Arnold and Marion Ott

Arnold and Marion Ott

This scholarship was created by Dr. Arnold C. Ott and Mrs. Marion P. Ott to honor Ms. Hilda C. Holder for her professional and personal service to the Otts for over forty years. Honoring Hilda with this scholarship is an expression of the Otts’ love for her and their appreciation of her loyal service to them. The Otts describe her as “resourceful, loyal, trusting, honest, and steadfast in good faith;” she possesses much knowledge and has had the deep and vital experiences which make her effective and successful.

Ms. Hilda Holder, a 1949 graduate of Hunter College, New York City, started her career as a secretary. In 1952 she was employed by Corn Products Co. and in 1954 became Executive Secretary to Dr. Arnold Ott, Corporate VP and Scientific Director. In 1969 both Dr. Ott and Ms. Holder moved their families to Grand Rapids. As Dr. Ott’s business associate, Ms. Holder was also involved in his venture capital and business consulting firm until Dr. Ott’s retirement.

Dr. Ott, a graduate of Michigan State University, a chemist by profession, started his career in research and development for the Upjohn Company. In 1956 he founded the Ott Chemical Company in Muskegon, Michigan which was subsequently sold to CPC International, Inc; Dr. Ott continued as corporate vice president and scientific director. In 1971 Dr. Ott began a venture capital firm with Herbert Doan who was associated with the Dow Chemical Company and Foundation. In 1978 Dr. Ott established his own firm, Rivertree Ltd., in Grand Rapids for investment banking and consultation. Dr. Ott also consulted with Amway Corporation.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ott was greatly involved with Grand Valley State University. Since GVSU received its charter, he served with Bill Seidman’s Citizens Council that raised the first $1 million to kick-off the fledgling college. He served as vice-chairman of the Board of Control from 1961-1975 and as its chairman from 1978-1979. In recognition of this service, the Arnold C. Ott Living Center was named after him and he was named an ex-officio life member of the board of trustees; he is an honorary member of the GVU Foundation board. In 2001, Dr. Ott graciously created and endowed the Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry at Grand Valley State University.