During a special and much-anticipated 2021 Homecoming Week, members of the Ohio University community gathered to celebrate the unmatched impact a distinguished group of Bobcats has had on the University, their communities, and the world.
The Ohio University Alumni Association’s 2021 Alumni Awards Ceremony honored 14 recipients, who were selected in 2020 and patiently waited until this Homecoming when they could be honored safely in-person at the Oct. 8 event.
“It was an honor to finally celebrate these inspiring graduates, who each have built on their OHIO experience to achieve great success in their careers and make real and lasting change in their communities, all while remaining steadfast in their support for OHIO and its students,” said Erin Essak Kopp, assistant vice president of alumni relations and executive director of the Ohio University Alumni Association.
Alumnus and morning co-host of NBC4 Today Matt Barnes, BSJ ’08, served as the event’s emcee and kicked off the evening by acknowledging the broad impact this year’s recipients have collectively had on so many fellow Bobcats.
“I am so excited and honored to be here to recognize such great alumni who have done such great work both here in Athens and outside since their graduation,” Barnes said. “What you all are doing is playing a role in transforming so many lives. I appreciate all the work you continue to do for my generation and the generations to come after me.”
ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR
The highest honor a graduate can receive, the 2020-2021 Alumnus of the Year award was bestowed upon Frank Krasovec, BBA ’65, MBA ’66, an exceedingly successful serial entrepreneur who has never forgotten his OHIO roots.
“As President of Ohio University, and a longtime friend of Frank Krasovec, I am very happy to see him receiving this prestigious award,” OHIO President Hugh Sherman said when introducing Krasovec. “Frank, you have given back so much to your university over the years. You have been a tireless leader on the Foundation Board of Trustees, and you have been a friend and mentor to so many Ohio University alumni. We thank you for the positive difference you have made in so many lives.”
Many of Krasovec’s achievements and contributions were shared at the event through the following video:
“Everything I learned at Ohio U. helped me, but the most important thing was it refreshed and refocused me on my values,” Krasovec said in his acceptance speech. “I’ve been in half a dozen businesses, and I do business in China with two companies now, and in each of these businesses, if you treat them like a family, they’re probably going to go broke. But, if you keep the family values, they permeate – you do what’s right, you take care of family, you have the team, you’re always there. … What does Ohio University have? Values. They’ve always had them, and that stuck with me.”
MEDAL OF MERIT
The Medal of Merit, the oldest of the University’s alumni awards, was presented to four graduates who have excelled in their chosen fields. The 2020-21 winners are Kevin Everson, MFA ’90; Paul Hubbard, BSED ’65; Carolyn Bailey Lewis, PHD ’07, EMERT ’13; and Lucian Spataro, MS ’91, PHD ’93.
With over 150 short films and nine feature films, Everson is considered one of the most well-respected artists currently working in film and media. He studied fine arts at OHIO in 1990 and now works as a professor at the University of Virginia. Everson has received many accolades for his work, including prestigious awards from the Guggenheim Foundation and the American Academy, among many more.
Hubbard has dedicated his life to public service. After graduating with an education degree, he taught and held community service positions where he addressed issues of housing, employment, homelessness, and youth services in Toledo, Detroit, and throughout Michigan. Hubbard’s efforts have earned him over 100 awards, including the Detroit Citizen of the Year Award, a Community Service Award presented by Congresswoman Barbara Rose Collins, and an appointment by U.S. President Clinton.
During her extensive career in radio and broadcasting, Lewis made strides as the first African American woman director of WOUB Public Media and the first African American woman general manager of a PBS station in the U.S. Lewis is the co-founder and chair of the Dr. Carolyn Foster Bailey Lewis Family Foundation, which supports individuals with health issues and provides scholarships to the socio-economically disadvantaged.
Spataro is a staunch advocate for civics education and sustainability. Since his role as president and CEO of the Joe Foss Institute, a nonprofit organization promoting civics education, he has become a senior fellow and director of the Center for Political Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, gathering more than $16 million in grant funding for civics education advocacy. An avid equestrian and passionate environmentalist, Spataro is the author of Ride Across America: An Environmental Commitment, documenting his 2,900-mile cross-country trek to raise funds for the Rainforest Action Network.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
The Distinguished Service Award recognizes alumni who have supported Ohio University with their time, talents, or treasure. This year’s recipients are Laura Brege BBA, AB ’78; Julie Mann Keppner, BBA ’02; David Pidwell, BSEE ’69, MS ’70; and Charles Stuckey, BSME ’66, HON ’05.
While at OHIO, Brege studied political science and economics in the Honors Tutorial College. She now works as a senior adviser at BridgeBio Pharma, a company that develops breakthrough medicines for genetic diseases. Her invaluable service to OHIO has included terms on The Ohio University Foundation Board of Directors, Ohio University Board of Trustees, and HTC Board of Visitors. In addition to her work on multiple OHIO committees, Brege has served on the board of directors of several public life science companies and chaired the international nonprofit educational organization CIEE.
Keppner currently serves as vice president of product for PerformLine, a platform delivering automated solutions to mitigate regulatory risk for businesses. Living in Charlotte, North Carolina, she has served as the former president of the local OHIO alumni chapter, creating programs such as the Charlotte Networking Week to support current business students. Keppner has also selflessly devoted her time through leadership roles on The Ohio University Foundation Board, the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the College of Business Executive Advisory Board.
After studying engineering at OHIO, Pidwell held executive positions with the Rolm Corporation and the Rasna Corporation, a mechanical design automation software company that he founded. He has since joined Alloy Ventures as a partner and now teaches at Stanford University’s Graduate College of Business. A champion of entrepreneurship and innovation, he has been instrumental in launching several OHIO initiatives, including TechGROWTH Ohio, the C-Suite, and the Ohio Innovation Fund. Pidwell’s service has extended to roles on the Ohio University Board of Trustees, The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Russ College Board of Visitors.
With over 30 years of management and sales technology experience, Stuckey is the former chairman, president, and CEO of RSA Security, a leading computer security company. He has served on the Ohio University Board of Trustees, The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Russ College Board of Visitors. His efforts as co-chair of the Promise Lives Campaign Steering Committee were essential to the campaign’s success, and his support was critical to the construction of the Academic and Research Center in 2010.
CHARLES J. AND CLAIRE O. PING RECENT GRADUATE AWARD
Presented to alumni who have excelled in their chosen field and in their service to Ohio University and their communities within 15 years of graduating, the Charles J. and Claire O. Ping Recent Graduate Award 2020-21 recipients are Robert Redd, BBA ’09, and Alyson Shupe, BBA, BA ’08.
A College of Business graduate, Redd started his career with Dell. He currently works as the director of sales strategy and previously held positions in corporate audit, sales compensations, and integration. As the recruiting liaison for Dell Finance, he works closely with Ohio University’s College of Business to place current students in internships and full-time jobs. He also regularly hosts business students during networking trips to Austin, Texas, where he resides.
Since studying finance in the College of Business, Shupe has risen through progressively advanced positions with J.P. Morgan Chase. She currently serves as head of Americas Funds Product Strategy after roles as executive director and vice president of U.S. Funds Product Strategy and as a private banking analyst. She lives in New York City, where she hosts regular visits for current students and acts as a constant resource for young alumni in the NYC area.
THE KERMIT BLOSSER OHIO ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME
In partnership with Intercollegiate Athletics, the Alumni Awards Ceremony included the induction of the 2020-2021 class of inductees into the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees are Geoffrey Carlston; Jennifer Scholl, BSED ’93; and the 1970 Baseball Team.
After leading Ohio Volleyball as head coach from 2003-2007, Geoffrey Carlston is back in the role. During his first tenure as head coach, the Bobcats reached the NCAA Tournament in each of his five seasons, won the regular-season conference title each year, and finished the five-season span with a 144-22 record. Ohio won 78 of 80 MAC matches, went 14-1 in the MAC tournament, and won four tournament trophies. His .968 winning percentage against MAC foes is the highest in conference history.
Jennifer Scholl was a four-year letter winner for Bobcats Swimming and Diving from 1989-1992 while studying elementary education. In 1991, she set records for three events: the 100-meter breaststroke, 200 medley relay, and 400 medley relay. The Swimming and Diving team secured overall MAC championships all four years she was on the team, and she helped secure MAC titles in the 200 and 400 medley relay in 1991 and 1992. She received national recognition in 1991 when she was named an NCAA All-American.
Perhaps the most decorated team in OHIO history, the 1970 Bobcats Baseball team left an undeniable mark on the record books. The squad earned OHIO’s 12th MAC Championship, posting a league record of 14-1. The team led the nation in batting average and posted a team ERA of just 3.19. OHIO traveled to the NCAA District IV playoffs, advanced to the College World Series for the only time in program history and earned a fourth-place finish that stands today as the best-ever finish by a member of the MAC.
Nominations for the 2022 Alumni Awards are currently being accepted. Please see the awards nominations webpage for more details.