Studenmund’s tour de force

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Matt Studenmund completed his 290th and final tour of Ohio State on July 20. Studenmund, a 2014 Fairbanks graduate, holds the record for most tours given in OSU history.

(Photo submitted)

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An average college student might spend time thinking about passing classes and getting their degree, but Matt Studenmund was doing that while beating cancer and breaking school records.

Studenmund, a 2014 graduate of Fairbanks High School, set the record on July 20 for most campus tours given at OSU.

During his three years as a University Ambassador, the students who lead campus tours for prospective OSU students, Studenmund gave 290 tours. At 90 minutes each, that totals over 18 days he spent walking backwards with high school students.

“I love OSU with everything I have and I wanted to go out and share that passion,” he said.

While he said he quickly fell in love with the campus, going to one of the largest schools in the nation didn’t always resemble what he was used to in Union County.

“It was definitely more of a transition because here are 45,000 people and I really only know five,” he said.

To make campus feel more like home, Studenmund said he sought out a smaller community through becoming involved with student organizations. He helped new students move in as an Ohio State Welcome Leader and joined his dorm’s Hall Council. After his sophomore year, in summer 2016, he was hired as a University Ambassador.

“I have a great family at home and in Marysville, but it wasn’t truly until Ambassadors that I felt that family at OSU,” he said.

He said he immediately knew this was a group of friends he could joke and have fun with, but a year later, he learned that he could lean on them through tough times as well.

During summer 2017, Studenmund was unexpectedly diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

“It was a shell shock because it was like, I’m supposed to graduate in a year and now I have to put everything in my life on hold,” he said.

A month after his diagnosis, he began a four-month period of chemotherapy treatments. Through them, he said the Ambassadors were by his side to support him, along with his family and friends from Marysville.

“One of the biggest things was just treating me like a normal student,” he said. “They weren’t afraid to make jokes with me and they helped me to forget about everything else that was going on.”

Following his treatment, Studenmund was given “the all-clear” in January 2018 and has been cancer-free since.

“That experience really showed me how blessed I am to have all these people I can rely on. It made me want to express my gratitude for them as much as I possibly could,” he said.

Although he felt for a moment like he’d put his life on hold, it didn’t slow his track to becoming the most experienced Ambassador in OSU history.

Two years after his cancer diagnosis, surrounded by dozens of the friends and family members that were with him in the hospital, Studenmund completed his final tour. To cap it off, he shared why he chose to attend Ohio State and what the school means to him, which he summed up as “family.”

“I was choked up a couple of times because I really wouldn’t have been here without them,” he said.

Despite being “very bittersweet,” he said it was the ideal way to close the chapter of his life at OSU. Studenmund is now at pursuing his Master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Indiana University.

Through a career in higher education, Studenmund said he hopes to encourage students with the same advice he shared during every tour: pursue your passions, wherever it takes you.

“Ohio State was that place for me – go out and find that place for you,” he said.



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