Eileen O’Neill, one of BGSU’s 100 Most Prominent Alumni, is giving back in a big way. The president and general manager of the cable network TLC and her partner, Karen Stoddard, have given the University a $100,000 gift to establish “the Stoddard and O’Neill Endowment for Studies in Popular Culture” as well as another $10,000 to the department that can be used immediately to assist students and faculty. Both Stoddard and O’Neill have master’s degrees in popular culture from BGSU.
“It will let us take advantage of opportunities for research that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do,” said Dr. Marilyn Motz, popular culture chair. “We will also use some of it to fund conferences and speakers on campus. It gives us a lot of opportunity to plan things and take a leadership role to sponsor some cutting edge research in popular culture.”
The internship requirement at BGSU led O’Neill to Discovery Communications and she never left. “There’s a direct correlation between BGSU and my job at Discovery,” O’Neill said. “The popular culture studies program, just as a broad-based discipline, allowed me to explore interests and what I liked and didn’t like. I can’t say enough about the program. This donation will allow students and faculty to further explore their interests.”
“The faculty and students of Popular Culture will forever benefit from the generosity of one our ‘Most Prominent Alumni,’” said President Carol Cartwright. “Eileen O’Neill and Karen Stoddard have invested in the University, and that investment will allow the faculty and students to have life-changing experiences. We are very grateful for their support of BGSU.”