Office of Student Life

Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program

Letter to a Mentor - Tommy Bowles

May 29, 2020 by Beth Johnson

Dear Senator John Glenn,

I will never be able to thank you enough for all that you have done for my family and me. But I hope I have made you proud. Back in 2016, I was selected as the first-ever recipient of the John and Annie Glenn scholarship for incoming Public Affairs students at Ohio State. I remember meeting you and your family at a Glenn College board meeting in Page Hall to accept the scholarship. Your daughter Lyn gave me a tour of your office in the building and had me sit in your chair from the United States Senate. She told me that could be me someday. Nothing has ever inspired me more in my life than meeting my childhood hero and his family. In the moment, I knew my life was forever changed, but never could I imagine the true impact the Glenn family would have on my life.

As a Glenn College student, I have studied for a career in public service while being part of a family. The Glenn College faculty and staff have changed my life for good and made me the man I am today. Your foresight to invest in America’s future leaders shaped the most amazing four years of my life. Your generosity and belief in an 18-year-old kid from Westlake, Ohio have allowed me to go through college without the overwhelming burden of student loans and financial insecurity.

Through the opportunities opened to me through the Glenn Scholarship and the Glenn College, I was able to get involved on campus and chase every dream I had at Ohio State. As a member of the Mount Leadership Society Scholars, I was able to perform over 200 hours of service in my community while building on my leadership skills. As a student, I carried a 3.97 GPA and held seven different internships in college—including one through the Washington Academic Internship Program, which allowed me to live, work, and learn for a summer on Capitol Hill. I raised over $4,000 for Buckeyethon to help eradicate childhood cancer. I was accepted into the Buckeye Leadership Fellows—the most transformational experience of my life where I met some of my best friends and the most amazing leaders on campus. I traveled the world to discuss international peace negotiations in China, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. I was President of the Club Wrestling team, a two-time national qualifier in wrestling, and an NCWA Academic All-American. I was a senator in Undergraduate Student Government and served as Chair of the University Recreational Sports Committee through shared governance. This Fall, I was named the 2019 Ohio State Homecoming King, and this Spring was recognized as one of Ohio State’s 20 “Outstanding Seniors”. Every step of the way I thought of you. I wanted to make you proud. I wanted to honor your legacy. I wanted to show my campus and my community that—as you said—truly, the most fulfilled people in life are those who dedicate themselves to something greater than their own self-interest. Your generosity made this possible. I am where I am today because of you.

As I graduate, I look back on the best four years of my life with no regrets and a heart full of gratitude. To the Glenn Family, Dean Trevor Brown, Chris Adams, Whitney Brown; Dr. John Horack, Dr. Newton and the Battelle Center; Katy Hogan and the Washington Academic Internship Program; and all of the amazing faculty, staff, and friends I have met in the Glenn College: thank you. My life is better because of you, and I will never stop trying to make you proud. While my undergraduate years are coming to a close, my opportunity to build upon the Glenn legacy is just beginning to blossom. A life of public service is possible because of you. Though we miss you every day, we smile knowing that your legacy lives on in each of us at the Glenn College.


Thomas C. Bowles