Louis A. “Earp” Mitchell ’57

B.A., Denison University

President
First Financial Group, Inc.
Columbus, Ohio

Citation awarded June, 2007

Lou Mitchell’s strongest bonds to Denison University were forged on the basketball court. In fact, the 1957 Adytum devotes half the description of the basketball team to Lou’s accomplishments: all-time high points scored, most field goals, most free throws, most rebounds, and the only Denison player ever to score 300 or more points per season for four years. Lou, who still holds a number of Denison basketball records, was inducted into the Denison Athletic Hall of Fame in 1975.

Lou’s interest in sports has never waned. He has served as a Director of the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers for ten years, and is currently the sponsor of the Licking County Settlers in the Great Lakes Collegiate [wooden-bat] Baseball League.

At Denison, Lou’s involvement in funding the $7 million project for a new recreation/fitness facility led to the Mitchell Recreation and Fitness Center being named for his family. New seats in Livingston Gymnasium as well as new bleachers, lights and a press box for the Denison baseball field are only two examples of Lou’s lifelong interest in Denison athletics.

In his hometown of Newark, Ohio, signs of his interest and generosity in sports and education are everywhere, including a recently constructed gymnasium for the YMCA. In 1991, Lou, while serving as President of County Savings Bank, established and provided the original funding for A Call to College, an access program for Newark High School students. A Call to College now has an endowment of approximately $5 million and provides funding and financial aid counseling for some 200 NHS students annually as they enter college. Lou’s commitment to Columbus, Ohio has included being actively involved for many years in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program, where he has not only been President but has a long record of serving as a big brother himself.

Throughout the years, Lou has given yeoman service to Denison, volunteering to be an active part of every capital campaign since he graduated. He served on class reunion committees through almost all his previous reunions, and for the last two years has been co-chair of the 1957 Golden Anniversary Reunion. Finally, he has served as a valued member of the Denison Board of Trustees since 1978, and was elected to Life Trustee status in 1998.