Internationally prominent attorney John Deaver Drinko, a 1942 graduate of what was then Marshall College, was one of Marshall University’s strongest and most consistent supporters for many years.
A native of St Marys, West Virginia, John Drinko earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from The Ohio State University in 1944 and completed postgraduate work at the University of Texas Law School where he was a member of the Order of the Coif.
He became an associate in the distinguished Baker & Hostetler law firm in Cleveland, Ohio in 1945, became a partner in 1955 and managing partner in 1969, and is senior advisor to the management committee. Under his leadership, Baker & Hostetler grew to become one of the largest and most respected law firms in the nation with offices in several major cities.
While actively engaged in several philanthropic pursuits, John Drinko earned a national reputation for his singular support of higher education. As evidence of his unstinting interest, Dr. Drinko received honorary degrees from a dozen institutions of higher learning including Marshall, Ohio State, New Hampshire, John Carroll, Capital, Rio Grande, Cleveland State and Mayers universities, Baldwin-Wallace, Notre Dame of Ohio, Ursuline, Marietta and Keystone colleges.
He received distinguished alumnus awards from Marshall and Ohio State and St. Marys (W.Va.) High School and was named a Distinguished Fellow of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Drinko was also the recipient of the first John Marshall Medal for Civic Responsibility and the Outstanding Philanthropist Award of the West Virginia Chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. He was a member of the John Marshall Society and is an inductee of the Hall of Fame of Marshall”s Elizabeth McDowell Lewis College of Business. The Ohio State University College of Law building is named in his honor, as is Cleveland State’s Fine and Performing Arts Recital Hall. More recently, Marshall University named its new library in Dr. Drinko’s honor. He was also a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason and a Jester.
John Drinko was the founder of the consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers and the Mellen Conference on Acute and Critical Care Nursing, Case Western Reserved University School of Nursing. He was a trustee of the Elizabeth G. and John D. Drinko Charitable Foundation, The Ohio State University Foundation and the Marshall University Foundation. He was also a member of the Founder Society of the Cleveland Orchestra.
John Drinko also has served as Chairman of the Board of the Cleveland Institute of Electronics and the Double D Ranch, Inc. He served on the boards of Cloyes Gear and Products Inc., McGean-Rohco and McGean-Rohco Worldwide Inc., The Orvis Company Inc. and Preformed Line Products.
He and Mrs. Drinko, the former Elizabeth Gibson, were married May 14, 1946. They are the parents of four children: Elizabeth Lee Sullivan, Diana Lynn Drinko, John Randall Drinko and Jay Deaver Drinko.
Dr. John Deaver Drinko died on January 30, 2008 at the age of 86 in Palm Springs, California.
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Eulogy delivered by Dr. Alan B. Gould at the Memorial Service for John Deaver Drinko held on March 29, 2008 at the Church of the Covenant in Cleveland, Ohio.