Susan Warsaw’s lasting impact at SSU


PORTSMOUTH- When Shawnee State University was a community college, Susan Warsaw started as an assistant to President Frank Taylor. As she worked in the part-time role and saw the community college transition into a four-year institution, she realized there was not a development office and saw the need for formal fundraising efforts to be established within the university.

“She took the Foundation from not even existing to raising millions of dollars for Shawnee from the community,” said Mickey Warsaw, Susan’s husband. “She was talented at getting people active in the SSU community.”

During her time at the university, Susan led the foundation through three capital campaigns – including the “Reach for the Stars” campaign to establish the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts endowment, as well as the “Poised for Tomorrow” campaign that raised over $16 million in support for advancements within the university.

Supporters of SSU well after her retirement, both Susan and Mickey have given generously to the university to provide assistance to the region.

“To help Shawnee State is to help the entire Portsmouth area,” said Mickey. “Shawnee for as long as it has been around has been a shining light.”

Avid supporters of many areas within the university – including SSU athletics, the arts, and its academic programs – the Warsaws’ generosity has long impacted significant areas of the university. Both are lifetime members of the President’s Club and established the Warsaw Athletic Scholarship to provide need-based aid for student-athletes who need additional tuition assistance. The scholarship also helps student-athletes who have exhausted their athletic eligibility and need tuition assistance to stay enrolled to complete their academic degrees.

“She left us a wonderful legacy and improved the welfare of the university and community through her passionate advocacy and leadership,” said SSU President Jeff Bauer.

Many long-time donors and members of the community knew Susan well and share her passion about SSU. Mickey hopes her love of the university will continue to inspire those who knew her to continue their support of SSU.

“She saw a need and stepped up and filled it,” said Mickey. “She worked a lot of long hours because she loved what she did.”

Susan Warsaw passed away in 2021, leaving a lasting impact on SSU, its programs and facilities, and the entire southern Ohio region.

This feature was originally released in the Shawnee Magazine 2022 issue. To view the full magazine online, visit

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