Marilyn and Robert O’Leary have been friendly faces and given many generous contributions to YSU Athletics and Youngstown State University for a long time. This evening, the O’Leary Family is being honored as 2011 Penguins of the Year.
Life-long Penguins sports fans, the O’Learys contribute to the athletic department in numerous ways. The two have shown their support by being basketball season-ticket holders for more than 50 years and have held football season tickets for over 30.
Robert is a member of the Penguin Club Board of Trustees and serves as a trustee for the Youngstown State University Foundation. The two are also Champions Level members of the Penguin Club - the highest donor level possible within the organization.
For their spirit and enthusiasm toward their beloved Penguins, Robert and Marilyn were enshrined in the YSU Athletics Hall of Fame as contributors in 2006.
The O’Learys also created an Athletic Department Operating Endowment for the men’s and women’s basketball programs as well as The Robert and Marilyn O’Leary Scholarship, which was created in 2005 and is awarded yearly to a most-worthy student-athlete.
The scholarship was established by the two, along with their children Denise, Brian, Alan and Carole. As prominent members of the Youngstown business community and long-time Penguin fans, the O’Learys created the endowment for a student-athlete with the same drive for success and commitment to Youngstown State that they have demonstrated through the years. This scholarship is awarded to student-athletes who compete in an Olympic sport and are majoring in business.
They were also the leading contributors in the remodeling of the Coaches Court in the Beeghly Center, a beautiful room for members of the Courtside Coaches Club to gather before and during basketball games.
The O’Learys also generously donated $100,000 for the WATTS, an indoor athletic training facility that is currently under construction on campus.
They also contributed $100,000 to the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, which opened in September 2005. The walking bridge in the facility has been named in their honor.
Robert and Marilyn credit three individuals for helping their passion for YSU grow. Joe Malmisur introduced them to YSU athletics, Marty Dorris introduced them to the Penguin Club and Dr. Robert Morrison introduced them to the class for Seniors.
One of their fondest memories was being at the 1991 National Championship Game in Statesboro, Ga., when Youngstown State beat Marshall 25-17 for the school’s first title.
Robert’s heart has always been part of the school. He earned a degree in business and economics from Youngstown State.
Robert currently serves as the Chairman of the Board for Patterson Buckeye Inc. He is the retried chairman of the board for Miller Buckeye Biscuit Co. At Miller, his business grew from 50 employees to more than 300.
Robert and Marilyn, who are both graduates of South High School, reside in Canfield. They have four children - Denise, Brian, Alan and Carole - along with four grandsons and two granddaughters.