MVNU remembers prominent university partner Glenn Thorne

Mount Vernon, Ohio

Glenn Thorne, a prominent Mount Vernon Nazarene University partner, passed away March 26. Thorne sat on the MVNU Board of Trustees for 24 years. His contributions to the university were instrumental in the construction of the Thorne Library and Resource Center, the Prince Student Union, and several other buildings on campus; he also supported student scholarships and several Cougar athletic teams. 

Born in Salem, Ohio in 1929, Thorne was a graduate of Salem High School and attended both Mount Union University — where he ran on the cross country team — and Eastern Nazarene College.  He also served in the United States Air Force. As a businessperson, Thorne acquired a reputation for Christian entrepreneurship. His company, Thorne Management, Inc., emphasizes biblical ethics over profit. In addition to his business sense, Thorne was known for his insight and vision and was renowned as a man of great faith. He served as a mentor to many in business and, as a member of the East Ohio District of the Church of the Nazarene, to many in his local congregation. Thorne and his wife, Shirlee, were dynamic and faithful members of their Salem church body and were strong supporters of their pastors and of the local church program.

In 1984, Thorne became a member of the MVNU Board of Trustees.

“Glenn Thorne was a quiet giant among us," said Lebron Fairbanks, former MVNU president. "He was a strong advocate for Christian higher education, its values, foundations, and its commitment to integrate faith and learning.”

A plaque hangs on MVNU campus commemorating his time as a board member. He served on six committees over the course of 24 years before stepping down in 2008.

His contributions to the university were not limited to the board; he was an active supporter of MVNU in numerous capacities, dedicating time and resources to a variety of projects.  The Thorne Library and Resource Center, which bears his name, is only one of the many endeavors he made possible with his extraordinary giving. In response to his investment in and impact on the life of the university, Thorne was awarded an honorary doctorate in 1993 and, in 2005, he and Shirlee received a Citation of Merit, the highest award anyone can receive from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. The Citation of Merit is awarded to persons who are dedicated to making a difference in the world and specifically those who have made a significant impact on behalf of MVNU.

“Glenn Thorne is truly a pillar of MVNU," said Henry Spaulding, current MVNU president. " His wise counsel, generous spirit, unwavering support, and his prayers were crucial in the development of the campus.  Dr. Thorne has now joined that great cloud of witnesses we read about in Hebrews and he will forever be a witness urging MVNU to realize its full stature as a Wesleyan-Holiness university.”

The Glenn F. Thorne Memorial Endowment was established in his honor. To contribute to the endowment fund, give online at or by mail to Mount Vernon Nazarene University, 800 Martinsburg Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050.

--Mount Vernon Nazarene University

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