David Westmeyer III was sitting in his summer chemistry class on July 15 when a restricted phone call got his attention.
When the caller, Gov. John Kasich, told him he was appointed as the undergraduate representative to the Board of Trustees at the University, Westmeyer felt both humbled and excited.
As Westmeyer recalls the conversation, Kasich, who chooses every Board of Trustees representative in Ohio, said: “‘Congratulations, you should be very proud,’” and then, “‘Call your mom and let her know she should be proud.’”
After that, Westmeyer, a junior majoring in economics, did indeed call his mom to tell her he accomplished the goal he set for himself the moment he stepped foot on campus.
“I felt inspired to do the best I can,” he said. “Very few people get to do this.”
Westmeyer was one of 10 applicants who applied for the two-year post this past year.
USG Vice President David Neely chaired the student-run committee charged with interviewing the applicants, and from there weeded them down to their top five.
From there, University President Mary Ellen Mazey approved and sent the names to the governor’s office, who then made the final choice.
Neely said his committee was in consensus about Westmeyer’s qualifications for the job.
“What stood out about David the most was his passion for BG,” Neely said. “I think he has a good understanding of what students want and where the University wants to go.”
As the undergraduate student representative to the board, Westmeyer will be the link between the board and students; he’ll both relay student feedback to the board and also relay info from the board back to the students, Neely said.
The position is an important one, as the Board of Trustees is the last stop for any major change at the University, Neely said. Recent action from the board include an approval of the 2 percent increase in tuition this fall and the smoking ban that goes into effect in January.
“My role is very much to show the board these decisions don’t just effect some students. They effect all students in different ways,” Westmeyer said. “[Students] can reach out to me.”
Westmeyer was born in Elizabeth City, N.C., and was raised in Toledo, where he graduated from Toledo Christian High School with 56 other students.
He came to the University once he was accepted into the President’s Leadership Academy, a group that accepts 25 members for each class and comes with a full-tuition scholarship.
Apart from interacting with the 99 other student leaders in PLA, Westmeyer is part of Student Ambassadors for the College of Business and a member of VanGuard, which helps men develop character.
“When I got onto campus, I wanted to be involved in every single thing,” he said. “I wanted to be someone that people were impressed by. I wanted to feel like I left my mark..”
Westmeyer said he learned fast that it’s more important for him to be dedicated to a few responsibilities than to stretch himself too thin.
“What I found is that no one is impressed by how much you can talk about yourself or even how much you can accomplish,” he said. “People are impressed at how you can accomplish something with humility and selflessness.”
David Denison, an admissions counselor and a 2013 University graduate, has been friends with Westmeyer for two years. In the time Denison has known Westmeyer, he said he’s noticed his charisma and maturity.
“Wherever David goes and whoever he talks to, he’s articulate and he expresses ideas,” Denison said. “He’s a great representative of BGSU as a student.”
Now that Westmeyer is about to commence his term as the undergraduate representative to the Board of Trustees, he will use his past experiences, and the lessons he’s learned from them, to help him as he takes on the new role.
“I knew I was in a place where I was ready to step up and give back in a bigger way,” he said. “Experiences that allow you to help other people are so much more fulfilling than experiences that allow you to help yourself.”