February 8, 2008
~ written by Nancy H. Rogers
It is with great sadness that I must report that John Deaver Drinko passed away Wednesday, Jan. 30. He was 86. John was a distinguished graduate of the OSU Moritz College of Law; the former executive partner of his law firm, Baker and Hostetler; a corporate and community leader; and a philanthropist.
As a child in St. Mary's, W.Va., John worked several jobs to support his family, establishing a pattern of hard work, determination to succeed, and loyalty that continued always. Even at age 86, John was serving on a number of corporate boards, was a trustee of six foundations, and kept in touch with his law partners. And, always loyal, he called regularly to check how the Moritz College was doing.
John viewed education as the key to success and invested heavily in building excellence at many universities, though particularly at his own undergraduate college and law school. The Ohio State University was one of 10 higher education institutions to award John an honorary degree.
As a student, John valued his informal interaction with faculty. He arranged regular faculty-student lunches, something feasible because he had only seven other students in his graduating class in 1944.
John's generous gifts to the College reflected his desire to make those faculty-student interactions possible for those who follow in his path. He was the lead donor, for example, to the Barrister Club, hoping that faculty would use the facility to interact with students on the legal issues of the day. He also made major gifts to initiatives that helped to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, including the Newton D. Baker-Baker & Hostetler Chair in Law, the John D. Drinko Chair in Law, and the C.W. O'Neill Professor of Law. He gave, as well, to the Anita E. Chapman Scholarship, the J. E. Chapman Law Library Fund, and the John Deaver Drinko Hall addition. In fact, John Drinko, often working with Baker and Hostetler and other organizations, made possible a great deal of what we now accept as part of the excellence of the Moritz College.
Nancy H. Rogers
Dean and Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution