John Kratz’s first gift to Heidelberg came back in 1965, two years after his graduation, at a time he and his late wife, Beverly, were newly married and starting to raise a family. It was for $10. His next gift – also $10 – came 13 years later. Since then, though, John has been extremely insightful and generous with his financial support of his alma mater.
But his legacy to Heidelberg is about so much more than dollars. On Thursday night, Heidelberg said thank you to John for his lifetime of service and philanthropy to Heidelberg. President Rob Huntington surprised John with the Distinguished Trustee Service Award during the annual Heritage Society dinner.
In his presentation, President Huntington said John is among a dedicated group of Trustees who provide “a selfless spirit of service to this university.”
“John loves his alma mater. He has a long and strong commitment to Heidelberg that has lasted 60 years,” President Huntington said. “And he’s remarkably humble.”
John’s bachelor’s degree from Heidelberg in 1963 has served him well throughout his career, which President Huntington noted began cutting lawns and shoveling show at age 11 in his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. He retired as president and CEO of Information Control Corp. (ICC), the largest privately held information technology service firm in Ohio. Under John’s leadership – and with his emphasis on teamwork, hiring good people and letting them do their jobs – ICC consistenly ranks among the market leaders in computer consulting, proprietary software development and web software development in central Ohio.
Heidelberg has been fortunate to benefit from John’s leadership and vision as a member of the Board of Trustees since 2007, serving as vice chair for 10 years. He currently chairs the Student Affairs Committee and serves on the Executive, Enrollment Management and Governance committees.
Those first $10 gifts have grown exponentially over the past six decades. John’s Heidelberg philanthropy – which he put into “power drive” in recent years, according to President Huntington – includes giving to The Heidelberg Fund at the Presidential Level for many years and supporting nearly every capital campaign over the past 15-plus years. Of particular note, and perhaps as a nod to his strong affection for ‘Berg athletics, he provided a major gift as well as leadership in a Trustee Challenge to raise funds to name Hoernemann Stadium. Today, John and Bev are members of The Founders Circle of Builders & Benefactors in recognition of their lifetime giving to Heidelberg.
He expressed gratitude for the Distinguished Service Award, calling it “a great honor.”
“I believe that when you make a gift to Heidelberg, it makes a difference. That’s why I do it,” he said. “There are tremendous things happening here. I hope we all continue to support them.”