Marshall University alumnus Chuck Oldaker has pledged two gifts to the university honoring his late wife’s passion for education and celebrating Marshall’s new business school.
Oldaker, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Service Wire Company, committed $30,000 to endow the Michalle Arthur Oldaker Memorial Scholarship in honor of his late wife, who passed earlier this year. In addition, Oldaker has also pledged $50,000 to the Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation.
“Before her passing, we started talking about if there was something we could do together,” Oldaker said, “or were there two things we could do. Then, she ended up passing away and it became very clear to me that setting up a memorial scholarship in her name was the way to honor her and continue her legacy.”
Ara Michalle Arthur Oldaker was a native of Huntington and graduated from Marshall in 1991. She went on to serve as an educator for the Chesapeake School District as well as Collins Career Technical Center, both in Chesapeake, Ohio.
Michalle Oldaker devoted her life in the service of others. From buying Christmas gifts for less fortunate children to helping purchase a student’s prom dress, she never turned away someone in need, Chuck Oldaker said. She was involved with Chesapeake Middle School’s food bank program; the Woman’s Club of Huntington, in which she was secretary; C3 Church in South Point, Ohio; and HomeTown Love, a volunteer-based organization aimed at improving and beautifying the Chesapeake community.
“She was very engaged and involved with helping the community,” Oldaker said. “I give her credit for all of it. She was the driver behind all of it.”
The scholarship will be available to education majors, with a preference for students who are members of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, of which Michalle Oldaker was a member.
“As an educator, there’s not only the responsibility that comes with the profession, but the opportunity to have an impact on kids,” Oldaker said, speaking from Michalle’s perspective. “Kids really need somebody that’s got a big compassionate heart as much as somebody who’s able to give them reading, writing and arithmetic. They need somebody that cares about them.”
Oldaker’s second gift toward the Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business will name the accounting department’s head office for the new facility. Oldaker graduated from Marshall with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1992.
“The success I’ve had is largely built on the foundation I got from Marshall University,” Oldaker said.
Oldaker, a first-generation college graduate, worked for Hayflich PLLC before beginning his career with Service Wire Company, which recently pledged $1 million toward the College of Business’ new facility.
“I always had an affinity for it,” Oldaker said. “How do you find a way to give back and help others have the same opportunity you were given? I found out about the business school, and it felt like a great opportunity to get engaged and be a part of building the new building, but also building the future of business education at Marshall University for the next generation.”
Photo: Chuck Oldaker and his late wife, Michalle.