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Thursday, Mar 05, 2015

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First Lady Deborah McDavis, President Roderick J. McDavis, Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi

First Lady Deborah McDavis, President Roderick J. McDavis, and Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi share a laugh during the Leadership Awards Gala.

Photographer: Chris Franz

President McDavis

"We are a better university because of what you have done," McDavis told the audience.

Photographer: Chris Franz

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Awards gala honors campus leaders

More than 40 individuals and organizations recognized

More than 40 Ohio University students and organizations were honored Wednesday evening during the 30th Annual Leadership Awards Gala in the Baker University Center Ballroom.

The event, hosted by the Division of Student Affairs, included a candlelight dinner and dessert reception. Sponsors were Amstar Energy, Beta Theta Pi, Ohio University Credit Union, Ohio Realty and University Medical Associates.

“Leadership is not just about people, it’s about opportunity,” Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi told the audience. “It’s how we make the most of those opportunities that come before us. OHIO is full of opportunities—it’s a place where transformation occurs. The students we celebrate tonight have fully grasped those opportunities. They’ve taken full advantage and in doing so have created more opportunities for our institution and for future Bobcats.”

In his message, titled “The Role of Leadership at OHIO,” President Roderick McDavis reiterated Lombardi’s words.

“Whether you win one of these awards or not, you are all winners,” McDavis said. “In years from now, we will remember you and what you did to make this a better university. We are a better university because of what you have done.”

The student leaders honored represent the best of the University, McDavis said, and are ambassadors for its dedication to excellence.

“The true strength of Ohio University is its people,” McDavis said. “When you go forth and do great things, Ohio University goes forth and does great things. I know you will uphold the greatness of those that came before you and I know that you will add to all the greatness that our university is about.”

Though many students and organizations were honored throughout the evening, the most anticipated award was the announcement of the next student trustee. Sophomore Keith Wilbur was selected to serve a two-year term on the Ohio University Board of Trustees by Gov. John Kasich. When he went on stage to accept the award, all he could say was “wow.”

Other distinguished award winners of the program included Kerrigan Award winner Zainab Kandeh, a sophomore and broadcast journalism major; John Newton Templeton Outstanding Senior Kayla Hardimon, a broadcast journalism major; Jiuqing Chen, winner of the Charles J. Ping International Student Leadership Award; senior Melinda Ruberg, and Student Senate’s Off-Campus Life Commissioner, who won the Edwin L. Kennedy Community Service Award; and Ryan Vollrath, who won both the Stonewall Leadership Award and a Pepsi Ohio University Campus Leadership Scholarship.

In their remarks, both Lombardi and McDavis reminded the students that “once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat.”

“Wherever you go, whatever you do, OHIO is your second home. You are always welcome back,” McDavis said. “We will be grateful for everything you have done and will do.”

Leadership Award Winners

The following individuals and organizations were honored Wednesday at the Leadership Awards Gala:

  • Charles J. Ping International Student Leadership Award: Jiuging Cheng
  • Stonewall Leadership Award: Ryan Vollrath
  • Women's Issues Leadership Award: Hannah Dunn & Laura Hyde
  • Blackburn Spencer Scholarship Award: Tiarra Comer, Kamerynn Harrah and Christina Myles
  • Blackburn Spencer Achievement Award: Kaila Brown, Gabrielle Kisner and Tessa Scott
  • Latino Heritage Achievement Award: Natalie Mahomar, Alexandra Taylor and Ivan Velez
  • Francine Childs Diversity Leadership Award: Brittainy Erby
  • Edwin L. Kennedy Award Leadership Award for Outstanding Community Service: Melinda Ruberg, individual; Chi Sigma Iota, organization
  • Outstanding Programming Awards: Phi Beta Sigma, spring 2012; International Student Union, fall 2012; Empowering Women of Ohio, spring 2013; Students Teaching About Racism in Society (STARS), late-night programming
  • Pepsi Ohio University Campus Leadership Scholarships: Alex Martinez, Cidnye Weimer, Daniel Mulvey, Danielle Fultz, Hannah Back, Jackson Lavelle, Jordan Tyler, Jordan Tyner, Joshua Frash, Lauretta Werner and Mollie Geske
  • Kerrigan Award: Zainab Kandeh
  • The Rudy Leadership Award for Outstanding Student Leadership: Alexandra Slaymaker
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award: Tynita White, master’s; Laura Pressley, doctoral
  • Outstanding Senior Leader Awards: Amelia Shaw, Danielle Parker, Hilary Johnson, Drew Hudson, Laura Hyde, Madison Medley, Thomas MacKenzie and Zachary George
  • John Newton Templeton Outstanding Senior Leader: Kayla Hardimon
  • Student Trustee: Keith Wilbur