“I didn’t know where to go to get help.”
That’s how Marlo Kibler felt as a young mother without strong prospects of financial aid and unable to pay for her college classes.
Like many middle class families of the time, Marlo’s was wary of lenders. “My father refused to fill out the FAFSA paperwork that would allow me to file as an independent and qualify for financial aid. My parents were old school, and my Dad was very private.” Marlo was forced to withdraw from school and began working full time to support herself.
Marlo’s manager at the time — who is still one of her mentors today — told her that she needed to go back to school and finish her degree. Now a single parent, Marlo was eligible for some financial aid. Over the course of the next 6 years she completed three degrees.
Fast forward to 2007, just prior to beginning her new job at Kent State University, tragedy struck. Marlo lost her husband. And a month later, she was diagnosed with cancer. Her treatment required her to stop working for two months. When her new co-workers heard the news, they donated the vacation and sick time that Marlo needed to cover her leave.
It’s fitting that today, in her role of assistant director of donor engagement and stewardship, Marlo handles scholarship administration, and helps ensure that the generous donations provided by alumni and friends are being awarded.
Not surprisingly, Marlo is also a donor. “I support other organizations, but I give more to Kent State because Kent State gave more to me. Work is work, but family is forever, and we are a family at Kent State.”
Marlo says she gives because of the “heart of people at Kent State.” She talks about how “people reached out to help me through the darkest time in my life.” When Marlo looks at her coworkers, she sees extended family. “It was a testament to the true heart of Kent State, that people will come together to help you even if they don’t know you.”
When she is not working on campus, she is out in the community giving back to others and doing her best to “pay it forward” just as others had done for her when she was a struggling single parent.
Marlo set up the Marlo and Paul Kibler Single Parents Scholarship Fund, a scholarship that provides support to single parents who are working hard to complete their undergraduate education.
She gives back so she can help others like her younger self. “I want to help people move beyond their current circumstances.”