Betty Schoenbaum

The Max M. Fisher College of Business community lost a beloved supporter and friend with the passing of Betty Schoenbaum on July 31, 2018.

Together with her late husband, Alex (BSBA ’39), Betty was an ardent supporter of education across The Ohio State University, throughout West Virginia where the couple settled after their time at Ohio State, and in Sarasota, Florida, where Betty lived in retirement.

The Schoenbaums founded the Shoney’s restaurant chain, which featured nearly 2,000 family restaurants throughout 36 states. But it was Alex and Betty’s passion for philanthropy and their dedication to social services that truly set them apart.

At Fisher, their most visible commitment to education is Schoenbaum Hall, the college’s undergraduate building dedicated in Alex and Betty’s name in 1998. But their support of their alma mater began much earlier.

In 1966, Alex created the Alex Schoenbaum Fund for graduate instruction and research. In 1989, Betty and Alex founded the Schoenbaum Scholars program, which awards need-based, four-year full scholarships to students studying business or education. And in 2001, Betty, who received an honorary degree from Ohio State, founded the Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Undergraduate Support Fund at the college.

“Betty’s generosity of spirit and support has had an incredible impact on the lives of countless students here at Fisher and across The Ohio State University,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business. “Along with Alex, Betty embraced any opportunity to improve the lives of others through education and empowerment.

“I had the honor of spending time with Betty and was touched by her loyalty for Fisher and Ohio State. As she shared with many of us over the years, she found the joy of giving to be the joy of living. Although Betty will be missed, her legacy of service and her limitless generosity lives on here at Fisher and in the lives of our students and alumni.”

 Remembering Betty Schoenbaum

In addition to philanthropic initiatives, Betty was a longtime supporter of FisherCares, a service-based student group, which made annual spring break trips to the Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center in Sarasota. There, students volunteered to improve and beautify the center, which provides rent-free space for various agencies dedicated to serving the unemployed, mentally ill and at-risk youth.

Betty’s generosity also spanned passions and interest across Ohio State, including:

  • Scholarships funded through Ohio State’s Critical Difference for Women program, which help women who have had to interrupt their education because of family responsibilities or financial restraints go back to school to earn degrees
  • The Schoenbaum Family Center, a $10 million center operated by the College of Education and Human Ecology that offers educational early childhood learning experiences for children and training and support for parents of young children
  • The Schoenbaum Hall of Champions at the Woody Hayes Athletic Facility

Betty Schoenbaum's impact at Ohio State

The joy of giving is the joy of living."

Betty Schoenbaum (HON ’01)