Alumni volunteers enhance Oglethorpe community

For Donna and Bob Rasile, graduates of the class of 1982, Oglethorpe has played an important role in their story. It’s where they met, where they honed their professional skills and interests, and where they have continued to share their time and treasure as proud alumni.

In the fall, Donna was honored as she completed her term as chair of the President’s Advisory Council (PAC) at Oglethorpe, a role that allowed her to share her expertise and talents with the university community. Donna and Bob both served on the PAC for many years as dedicated volunteers and supporters of Oglethorpe.

“I enjoyed my leadership role as PAC Chair and was happy to give back to a place that had given so much to me,” said Donna. Her leadership helped to reinvigorate the PAC and shape the group into one that provides both a meaningful volunteer opportunity for PAC members and an impactful tool for the university.

This was only the latest in a long line of volunteerism for the Rasiles, who give back as alumni in many ways.

“We were one of the first members of the Young Alumni Club,” said Bob, remembering their time in Atlanta in the years after they graduated. “We were heavily involved in that for a number of years.”

They also volunteered during Scholarship Weekend, meeting with incoming students, and when their careers took them to Charlotte, they hosted events for the university at their home. Donna was instrumental in helping students seek internships and provided mentorship for students interested in her own career field of finance.

“Alumni who give back to the university, in myriad ways, enhance and strengthen our community,” says  Oglethorpe University President Kathryn McClymond. “I am so grateful for dedicated alumni like Donna and Bob Rasile who see the value in sharing their talents and expertise with our students and university leaders.”

OU President Kathryn McClymond with alumna Donna Rasile '82 in Hearst Hall with a watercolor of Lupton Hall -- a parting gift for Rasile as she concluded her service to the President's Advisory Council.

President Kathryn McClymond presents Donna Rasile ’82 with a token of thanks for her leadership and service on the President’s Advisory Council.

The idea of helping Oglethorpe students in various ways comes from the experiences the Rasiles had as OU students. Both business majors, Donna and Bob were actively involved in student organizations and athletics. Bob was a member of the Men’s Tennis team and served as Junior Class President; Donna joined Chi Omega sorority, was a cheerleader her freshman year, played tennis and ran cross country.

Donna recalled fondly, “I ran cross country with the Men’s team, as there wasn’t a Women’s Cross Country team at the time. This is a great example of how OU accommodated my desire to participate and be involved. I really enjoyed that opportunity and the other leadership opportunities I had while I was at Oglethorpe.”

The faculty and liberal arts curriculum were also incredibly impactful pieces of their Oglethorpe experience. Donna shared that one of the great things about Oglethorpe is the opportunity to engage with the liberal arts curriculum, which lets students pave the way for whatever path they take after graduation. Both also remember faculty members who pushed them to do their best, who took a personal interest in their success and who sparked interest in subjects they may not have otherwise studied.

“Although I was focused on business, the Core program was a fantastic way to get a well-rounded education,” said Bob. “Probably my favorite professor of all time was Professor Leo Bilancio who taught European History.”

Both Donna and Bob also had internships as students — an experience far less common in 1982 than it is today. They reflected that the care of faculty and staff helped to make these experiences possible and that the internships helped them further understand the career opportunities available to them.

“I feel that my Oglethorpe education, including my internship experience, really positioned me well for later on in my career and my involvement in the community,” said Donna. Donna is a financial advisor with FinTrust Capital Advisors, and Bob has recently retired after working 38 years in the financial service industry, predominantly in institutional equity trading.

Reflecting on their Oglethorpe experience, the Rasiles feel gratitude for their time as students and their continued involvement as alumni.  They immensely enjoyed their time at Oglethorpe — from the experience in the classroom and the field to volunteering in the community of Atlanta. Their engagement with OU remains personally meaningful, and the expertise and experience they continue to share with the university are invaluable.

“The most rewarding part of continuing to be involved with Oglethorpe since my graduation, both from a giving standpoint but also from a volunteer standpoint, was the opportunity to give back to a university that I love, that we met at, that I still feel very passionate about,” Bob reflected. “There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to give back. I encourage alumni to find something they’re passionate about with the university. Whether that’s mentoring a student or being involved in a particular group or committee, it is really a fantastic experience to be able to give back to your university.”

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