Buzz Starner ’67 leaves lasting legacy supporting Senior Nursing Students

From Touch Point Online Magazine, Spring 2021 – Vol. V, Issue 1

Buzz Starner ’67 was a Golden Flash through and through. As the second-generation in his family to attend Kent State, and having met the love of his live Marilyn Starner ‘71 on campus, Kent State held a very special place in his heart. Wanting to stay connected with the university after graduation, Buzz became an avid follower of all things Kent State Athletics.

“We had season tickets to everything, even wrestling!” Marilyn remembered as she reflected back on her love of Kent State. “Buzz made his first gift of $10 in 1969 to support the ‘I back a Kent State Athlete’ campaign.”

Buzz and Marilyn’s generosity and tradition of philanthropy had started and would lead to over 50 years of sustained support. Buzz would go on to have a very successful career as President of Starner Sales and Manufacturing, and Marilyn taught children locally for many years. Throughout his life, Buzz never lost sight of the role Kent State played in shaping him into the man he became. He was generous with his time, talent, and treasure. He frequently interacted with students and provided opportunities for them, he served in various capacities on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Kent State University Foundation Board of Directors, and he generously supported numerous areas across the campus.

This brings us to his love of the Kent State University College of Nursing. During a hospital stay around 10 years ago, Buzz encountered several nurses who had started their education at Kent State, but for various reasons, were forced to finish their degree at other institutions. This did not sit well with Buzz.

“Their allegiance would be to other schools instead of Kent State. Buzz wanted them to be Flashes Forever.” Marilyn recalled.

Buzz, never one to shy away from an opportunity to help, wanted to see what he could do to ensure more nursing students complete their degree at Kent State. When the opportunity presented itself to reimagine a previous gift to the university, Buzz knew exactly what he wanted to support. He reached out to the College of Nursing and soon after the “Helping Undergrads Gain Success for Senior Nursing Students (HUGS FOR SNS)” scholarship was created. This scholarship will provide senior nursing students financial assistance in their senior year. Buzz and Marilyn’s generosity extends a helping hand ensuring more of our students graduate on time and with as minimal student loan debt as possible.

“Especially during Covid, the strain on our nursing community has been huge. Our nurses deserve thanks and a great big HUG.” Marilyn noted. After his untimely passing in November of 2020, the community that Buzz always supported helped honor his life and legacy. “I was so happy to see people from the community contribute to the scholarship. This project was very important to Buzz.”

Buzz exemplified what it meant to have pride in your work and to always remember where you came from. His energy and enthusiasm for all things KSU was contagious and helped stoke Marilyn’s lifelong love affair with Kent State. “When my mother was in a nursing home, Kent State nursing students were doing their clinicals and I would see them every week. Every time I saw them, I would sing the fight song and they would laugh.” Marilyn noted while laughing. “That’s me!”.

If you would like to contribute to the “HUGS for SNS” Scholarship or create a scholarship to honor someone in your life, please contact Corey Hukill at

POSTED: Monday, March 15, 2021 - 5:14pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 5, 2021 - 3:57pm
Corey Hukill