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University confers honorary degree to alumna


Ohio University today bestowed an honorary doctorate on one of the University's most distinguished alumni. President Roderick J. McDavis presented Violet L. Patton with a Doctor of Humane Letters degree at her home in Southern California.

Renée Middleton, dean of the Gladys W. And David H. Patton College of Education, and Ann Paulins, professor and chair of the department of Human and Consumer Sciences Education, assisted with the degree conferral.

A graduate of Ohio University and a native of southern Ohio, Patton is an accomplished educator, illustrator, professor and mentor. Throughout her distinguished career, she worked with nationally renowned artists including Norman Rockwell; educated future pioneers such as Neil Armstrong; and co-authored books with her parents Gladys and David Patton, alumni of Ohio University and respected educators in their own right.

"During her illustrious career, she helped students achieve their promise and opened them to new worlds through art education. She is passionate about her dedication and we are very honored to recognize her distinguished achievements with the granting of this honorary degree," McDavis said.

Understanding that art and education are not separate initiatives, she devoted her career to making arts education the foundation in education. At a time when arts education is at risk in our country, she brought it to the forefront, solidified it as a cornerstone of her alma mater with an extremely generous gift to establish The Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education at Ohio University.

Patton College Dean Renea Middleton read from the citation: "A pioneer and advocate for arts education, your work as a textbook illustrator, art teacher, assistant professor of art and mentor to other teachers, as well as your philanthropic pursuits that benefit the field of education, have lifted up generations of students, most especially in Ohio, and established a legacy that is unmatched at your beloved alma mater."

In addition to her career as an art educator, Patton also served as a conference lecturer in venues such as the New York City Museum of Modern Art; developed curriculum for arts education in Southeastern Ohio schools; trained teachers at Miami University; as a volunteer sponsor of Rutgers University's Kappa Pi, a New England Art Honorary; and as Educational Consultant and Editor for Wesleyan University's Publication Division.

Hardworking, energetic and talented are words that supervisors have used to describe Ms. Patton and her commitment to art education. 

One such supervisor, Thomas Cooke McCracken, Ohio University's first provost, wrote of her leadership ability, versatility, "success in her teaching service," and high-level of involvement in student organizations, holding "various positions of honor in these connections." He also went on to say, she is "one of Ohio University's outstanding graduates in the field of art."