This fund was established Sept. 2, 1998, with gifts from The Longaberger Foundation of Newark, Ohio. Income supports salary and program support for the work of a distinguished urologist whose focus will include the advancement of medical knowledge through research and treatment in urological diseases with preference given to a urologist with interest in oncology.
Dave Longaberger was never one to accept limitations. He struggled through school (even repeating fifth grade three times), yet he was determined to and did graduate from high school. He stuttered badly as a young man but took a job as a door-to-door salesman to overcome it. And he began a successful business - The Longaberger Company - with a vision that customers would appreciate the handcrafted quality of the baskets his father had woven for years.
But if you had asked Dave what he considered his greatest accomplishment, the answer would have been no surprise to anyone who knew him: "What gives me the greatest pleasure is having the ability to make a difference in peoples' lives." The Longaberger Company's mission statement, "To Stimulate a Better Quality of Life," is a reflection of his proudest accomplishment.
Through Longaberger, Dave helped make a difference for thousands. The company has enabled tens of thousands of independent home consultants throughout the U.S. to start their own Longaberger businesses, being their own boss and setting their own standards for success. And the company has provided thousands of jobs to Ohioans living in Dresden, Dave's hometown, and dozens of surrounding Ohio communities.
Dave's entrepreneurial skills date back to the early 1960s, when he purchased a local diner in Dresden, complete with two booths, two tables and eight stools. Later, he acquired a defunct grocery store and reopened it so local residents wouldn't have to drive 15 miles or more to purchase a loaf of bread. Through those early business ventures, Dave discovered three key elements he said are essential for success: listening to others, having trust in others and maintaining a sense of humor.
Dave kept those three points in mind when he came up with the idea of selling baskets made the way his father, JW Longaberger, had handcrafted them 20 years earlier. It was this successful idea that ultimately gave him the ability to make a difference in the quality of life for so many.
"Subject to Change:"- "For some, change is a crisis. Well, don't let it be, because it will happen with or without you. And, it's much more enjoyable if it happens with you. Nothing remains the same. It is easy to want things to remain the same, but you have to be adaptable to change to survive."
"People appreciate personal service and high quality," Dave said. "That's what Longaberger is all about. Our associates come to your home to help you understand the unique heritage of our products, and we work hard to ensure those products are of the absolute quality."
Dave and his daughters, Tami and Rachel, formalized their commitment to touching the lives of those in need by establishing The Longaberger Foundation in 1997. The Foundation provides funding for projects and programs aimed at strengthening communities, families and individuals. It has provided leadership gifts for educational institutions and literacy efforts in Ohio as well as a number of charitable causes. Dave was known for his friendly demeanor and unpredictable sense of humor, and he encouraged others to keep a lighthearted attitude as well. "Every day should be at least 25 percent fun" is one of his most widely quoted principles.
Dave passed away on March 17, 1999. Through his vision of the future and the many initiatives he began at The Longaberger Company, his legacy continues.
Founded in 1973, The Longaberger Company is America's premier maker of handcrafted baskets and offers other quality home and lifestyle products, including pottery, wrought iron and fabric accessories.
To learn more about the extraordinary life of Dave Longaberger, read "Longaberger: An American Success Story." Published by Harper Collins, this autobiography was launched in March 2001; or visit www.longaberger.com.
In September 1998, Ohio State received a gift of $5 million from The Longaberger Foundation, $1.5 million of which established the Dave Longaberger Endowed Chair in Urology. At the time, the chair's namesake-founder and former CEO of the successful Longaberger Company in Newark, Ohio, was recovering from surgery for a serious form of kidney cancer. Despite the devastation this prognosis had on their lives, the Longaberger family saw their good fortune having The James and the Department of Urology as resources. Their gift came as a natural expression of their gratitude.
The endowment provides salary and program support for the work of a distinguished urologist whose focus includes the advancement of medical knowledge through research and treatment in urologic diseases with preference given to urologists with interest in oncology. Dr. Robert R. Bahnson has held this position since its creation in 1998. "We are honored to have Dr. Bahnson named the first holder of the Longaberger Chair," said Longaberger Company CEO, Tami Longaberger, a former Ohio State trustee. "We have witnessed his dedication and expertise first hand. It gives us a way to say thank you, and to extend and strengthen our relationship with Ohio State."