Mary Ellen Withrow
2019 Hall of Fame Inductee
Mary Ellen Withrow has had a long and noteworthy career in public service.
In 1969, she became the first woman elected to the Elgin Local School Board in her native Marion County, Ohio. In 1976, Withrow won election as the Marion County treasurer, and was re-elected in 1980. Before completing her second term, Ohio voters elected Withrow to be state treasurer, a post she held from 1982 through 1994. In this capacity she excelled. In 1990, City & State Newspaper selected her as the country's Most Valuable State Public Official.
As Ohio's state treasurer, Withrow instituted new programs, achieved record earnings, and was nationally recognized for her efficient management and commitment to fiscal responsibility. Of note were the STAR Ohio Program, which allowed government subdivisions to invest funds in a public investment pool, and Linked Deposit, which encouraged lending to historically underutilized businesses by providing lenders and borrowers a lower cost of capital.
Withrow served as president of the National Association of State Treasurers in 1992 and as president of NASACT in 1990.
In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated her as U.S. treasurer. The United States Senate confirmed her unanimously, making Withrow the first person to serve as treasurer at all three levels of government – local, state and national. She served in this position from March 4, 1994, until the end of President Clinton's term on January 21, 2001.
As U.S. Treasurer, Withrow introduced the State Quarters Project, and authorized the issuance of the Sacagawea dollar and the redesign of the five, ten, twenty, fifty, and one hundred-dollar bills. She was awarded a Guinness World Record for having her name on more paper currency than anyone else in the country’s history.
Withrow is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Donald L. Scantlebury Memorial Award from the U.S. Treasury's Joint Financial Management Improvement Program.
Withrow is an activist for women in government and has served as a board member for the non-profit Women Executives in State Government. She is an inductee into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Women Executives in State Government fellowship to Harvard University.
A national model of fiscal integrity, and a tireless advocate for women in government, Withrow has been a champion of government excellence throughout her illustrious career.