Kent & Laura Stuckey

Standing with Otterbein: Kent Stuckey '79 Is Proud to Lead Comprehensive Campaign

This is about more than a campaign for Laura and Kent Stuckey ’79.

This campaign is about family and tradition. It’s about values. It’s about friends, loyalty and love. It’s about all that stands to happen as a result of the largest comprehensive campaign in the University’s history. 

Otterbein’s “Where We STAND Matters” campaign is personal for the Stuckeys. “This campaign gives us the opportunity to stand for our values and to stand up for Otterbein—to do our best for this community,” the University Trustee said. His wife, Laura, was quick to add, “We are ready. We want to make a difference.”

Talk with this couple and you quickly discern that their leadership will help ensure the success of the $50 million effort to protect and propel Otterbein’s future.

A FAMILY TRADITION

Kent grew up at Otterbein. As a child, you could find him crawling in the rafters of Church of the Master, where his father, Dr. Paul Stuckey, served as head minister, or making his way across campus as a paper boy. On his delivery route, he would frequently find his mother, Margaret, studying in the library. She left college when she was married and returned to finish her degree at Otterbein while raising Kent and his four siblings so they could someday also have a college education.

“My favorite place on campus was the stone wall in front of Church of the Master. As a boy I would sit there and dream and look at Towers Hall,” Kent said. “I didn’t know then that I was looking out at my future and the grounds that would give me the foundation for my life.”

Kent brags about the Stuckeys being a four-generation Otterbein family. His mother Margaret graduated in 1971. His oldest brother, David, is a graduate of the Class or 1975, and his brother Doug, the Class of 1977. Kent earned bachelor degrees in political science, psychology and music performance in 1979. Kent’s father, Paul, served on the University’s Board of Trustees from 1962 to 1966 and received an honorary doctorate of divinity from the college in 1983. His niece, Katherine, earned a degree from Otterbein in 2011.

Kent is also proud to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Doyle, who graduated from Otterbein in 1928. As he pointed out his grandfather’s photo in the class composite hanging in Towers Hall, it’s clear he is inspired by the legacy of the man he never knew. Kent explained his family’s Otterbein history makes his role as campaign chairman all the more meaningful.

“I’m honored and humbled by the opportunity,” he said. “It has such a larger meaning because we’re building on this incredible culture and tradition. The values remain the same but are even more important in our world today.”

Laura said that Kent shared his passion for Otterbein from the first time they met. “This is their home—it’s where they started,” she explained. “There are so many generations of love and commitment here for the Stuckey family.”

LESSONS FOR A LIFETIME

Kent attributes much of his success to lessons he learned at Otterbein. He says music taught him discipline and that success is only possible when you set goals, work hard and stay focused.

But he credits even more powerful life lessons for success from the relationships he established at Otterbein. He credits political science professor John Laubach for giving his career critical direction. “He gave me the confidence that I could succeed in his classes and then, that I could succeed in law school...That really shaped my early career because I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Kent said.

Kent earned his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1982. He went on to serve as the general counsel and secretary to CompuServe Incorporated, and as vice president of CompuServe Ventures. For more than 10 years he managed legal, merger and acquisition, government relations, and international expansion. On the side, he authored “Internet and Online Law” in 1995, resulting in him being referred to as “the first Internet lawyer.” With regular updates, the book remains the leading treatise on Internet law.

In 1999, Kent became an entrepreneur. He founded several companies including the Inc. 500 Company “Internet Transaction Solutions, Inc,” (also known as “paymybill.com”) of which he also served as CEO and Board Chairman. After this company merged with Online Resources, Kent founded QuanComm, Inc., which provided electronic payment services to health club chains and churches.

“I awakened to the potential in my life and realized that what I did in my time at Otterbein mattered greatly. It set the stage for the rest of my life,” he said. “The best thing about Otterbein is that it recognized me—it saw me, it paid attention to me and as a result, I grew.”

He says that experience influences why he and Laura are so passionate about giving back. “I’ve always felt part of a much bigger family at Otterbein—a community that cares about you and genuinely wants the best for you,” he said, adding, “There is not a better or more worthy community in my heart and mind than Otterbein.”

Laura has also been impressed by the Otterbein community’s commitment to one another noting that professors remember their students decades later. “Here, you mean something to the University,” she said. “They invest their time and energy and relish in your successes. It’s amazing.”

WHERE OTTERBEIN STANDS MATTERS

Kent said that the campaign’s call to invest in students first is an obvious one. “That’s our reason for being. From day one, it was about Otterbein enabling students to realize their full potential.”

And from Kent’s perspective, the more students who have that opportunity, the better. From the start of his tenure as a trustee in 2006, Kent said the Board’s commitment to access and affordability has been a priority. “We want students to have the opportunity to be a part of this community regardless of their means—it’s extremely important we invest in that.” 

But, he’s quick to point out that prioritizing students means investing in faculty and staff, because “they are where the rubber hits the road and where Otterbein makes a difference.” He is resolute in getting faculty the resources they need to continue to provide the “highest quality experience for students.”

Kent ultimately believes that the total value of what happens at Otterbein differentiates this place from other institutions. “When you invest a dollar in this campaign, it’s worth a whole lot more than a dollar,” he said.

Kent believes the success of this campaign will come by the hard work of many. “I think this campaign offers people an opportunity to invest in their own values and invest in the importance of a genuine community,” Kent said. “I relate it to the concept of ‘gestalt’ that I learned right here. At Otterbein, the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.”

Laura said she stands with Otterbein because of its rich history and the significance of the institution to her husband’s family. “I stand by, for and with Otterbein to make this campaign a huge success.”

“I stand with Otterbein because it taught me more than academic lessons—it taught me lessons in life that have enabled me to live a fulfilling life. Just as I know it does for so many others,” Kent said. “Laura and I want to expand that opportunity. We know that the kind of graduates Otterbein produces change the world in really big and beautiful ways.”

NOTE: Kent and Laura Stuckey welcome your emails, questions and interest in joining this campaign by email at campaignchairman@otterbein.edu. They will also host a series of forums on and off campus in the coming weeks. For a schedule, contact Lucy Cryan at lcryan@otterbein.edu.

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