November 16, 2021
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Jay & Jeanie Schottenstein Family Foundation has pledged $10.15 million to create the Jeffrey Schottenstein Program for Resilience that will support students across The Ohio State University campus and The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Pending approval by the Wexner Medical Center Board and the University Board of Trustees at their November meetings, the gift recognizes and seeks to address the mental health crisis facing young adults on campus – 73% of whom nationally experience a mental health crisis during college. It is inspired by Jeffrey Schottenstein’s efforts to help those struggling with mental health issues and remove the stigma attached to them. The gift also funds an endowed chair of Psychiatry and Resilience in the College of Medicine.
“Ohio State shares the long-standing commitment of Jay and Jeanie Schottenstein and their children – Joey and Lindsay, Jonathan and Nicole and Jeffrey – to creating resilient communities. The collective challenges of the past year and a half underscore the importance of providing students with tools to navigate stress and bounce back from adversity — both during their time at Ohio State and long after they graduate," said Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson. “The services, research and conversations supported by the Jeffrey Schottenstein Program for Resilience will help us achieve that goal while also combating the ongoing stigma of mental illness. This is critically important work, and I thank the Schottensteins for helping make it possible.”
Jeffrey Schottenstein, founder and CEO of the TACKMA sportswear brand and Chief Investment Officer at SEI Inc., recalls how when he was a freshman at Ohio State, he experienced anxiety and depression. At the time, he didn’t know that nearly a third of Americans struggle with mental health – often silently, because most go untreated. Today these mental health issues college students are experiencing are exacerbated by the pandemic.
“Living with mental health challenges can be an incredibly lonely and isolating experience. Even with increased openness about mental health, there’s a quiet stigma that needs to be eliminated so we can improve access to treatment. That’s what we are doing here,” said Jeffrey Schottenstein. “This holistic, skills-based wellness and resilience-building program is what I desperately needed when I was on campus. It’s personal, to be sure, because I never want another young adult – or anyone – to feel alone.”
Jeffrey presented the gift alongside his parents, Jeanie and Jay Schottenstein, on the field at Ohio Stadium during the Oct. 30 Ohio State-Penn State football game. Jay Schottenstein is Executive Chairman of Designer Brands (DSW); Executive Chairman and CEO of American Eagle Outfitters and SB360 Capital Partners; Chairman of American Signature Inc./Value City Furniture, Schottenstein Stores Corp. and many others.
This gift furthers the family’s legacy of generous support for Ohio State, said Dr. Carol R. Bradford, dean of the College of Medicine.
“This transformational gift will help develop new ways to promote and understand mental health and resilience, and inspire others around the state, country and world to model this innovative program,” Bradford said.
The resilience program will be led by Dr. K. Luan Phan, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. Phan and his team will coordinate with leaders across the university to build a resilience program that includes a marketing campaign to fight against the stigma associated with mental health and educate Ohio State students on ways to reduce the shame that comes with mental illness.
“This program is really going to be outside the box in terms of its thinking and its approach in how we tackle specifically the mental health challenges that face our students, so that we can disseminate what we learn more broadly to the same challenges that face our families and our communities,” Phan said. “Here, work with our students will be a role model for the rest of society. Our program will give students hope and knowledge about where to go and how to get help, so they feel less alone, less isolated. It will provide skills and insight to students that help build their resilience and establish a community of care involving support from peers who have had a shared lived experience.”
Other highlights of the program include:
Offering services that cultivate resilience to help students be better prepared for adversity and stress, and more equipped to bounce back afterward.
Conducting research to illuminate and teach how to tap into the healing potential of the brain and develop social, emotional and cognitive resilience skills.
Training a new generation of mental health advocates and providers on this new model of care.
“We are very motivated by our son Jeffrey. He wants the program to be a place where people can go without a stigma,” said Jay Schottenstein. “One of the most important reasons why Jeanie and I are involved in this is because we believe what we are doing can take the stigma and shame away and help students toward a lifetime of mental wellness.”
PHOTO CAPTION: From left, Dr. K. Luan Phan along with Jay, Jeffrey and Jeanie Schottenstein.
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Media Contact: Eileen Scahill, Wexner Medical Center Media Relations, Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu