In 2010, Ohio University Chillicothe started a new tradition during the annual honors convocation in June. As part of the ceremony, the University recognizes outstanding alumni who have made an impact on the campus and the community. These former students exemplify service to the university, philanthropic support, recognition in their professional field and service to the community.
Rich Bebee Alumni Award Recipients
The Rich Bebee Alumni Award recognizes former Ohio University Chillicothe students who exemplify serve to the university, philanthropic support, recognition in their professional field and service to the community, The award is named in honor of Richard Bebee, who was Dean of the Chillicothe campus from 2001 - 2019.
Ed Kunzelman earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio University in 1967. He taught English before founding and serving as the CEO of Petland, Inc. He and his wife, JoAnn, owned and operated several downtown businesses including Ivy's Home and Garden and The History Store on North Paint Street. He has served on Chillicothe City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the Ross County Historical Society, Downtown Merchants, and was a founding member of the Downtown Development Commission. He has nurtured a lifelong interest in the city’s history and future and has dedicated time and resources to making the downtown a thriving, sustainable, enjoyable place to work and live.
Pat earned her Cadet Teaching Certificate by attending evening classes through Ohio University Chillicothe at Chillicothe High School in the late 1940s and early 1950s. She then earned her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1969. She is a strong supporter of Ohio University Chillicothe and the Chillicothe community. Pat taught elementary grades at Huntington Local Schools and Madison Local Schools. She finished her thirty-year career teaching junior high math at Alexander Local Schools in Athens County. She has authored nine books on Chillicothe. Additionally, Pat has been inducted into the Ross County Women's Hall of Fame, and after returning to Chillicothe in 1989 she received many local wards, including the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums' Award of Achievement, the Ross Pride Civic Award, and the Community Service Award from the 32nd Degree Masons, Valley of Columbus. Pat has been an active volunteer at the Ross County Historical Society where she organizes, preserves, and catalogs the documents in the Society's archivist collection. She is a member of the Society's Board of Trustees and has served as the organization's president. Over her years of service, she has spoken to numerous organizations on topics of local history, and for 17 years was a contributing writer of a local history column for the Chillicothe Gazette.
Joyce Atwood earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Ohio University in 1965 and a master's degree in Elementary Education in 1969. Joyce has served for over 43 years in education. Her time in the Chillicothe School District includes roles like reading teacher, elementary school principal, and assistant superintendent. Joyce has always sought to better her community through numerous civic organizations and activities. Over the years, she has been the recipient of numerous awards including an Educator Emeritus award, the Red Cross Hero award, the Altrusa Mamie L. Bass award, the Ohio Creative Staff Development award from the ACSD, and the 2015 Jaycees Citizen of the Year Award. In addition, Joyce was the first woman inducted into the Ross County chapter of the Kiwanis Club and an inductee of the Ross County Women's Hall of Fame at the Ross County Chamber of Commerce. At Ohio University Chillicothe, Joyce served as Director of Development and Alumni Relations and was the organizer of many noteworthy events celebrating women's accomplishments. Joyce has been a role model to many. Friends and colleagues note that she is generous, kind, wise, humble, indefatigable, passionate, and principled. As a role model, she continues to touch lives through the Joyce Atwood Scholarship for Ross County high school seniors and becoming the 2021 Women of Distinction award winner.
Marvin E. Jones
Marvin Jones earned his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Ohio University in 1971. Jones began his professional career in journalism at the Chillicothe Gazette in 1969. He served in many roles: city editor, reporter covering city government and business and sports editor. He became managing editor in 1981 and won the Ohio Associated Press General Excellence aware four times. In addition, he received the Ohio Associated Press investigative reporting award two times.
In 1994, Jones became Editor and Publisher of the Chillicothe Gazette. Under his guidance, the Gazette launched the Sunday newspaper in 1999, reversing a three-year downward trend in ad revenues and profits. Jones received the President's Award from the Ohio Newspaper Association in 2001. Jones went on to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce in 2002. For the next nine years, Jones led the Chamber through many initiatives that impacted the community and region.
Jones has served on many boards. He was past chairman of the Chillicothe Ross Chamber of Commerce, Goodwill Industries of South Central Ohio, and the Chamber of Commerce Executives of Ohio. He was a board member of the Chillicothe Education Foundation, Ross-Chillicothe Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission, and a member of the Citizens Advisory Panel of Glatfelter. Jones has also served as chairman of the Ohio University Chillicothe Regional Coordinating Council.
Patricia Wetzel earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Ohio University in 2001. Patricia has served as a Traffic and Safety Engineer for the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) District 9 for almost 20 years. Recently, Patricia was promoted to the Planning Department Engineer. In addition to her professional experience, Patricia has served on the Junior Civic League of Chillicothe, been a member of the P.E.O. Chapter EH, and Children's Ministry at Trinity United Methodist. Patricia served as an Engineering Ambassador at Ohio University Athens. In 2015, she received the Eternal Safety Innovation Award in recognition of achievements that had a major impact in helping ODOT reduce crashes and improve public safety on roadways.
Cynthia (Lieurance) Henderson
Cynthia Henderson earned her Bachelor of Science in Education, cum laude from Ohio University in 1977. She has also worked on courses toward's a Master's degree in Public Relations/Administration. Henderson began her professional career as a teacher at Huntington Elementary in Ross County and taught for seven years. As many individuals, Henderson has a career change and has been a pharmacy franchise owner for the past twenty plus years.
Henderson's community service involvement has been extensive. She has been President of the Board for Family Health Care, 1990-1996. She served on the Chillicothe Council as an at-large member and was finance chair for 10 years. Her community service not only involved government and business interest, but her volunteerism embraced the United Way and the Ohio Bicentennial Commission.
Stephen A. Neal
Stephen A. Neal was selected as the Outstanding Student in the College of Business while earning his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Ohio University in 1977. His educational background provided the foundation for his work in retail sales and management for eight years, Chief Deputy Ross County Auditor for two years, and Ross County Auditor for 27 years. He is the longest serving county auditor in Ross County history. For the past six years, Neal has served as a Ross County Commissioner. He was involved in the Planning Committee and served as the financial officer for the construction of the OHIO Chillicothe Early Childhood Center.
Neal has been very active in the community. He served in various capacities for the Ross County United Way, including past president. He currently serves as treasurer for the Good Samaritan Network of Ross County and is also past president and treasurer and currently serves as a Board Member of the Ross County Community Improvement Corporation. Neal is a member of the board of directors for the Ross County Community Action Commission, the National Church Residences Bristol Village Board, the Chillicothe Downtown Development Commission, and the Economic Development Alliance of Southern Ohio. As a valedictorian of the Bishop Flaget High School class of 1972, he was honored in 2016 with the Bishop Flaget Distinguished Alumni Award.
James Butt earned his Associate Degree in Applied Business from the Chillicothe campus in 1990. During the ‘70’s and 80’s, Butt worked for his father at Mechanical Construction Corporation. From 1988 to 2000, he was a co-owner at Chillicothe Mechanical Corporation. In 1982, Butt started B&B Roofing, Inc. and still serves as President.
As an involved Ross County resident, Butt’s civic contributions include past President and board member of the Home Builders Association, Ross County YMCA, and Suicide Prevention Coalition, founding board member of Adena Mansions & Gardens, and volunteer for Big Brothers/Sisters and Ross County Junior Achievement. He has also received the Advocate of the Year Award by the ADAMH Mental Health Association in 2017.
Sue Wyskiver Yount
Sue Wyskiver Yount’s pursuit of higher education began at the Chillicothe campus before transferring to the Athens campus to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Business in 1983. She went on to pursue her Law Degree from The Ohio State University College of Law in 1986 and is currently an attorney and partner at Bricker & Eckler LLP in Columbus, Ohio. She has served as legal counsel for several precedent-setting cases, including representing plaintiffs in DeRalph v. Ohio.
Her contributions to Ross County and the surrounding area are far reaching. Her civic involvement includes volunteer speaker for the Ohio University Educational Administration Program and the Ohio University Leadership Program, coach for the Ohio High School Mock Trial Program, volunteer mentor for high school legal education and shadowing programs, career day speaker, speaker and on-site Program Coordinator for Adopt-a-School Mentoring Program, Trustee of Friends of the Columbus Metropolitan Library Board, and Sunday School teacher. Yount has also received an impressive amount of awards for her leadership and dedication such as the Columbus Bar Association’s Community Service Award, the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools’ Exemplary Leadership Award, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators’ (BASA) Distinguished Service Award, and recognition for her work in Education Law by The Best Lawyers in America.
Diane Diekroger earned her Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree from Valparaiso University in 1969, her Master in Social Work in 1971 from Washington University in S. Louis, Mo. and her Doctorate in Counselor Education from Ohio University in 1988.
After serving as a school social worker in the St. Lois public schools, Diekroger joined Ohio University Chillicothe where she went on to fill roles in numerous positions for the Chillicothe campus including adjunct faculty, Academic Retention Council, College Adjustment Coordinator and the Coordinator of Student Support, and Career Services. As an involved Ross County resident, Diekroger’s civic contributions have included work with the Chillicothe Branch of American Association of University Women, Ross County Mental Health Association, Ross County YMCA, the Sew “N” Sews, a local quilting group whose mission is to make and give away quilts to those in need, and the Chivaho Credit Union Scholarship Committee.
Jack Everson’s pursuit of higher education began at Ohio University Chillicothe before transferring to the Athens campus to earn his Bachelor of General Science with an emphasis in Physics in 1977. He currently holds the position of senior consultant for American management Services, a national firm that performs business rescue for small to medium sized companies.
His contributions to Ohio University Chillicothe and Ross County are far reaching. His civic involvement includes his role as former Mayor of Chillicothe as well as service to numerous boards of directors, alliances, commissions and councils dedicated to the betterment of Ross County and the state of Ohio.
Everson was instrumental in instituting the athletic ‘Wall of fame: for Ohio University Chillicothe athletes in the Shoemaker Center and his focus on partnerships with the Chillicothe campus while Mayor of Chillicothe strengthen ties for the two institutions in the community.
Before his death in 2021 James (Jim) Caldwell contributed to the Chillicothe community as a business leader, volunteer, and elected official.
He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Ohio University in 1963. He also received an honorary master of arts and honorary doctoral degree, both in public service, from the University of Rio Grande.
Fittingly, Caldwell began his professional pursuits as an educator before transitioning to a long and distinguished career as a business professional. His civic involvement includes elected offices and service with area organizations focused on improving the quality of life for area residents.
After teaching for a year in Jackson City School District, he began his career as a public accountant. A Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Retirement Counselor, and a member of the Ohio Society of CPAs, Jim was the founder and president of Caldwell, Ott & Co., CPAs. He was the former President of the Ross County Board of Commissioners, where he served for 40 years. He was also the former Director of the Vinton County National Bank, Trustee of the University of Rio Grande, and former member of the Board of Standards of the International Foundation for Retirement Education. Jim was an active member of the Trinity United Methodist Church and former chairman of the finance committee. He was also a member of Scioto Masonic Lodge #0006, a trustee for the David Meade Massie Trust, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Economic Development Alliance of Southern Ohio. Jim and his wife had also helped with the Kairos Ministry.
Early in his career, he taught business classes at Jackson City Schools. He was one of the founders of the Chillicothe Education Foundation. He was also a big supporter of the SCOPES Program at Unioto Elementary, where his daughter teaches. He served in on Chillicothe City Council and served as Ross County Chamber of Commerce President.
Stephen Gary earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Ohio University in 1973. He attended the Chillicothe campus for three years before completing his studies on the university’s Athens campus.
Gary joined the Savings Bank in Circleville, Ohio in 1979 and retired in 2014 as the longest-tenured CEO in the bank’s history of more than 100 years. He is currently serving as the president of Savings Bank Corporation.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Gary has been very involved in his community. His civic involvement includes: past member of the Community Bankers Association of Ohio; director of the Circleville Pickaway Corporation Board; director/secretary of the Pickaway Progress Partnership; member of the Circleville Sunrise Rotary; member of the Brown Chapel Church; treasurer of the Ross County Pomona Grange; member of the Clarksburg Grange; two-term member of the Ohio Banking Commission; president of the Circleville-Pickaway Chamber of Commerce; member of the Ohio 4-H Foundation; member of the State 4-H Advisory Board; and member of the Deerfield Township Zoning Board.
Gary received the 1997 Sam Walton Business Leader Award and the Rotary Foundation Presidential Citation Award. He also was awarded the Pickaway County Friend of 4-H Award and the Paul Harris Award (Rotary). In 2010 Gary was the recipient of the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year Award.
Further, Gary has encouraged local youth to attend the Chillicothe campus and has financially supported Ohio University Chillicothe and the College of Business at Ohio University.
“Stephen Gary has lived a life of impact, and his business accomplishments and civic involvement have made a difference in the lives of countless individuals in this region,” Dean Martin Tuck said. “In many ways, his career exemplifies the Chillicothe campus’ mission of encouraging students to use the insights and skills they develop during their college careers to make a difference as alumni in serving this region.”
Julie Lyddon Gourley
Julia Gourley began her academic work at Ohio University Chillicothe and completed her degree on the Athens campus. She earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in June 1984. During her careers at both the State Department and the US Environmental protection Agency (EPA), she was the leading U.S. expert on the Basel Convention on the Control of the Trans boundary Movements of Hazardous waters and their disposal from 1995-96. Gourley led U.S. delegations to meetings of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade. Between 2003-05 she was the State Department representative on the U.S. Delegations to the Montreal Protocol on substance that Deplete the Ozone Layer and the Strategic Approach to internal Chemical Management.
For the past six years, she has been the Senior Arctic Official of the United States and the U.S. representative to the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum of the eight Arctic Countries (Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, U.S.). Gourley’s major responsibility, in addition to representing the U.S. in the Arctic Council, is to lead development of U.S. foreign policy in the Arctic region.
Kenneth A. Breidenbaugh
Dr. Kenneth Breidenbaugh earned his bachelor’s degree in theater from Ohio University in 1975 and his master’s degree of fine arts in 1986. Breidenbaugh then earned his doctorate from Ohio University in 1995. He retired in 2014 as assistant professor in the comparative and/theater department at Ohio University Chillicothe. In addition to his teaching duties, Breidenbaugh has been a driving force in the theater program on campus. Since presenting his first performance in March 1997, Ohio University Chillicothe’s theater program has been a staple of campus life and has supported the cultural life of the campus and community as well as the vitality of life on campus. In the fall of 2009, he produced his 50th play at the Chillicothe campus.
Martha Gerber Rittinger
Since her degree from Ohio University in 1955, Martha Rittinger has had a prestigious career in Ross County. She was admitted to practice law in Ohio and Federal Courts. While earning her degrees, she assumed ownership and operation of the family businesses (Maple Monte Farms and Gerber Construction Company). Rittinger served as a member of the Board of Directors on the Ross County Farm Bureau, 1961-65, 1990-95, and 2008-10. She served as Legal Concerns Chair for 26 years of the American Agri-Women. Mrs. Rittinger received the Ohio Farmer’s master Farmer” award in 1998 and the Conservation award in 2010.
Mrs. Rittinger has co-authored History of Springbank and Yellowbud Community and wrote the Ohio and Erie Canal Motor Tour from Chillicothe to Circleville. There have been many conducted tours by Mrs. Rittinger for Ross County celebrations and location organizations. She has been doing this since 1964.
Rittinger has received the United Methodist Historical Society of Ohio’s Historian of the Year Award. She received the Outstanding Commercial law Student award at the Capital University School of Law. Her honoraries are: Phi Beta Kappa, Phil Alpha theta, Eta Sigma Phi at OHIO and Alpha Lambda Delta at Ohio University Chillicothe.
Her community service contributions have been many. She has served on the Ross County Planning Commission since 1995. She served on the Union Township Zoning commission, 1982-1984 and 1991-92. The Ross County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities 1991-1997 and 1999-210 has had the fortunate of having her as a Board Member. She has been involved with the Girl Scouts since 1940 and a member of the Honorary Board of Directors and TefoilI. She is on the Springbank United Methodist Church board of Trustees, presently chairman and historian.
Beverly J. Gray
Beverly J. Gray earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Ohio University in 1971 after taking most of her classes on the Chillicothe campus. She also pursued advanced studies at Kent State University, Ohio State University, the College of St. Joseph in Cincinnati and Ashland University.
Her 30-year career in the classroom includes teaching elementary classes at Paint Valley Schools from 1968 to 1978, the teaching elementary, middle school and high school students in the Chillicothe City School District from 1978-1996. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member of education on the Chillicothe campus and has worked in the correctional institutions as an adjunct professor of education.
Besides education, Gray’s other passion is history.
James W. Lungo was the third generation graduate at Chillicothe High School in 1963. He began his college career at Ohio University Chillicothe in 1963 and completed his studies with a Masters in Education.
During his 30 year career in education, he taught in Ross County Schools, Defense Department Schools in Turkey and Germany, and Chillicothe City Schools. During his 24 year tenure at the Chillicothe City Schools, Jim was a leader in developing district professional development programs that impacted student performance and introduced media as part of the instruction delivery. He was the regional pioneer in introducing instructional television as a vehicle to learning. He was instrumental in the start up of the first public preschool in the area. Upon his retirement, Lungo returned to spearhead the alumni funding for the 1.2 million dollar library renovation and expansion at Chillicothe High School.
Not only was Jim well known for his work in the field of education, but he was well respected in the business arena. He was one of the early board members and store owners in Petland that was started in Chillicothe. Later he opened Bavarian Toy works that was noted for unique toys sales in Chillicothe.
Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
Cathy R. Hughes
Henry Barlage Jr.
William E. Landrum
A. Russell Poole
H. Mark Hooks
Terry Alan Davis
Sherri I. (Ramsey) Hoselton
Sherry N. Mong
Sherri K. Rutherford
Thomas P. Brown
Nancy L. King
Jean C. Romero
Sue Wyskiver Yount
Dr. Diane Diekroger
Howard “Corky” Miller
Marvin E. Jones
Douglas J. Shoemaker
Larry R. Cox (Community Award)
Cynthia (Lieurance) Henderson
Stephen A. Neal
Donald Raymond Pollock II
Dr. Gregory E. Weisenberger