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September 21, 2023

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A Legacy Left Behind

Nia Lambdin | Managing Editor

Former chair of the Board of Trustees and Bowling Green State University honorary alumnus Kermit Stroh died from natural causes on Sept. 22, in Harbor Spring, Michigan, according to an announcement from President Rodney Rogers during the Trustees’ first meeting.

Stroh has received many honors from BGSU. He was given an honorary doctorate in 2002, was named an honorary alumnus in 2003 and, in 2022, he was inducted into the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame. 

Stroh was an active member of the Bowling Green community, co-founding Moulton Gas Service Inc. with his father Elmer Stroh in 1958 and expanding the company through radio advertisement.

He was known as Kerm on WERM radio, where he gave commentary for regional basketball games. After coming to BGSU for a basketball game and being treated kindly, he decided to stay connected.

In his community, Stroh was involved in the Ohio Gas Propane Association, Rotary Club, Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Committee and Auglaize County Regional Planning Commission. 

Since that time, Stroh has had two daughters attend the university and is often called one of BGSU’s most vocal cheerleaders, according to BGSU Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business.

From 1993 to 2002, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees and served as board chair for two years from 1999 to 2001.

Between 2008 to 2011, he served as the university’s chair of the academic and student affairs committee and co-chaired the capital campaign, according to the College of Business. 

Stroh was also involved in the BGSU Falcon Club and President’s Club, a supporter of Coaches Corner and was recognized with the Doyt Perry Award. 

In 2008, Stroh and his family gave an $8 million gift to BGSU to aid the construction of the convocation center, soon after dedicated to him. Stroh and his late wife, Mary Lu Stroh, also created a scholarship that funds intercollegiate athletics and students from Auglaize, Hardin, Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties.

“I’m very appreciative to Bowling Green for giving me the opportunity to do the many things that I’ve done,” Stroh said in an interview with Jason Knavel. 

After the $8 million donation in 2011, the Stroh Center was named after Kermit Stroh and was set to replace Anderson Arena. 

The donation renovated the arena from an antiquated arena to a facility that accommodates spectators and athletes, with a theatre-in-the-round design. The arena holds 88 courtside seats and overall seats approximately 5,000 people. 

The center, opening in 2011, is home to the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame, but also has locker and meeting rooms, offices, a team store, a ticket office and a lounge. It is an NCAA Division I basketball arena that hosts men’s and women’s games, and additionally women’s volleyball. 

The first Bowling Green athletic event was a women’s volleyball game against Michigan State on Sept. 9, 2011. The Stroh Center also hosts graduation and convocation ceremonies for BGSU students.

On Aug. 13, 2011, the center held its first ticketed concert event by a Christian rock band, Sanctus Real. Its early years brought other concerts like Florida Georgia Line, Nick Jonas, Kesha and B.o.B.

Another notable Stroh Center visit was in 2012 when President Barack Obama came to speak at the center during his re-election campaign.

The Stroh Center is also LEED gold-certified for its energy use, lighting, water, material use and incorporation of sustainable strategies. 

Just because Stroh was only able to witness games in his center for the past 11 years, doesn’t mean his legacy won’t last forever.

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