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Alumni Awards Gala is Oct. 12

The Ohio University Alumni Association will present its most prestigious awards to

11 individuals on Friday, Oct. 12, at 6:30 p.m. in the Baker University Center Ballroom. Four inductees into the OHIO Athletics Hall of Fame also will be honored.

The Alumna/Alumnus of the Year Award is presented to a graduate who has distinguished himself or herself both professionally and in service to and support of Ohio University. The 2012 honoree is Barbara Strom Thompson of Bethesda, Maryland, who received her bachelor's degree from Ohio University in 1976. She is a child development specialist in private practice and led efforts to establish Women in Philanthropy, a group organized to support the University's fund-raising efforts.

The Medal of Merit is awarded to alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields. Those individuals to be honored include Joseph Becherer, a professor of art history at Aquinas College, who received a bachelor's degree from OHIO in 1987 and a master's degree in 1990, both from the College of Fine Arts; George Mooradian, 1970 graduate of the College of Fine Arts and Emmy Award-winning director of photography for "According to Jim" and "The Bill Engvall Show;" and Lucy Sexton, a 1982 graduate of the College of Fine Arts. Sexton is a professional dancer/choreographer who produces The Bessies, the dance world's equivalent of the Tonys.

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes alumni who have supported Ohio University and the Alumni Association through their work with alumni chapters, clubs, societies or other organizations. This year's honorees are Charles Mehlman, a 1989 graduate of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine who is a professor of pediatric orthopedic surgery at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; and Carl Walker, a 1956 graduate in secondary education, who retired from a career with the U.S. Social Security Administration and then served as an adjunct professor at Atlanta University and at Clark Atlanta University.

Athens native Natalie Kruse, who received her bachelor's degree in 2004, is the recipient of the Charles J. and Claire O. Ping Recent Graduate Award. This award is given to alumni whose Ohio University education has been a factor in their outstanding accomplishments in the 15 years following their graduation. Kruse earned a degree in civil engineering with a minor in geological sciences. She is an assistant professor of environmental studies in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University.

Evelyn Houk of Athens, is the recipient of the 2012 Honorary Alumna Award, presented to an individual who did not graduate from Ohio University but has demonstrated exemplary loyalty to it. She has been involved with Ohio University for more than 50 years and her interests range from Bobcat athletics to the School of Music. With her husband, Cliff Houk, she has established scholarships for members of the trombone choir and the Marching 110.

Inductees into the OHIO Athletics Hall of Fame include Athens, native Hollie Bonewit-Cron, who received her bachelor's degree in 2000. During her collegiate career, Bonewit-Cron won 17 Mid-America and conference event titles and held five MAC and five University records. Richard "Dick" Grecnci also will be inducted in the Hall of Fame. A member of the 1960 football team that posted a perfect 10 – 0 season, Grecnci went on to play for the Minnesota Vikings. Gary Trent, who earned the nickname "Shaq of the MAC" and enjoyed an 11-year NBA career with the Milwaukee Bucks, also will be inducted during the ceremony. The final Athletics inductee is the entire 1960 football team, widely considered by most Bobcat sports historians to be one of the finest teams in school history.

Tickets for the gala, including a reception at 5:30 p.m. are available online at ohioalumni.org/homecoming, with reservations required by Oct. 5. For more information, call 740-593-4300.