Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Goodbye Don Mossey

It would be hard to argue that anyone wore the blue and white of Hillsdale College with more pride than Don Mossey. At the age of 84, Don passed away on May 22nd and took with him an enduring zeal for Hillsdale College and its mission in our world.

As a Hillsdale College football alum, I have always taken special pride in the number of former Chargers and Dales like Aaron Petersen, John Cervini and Jeff Lantis who have gone on to administrative roles within the College's leadership. I did not know until an email from former Charger Andrew Nickle '71 that Don Mossey was also a former football player. How could I have missed that connection for all of these years?

Mossey arrived on Hillsdale's campus from Elkhart, Indiana in 1946 as a running guard on the Dales' football squad. During his tenure as a student he would become president of the Delt Sig house and an active member of the Omicron Delta Kappa honorary. Upon graduation, Mossey would lead a tremendously successful business career back in Elkhart that saw him rise to Executive VP of Skyline Corporation and a member of several other corporate boards including Phillips Industries.

In 1966, two major events in the life of the Mossey family would change the direction of Hillsdale College. As a memorial to the tragic loss of the Mossey's son Alex, Don and his wife Jane gave Hillsdale its current library. That same year, Mossey would join the Hillsdale board of trustees. In 1975 he became chairman and served in that capacity until his recent passing. His 28 years of leadership is the longest chairmanship in college history.

As chairman, Mossey stood at the tip of the spear as Hillsdale fought against federal government intrusion and established its current financial security completely independent from any direct or indirect state or federal funding.

Despite all of the time and focus Mossey gave the running of the College, there were few bigger Hillsdale College Football fans.

Nickle recently shared this story with me. "Don regularly attended the football games. I remember two incidents in particular. Once I was with him on a fall Friday and he would not miss joining the staff meeting in Jack McAvoy's office where he paid close attention as Jack went through the name of evey player as he updated the depth chart on his office wall. The second is when he asked me to join him in chartering a plane to go to the National Championship game in Conway, Arkansas. Don told me we could not miss that game."

Hillsdale College has definitely lost one of people who have placed it where it is today and today we say goodbye to Donald Mossey. Let his passing inspire all who love the College to step up and fill the huge void left by his leadership.

Thoughts, prayers, and gratitude go to Jane Mossey and the family for sharing Don with all of us.

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