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State government luncheon highlights alumni, awards student accomplishments

ATHENS, Ohio (June 7, 2005) -- Kate Bartter (BS, journalism, '87), chief policy adviser and director of cabinet affairs for Gov. Bob Taft, was awarded the Ohio University State Government Alumni Award at the 22nd Annual Ohio University State Government Alumni Luncheon held in Columbus on May 17 at the Athletic Club.

Ohio Senate Chief of Staff Teri Geiger introduced Bartter, and Neil Clark, principal of State Street Consultants, and Jon Allison, Ohio governor's office chief of staff, presented the award. "The policies she has advocated were often difficult ones, yet she has endured and persisted in her work," Clark said of Bartter.

"One of the most valuable things I received from Ohio University was a great liberal arts degree that taught me how to think," Bartter said. "I owe a sincere thank you to Ohio University." Bartter also serves as the governor's executive assistant for Environmental and Natural Resources, and acts as the primary liaison between Taft and the Ohio EPA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Additionally, Senate President Bill Harris (Ashland) received the Dan Schneider Strategic Leadership Award. Named for the former director of the Public Children Services Association of Ohio (PCSAO) and of the National Network for Child Safety, the Dan Schneider Award is meant to honor a person who leads by creating public value and inspiring others to change their communities for the better.

Sen. Harris was chosen as the recipient because of his public service career and leadership achievements.

Harris said it was humbling to be asked to accept an award for his work. "I know there are so many people who are much more deserving," he said. A longtime friend of Schneider, Harris said it was his privilege to work alongside the former director of the National Network for Child Safety. "Maybe this award will help me follow in the footsteps Dan left on this earth. My prayer is that each one of us will strive to be the type of servant Dan was."

"This award recognizes one's achievements - a person whose clear vision and dedicated service enhances both their profession and the lives they touch," said PCSAO Legislative Director Gayle Channing Tennenbaum, who presented the award. "The Dan Schneider Award is in honor of a remarkable human being to another remarkable human being. In all positions Bill has held, he has done so with care and concern for other human beings."

Each year an outstanding alumnus is honored with the award and is named a member of the Ohio University Public Affairs Advisory Committee. The criteria for the award include significant achievement in their profession, significant public service to Ohio and service contributions for the public affairs programs at Ohio University.

Students were recognized at the luncheon for their public service achievements. Maggie O'Toole and Kenneth Prabucki, both sophomore political science majors, were introduced as this year's Capital Scholars. Both O'Toole and Prabucki received scholarships and plan to use them to further their studies through internships. The Capital Scholars Program is a leadership development program designed by the Department of Political Science and the Voinovich Center to help outstanding students gain experience in practical and applied settings.

O'Toole, originally from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, will intern at the National Assembly in Wales this summer, where she will assist in anything from legislative research to meeting with constituents.

"Through this experience, I hope to gain an understanding as to how politics operate on a day-to-day level," O'Toole said. "I've always wanted to do this with my life, and I think that this trip will help me to see what a life in the world of politics would really be like."

State Sen. Joy Padgett closed the program, recognizing eight Ohio University students who, prior to the luncheon, presented posters about their project work at the Voinovich Center. Padgett commended the students for their involvement in projects that take them off campus and into the community. "Universities are catalysts for involvement in business, the environment, economic development and public policy," she said.

The students involved included Andrew Goodhart and Casey Westlake, who are working on survey research concerning Local Development Districts that is funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission; Emily McMillin, who is developing a sediment total maximum daily load report for the Raccoon Creek watershed that will be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Russ Keller, who is studying the impact of Amish abstinence from participating in Food Stamp programs on the total state aid allowance; Elise McMath, who is evaluating various FoodNet programs and collecting data on the impact of the Food We Love marketing effort in the region; Annie Johnston, who is evaluating the Ryan White 9C AIDS Consortium and authored a 60-page report for the Ohio Department of Health; Phil Tribble, who developed a business plan for Marietta-based Visum, LLC, which resulted in $750,000 of venture capital funding for Visum; and Venkat Krovi, who designed and conducted a survey for Envirotest, which operates the Ohio-mandated emission testing process, or E-Check, for 14 Ohio counties.

More than 120 alumni and friends gathered for the luncheon, which was hosted by President Roderick McDavis on behalf of the Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs and the Department of Political Science. McDavis was enthusiastically received by alumni and friends of Ohio University.

"What an honor to serve at the greatest university in the United States," said McDavis, inciting a round of applause. He went on to say that his goal for the university is to be a leader in public service.

"In the 21st century, a public university has an increased responsibility to the community," he said. "Every day we think about how to make Ohio University a better university and how to improve the quality of life for people in our community."

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Media Contact: George Mauzy, (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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