A pair of Grove City College alumni and ardent athletic advocates are the winners of the 2023 Florence E. MacKenzie Campus-Community Awards.
Local financial planner Jonathan Graeser '02 and Ryan Briggs ’01, the College’s sports information director, earned this year’s laurels for the work they do to strengthen the historically great town-gown relationship between Grove City College and the larger Grove City area community.
Graeser is the co-owner of Gould Financial, a wealth management firm on Broad Street in Grove City. His support of Wolverine athletics, community involvement and volunteer work advancing the cause of personal financial knowledge among citizens and students earned him the Community half of the award.
“Jon is a tireless Wolverines athletics super fan. He brings his kids to as many GCC home sporting events as he can, and he and his family host a Homecoming Parade watch party in their front yard, complete with free coffee and donuts, and they invite anyone and everyone in the community to come celebrate GCC on that day. He definitely promotes the College within our community as often as he can,” one nominator wrote.
“In addition to navigating the ups and downs of the stock market, it’s not uncommon to find Jon helping widows with their new iPhones or climbing a ladder to change a lightbulb, to planning vacations for newly retirees,” one nominator wrote. “He also volunteers teaching personal financial knowledge at Grove City Christian Academy through Thursday clubs and at various college seminars and chapels.”
Briggs has spent more than 20 years promoting Grove City College athletics and serving as “the voice of the Wolverines.” A passionate ambassador for the College and inveterate booster of scholastic athletics, Briggs does radio play-by-play for local high school games.
“Ryan Briggs is an icon in the Mercer County high school athletic community as well as the Grove City College athletic community and throughout the Presidents’ Athletic Conference. The man is literally a walking athletic encyclopedia. He rivals Google in the area of sports knowledge. Countless athletes, coaches and teams on campus have benefitted from his bottomless well of wisdom,” nominators wrote.
“Nothing brings communities together, particularly small town communities, like sports. Ryan compiles all the weekly stats for Mercer County high school football and basketball. This is not something he is compensated for, it is just done out of his love for sports and Mercer County. Through his SID and radio announcing he truly bridges a relationship between the college and community,” they wrote.
Grove City College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 presented the awards at a reception Tuesday in Carnegie Alumni Center.
The Campus Award recognizes members of the faculty, staff, administration, or student body, including student organizations. The Community Award recognizes an individual, group, or organization from the greater Grove City Borough area. Nominees for both awards must have met the criteria through volunteer effort, not through aspects of employment or other requirements that force interaction.
The awards are named for Florence E. MacKenzie, wife of former Grove City College President Dr. Charles S. MacKenzie. Her efforts and involvement included serving as president of Grove City Woman’s Club, the Women’s Bowling League, secretary of the local United Way and president of the Grove City Hospital Board of Trustees, today known as AHN Grove City. The awards have been presented since 1983.