2010, as part of BGSU’s Centennial Celebration, he was named one of the University’s 100 Most Prominent Alumni. Along the way he worked with each of the University’s presidents with an exemplary level of dedication and enthusiasm.

Despite William’s love of BGSU, he did not push Bill and Jacalyn to follow in his footsteps.

“Dad left the decision completely up to us,” Bill said. “When Jackie and I were young, my parents always stopped at the Bowling Green campus when we travelled from our home in Cleveland to visit our grandparents in Leipsic. We were always eager to get to Grandma and Grandpa’s, so we didn’t like the detour and delay of going to campus. But Dad never missed an opportunity to stop by the University, so we always had to go.”

Both Jackie and Bill grew to enjoy campus and chose to attend BGSU, thus expanding the Primrose Falcon family. Jackie earned a degree in elementary education in 1971 from the College of Education and Human Development. Then her son, Robert Mihocik, earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science.

Bill graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1974, was a member and treasurer of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, was on the swim team, and like his father, deepened his commitment to the University after graduation. He is a two-term chair of the BGSU Board of Trustees, has been a member of the Dean’s Council in the BGSU College of Business, and received the Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Alumnus Award and the BGSU Department of Athletics Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has served on the BGSU Foundation Board of Directors and the Alumni Board of Directors and is a member of The Presidents Club.

Like his dad, Bill met his wife Diane (Tober), a 1974 graduate, while a student. Diane earned a degree in accounting and was a member and president of Delta Gamma, Beta Alpha Psi, Pan-Hellenic Council and Accounting Club. The youngest of their three children, David, just earned an M.B.A. in 2012.

Their oldest son, William Primrose IV “Kip,” now has a son of his own, William Primrose V “Jack,” who is frequently spotted in orange and brown. While Jack looks fabulous in Falcon colors, it is his great- grandfather who steals the show during special events when he sports his favorite bright orange BG blazer with pride.

When asked what has inspired their extraordinary level of devotion to the University, Bill and William once again agree.

“No matter what we have done for Bowling Green, we both have gotten so much more from BGSU than we could ever give back,” Bill said. “We have so many friendships, so many memories, so many connections – we can’t imagine our lives without Bowling Green,” added William.

BGSU’s 11th president, Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, recognizes the Primrose family as a model for other Falcon families seeking to leave a legacy at BGSU.

“Bowling Green is incredibly fortunate that the Primroses extend their deep love of family to the Falcon family,” said Mazey. “I am humbled by the long-lasting love they have so generously shared with the University. From philanthropic scholarship support to countless hours served on the Board of Trustees to recruiting students, they have made Bowling Green a better place.”

Now that’s a Falcon family!

(Posted July 22, 2013 )