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Gerlach Award

Seal of The Ohio State University on the Oval

Gerlach Award 2023

The Outstanding Development Volunteer Award was created in 1996 to recognize and reward those who show the utmost in dedicated involvement and personal investment in fundraising efforts at Ohio State. In May 1997, The Ohio State University Foundation Board of Directors decided unanimously to name the award in honor of the late John B. "Bernie" Gerlach Sr., one of the most active and dedicated supporters of the university throughout his lifetime.

2023 Recipients: Carter G. Phillips and Sue J. Henry

When they met at Northwestern University on their first day of law school, Carter Phillips ’73, ’11 DRH and Sue Henry never imagined how much time, talent and treasure they would later jointly bestow upon Ohio State.

But today, their philanthropic leadership — ranging from financial support for faculty and students to board service and mentorship — has spanned across 35 years for the university’s benefit. They give in many ways and are deeply deserving of this year’s Gerlach Award.

As a Partner of Sidley Austin LLP, in its Washington, D.C. office, Carter is the most experienced Supreme Court lawyer in private practice, arguing 90 cases over a 40-year span. Carter is a former managing partner of Sidley’s D.C. office and the former Chair of Sidley’s Executive Committee. His connection to Ohio State dates back to his undergraduate years, earning a bachelor’s in political science. Sue, a retired labor relations lawyer, also studied political science at Miami University.

In 2010, their mutual love of this field inspired them to endow the Carter Phillips and Sue Henry Professorship in the Department of Political Science. A few years later, they created the Max D. Phillips Endowed Scholarship Fund — in Carter’s father’s name — to help support undergraduate education in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Carter further pays forward through dedicated service. He has been an active member of The Ohio State University Foundation Board of Directors since 2012, serving as secretary since 2019, and is now the Board’s Vice Chair. He also has been a member of the Directorship and Nominating Committee since 2014. He has also served on the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Committee since 2015.

Further, Carter warmly extends wisdom and work to his alma mater. In addition to mentoring faculty and alumni, he mentors students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Moritz College of Law and many who study in Washington, D.C. He frequently meets with and provides connections for these students. He also shares with them stories, insights and experiences from throughout his esteemed legal career, which includes legal positions as a clerk for U.S. Appeals Court Judge Robert Sprecher and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, as well as being an Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General.

“Any time I can mentor our students, I will jump at it. They're the future, and it makes a real difference in my life to do everything I can to enhance their experience so that next step is an easy one for them.”

Carter Phillips

An alumna of Miami University, Sue recognizes, “I've learned that Ohio State is really an amazing university that makes contributions across the nation.” She shares Carter’s passion and enthusiasm for supporting students in their quest to contribute meaningfully as part of that legacy.

Together, through service, tireless mentorship and philanthropic contributions, Carter and Sue give generously to support the next generation of Buckeyes — and the continued success of Ohio State.

Past Recipients