A Q&A with Crawford Hall Donor Donald S. Grant ‘70

Don ’70 and Johnna Grant were early and generous supporters of the Crawford Hall building project and recently gave a second gift to support the building. In recognition of his $150,000 gift, the Kent State Board of Trustees named the Donor Recognition Lounge in his honor. In recognition of a second gift of $1 million, the Donald S. and Johnna F. Grant Atrium was named.

Johnna and Don Grant

What is your educational background?

I graduated from Kent State in 1970 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in economics degree and earned an MBA from Santa Clara University in 1976.

What is your professional background?

I am a founder and co-managing partner of IHP Capital Partners with primary responsibility for the selection and structuring of builder/developer transactions, asset management and banking relationships. I also serve as a member of IHP’s Investment Committee. Previously, I was Chief Executive Officer of The O’Donnell Group. Prior to joining The O’Donnell Group, I spent 12 years in the real estate group of Wells Fargo Bank, where I was senior vice president responsible for the bank’s construction lending to commercial developers and home builders based in southern California.

What memories stand out from your time as a student at Kent State?

Some of my favorite memories took place during my four years as a member of the Delta Upsilon fraternity (DU). In those days, the DU fraternity had 100 brothers and was very active in most of the colleges on campus. 

What is your connection to Kent State athletics?

The Kent State baseball team was almost 50 percent made up of DU’s. One of our brothers, Thurman Munson, was drafted from Kent State in his junior year by the New York Yankees and was called up in his first year of the Yankees to play in the majors. Thurman was the third captain the Yankees had made since Babe Ruth!

I used to follow the Kent State football, basketball and baseball teams and I rarely ever missed a home game. I still follow these teams on WKSU.

You were on campus during the events of May 4, 1970. What was your experience during that time?

After leaving campus, I and four of my Delta Upsilon (DU) fraternity brothers headed to Washington, D.C. wanting to tell the story of what happened on campus from the students’ point of view. Through a series of meetings, I and five other Kent State students ended up meeting with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office where we discussed the Vietnam War and the May 4 shootings. After our conversation with President Nixon, we were invited to participate in a press conference on Capital Hill about the May 4 shooting.

In recognition of your gifts, the Donald S. and Johnna F. Grant Atrium and the Donald S. Grant Donor Recognition Lounge were named in Crawford Hall. Why was it important for you to give to this project?

My donation was prompted by the amount of time and funding that had been put into making a new building possible, particularly by Ambassador Crawford. The donation from Ambassador Crawford was spectacular and will make the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship and Kent State University appear on the radar as a fast-growing business school that will continue attracting high-quality faculty and companies.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 15, 2023 10:26 AM
Updated: Tuesday, August 15, 2023 10:43 AM