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OUAA welcomes five new Board members

The Ohio University Alumni Association (OUAA) is thrilled to announce the selection of five new Board members. Carolyn “Bitsy” Merriman Melton, BFA ’77; James Thomas Daniel, BSEd ’68, MSEd ’72; Joseph Antenucci Becherer, BFA ’87, MFA ’89; Kenneth Ray Rusche, BSEd ’73; and Robert “Rocky” Nile Mansfield Jr., BS ’74, begin their terms July 1, 2014. The OUAA Board of Directors comprises 26 OHIO alumni and serves to connect the university and its alumni.

“We work to ensure that the composition of the Board is representative of the demographics of our alumni base,” said Jennifer Neubauer, assistant vice president of Alumni Relations and executive director of OUAA. “We pride ourselves on having a diversified Board to represent our alumni and we are excited about our new members, each of whom will add a unique perspective to our organization.”

Carolyn “Bitsy” Nell Merriman Melton graduated from Ohio University in 1977 with a bachelor of fine arts. As a student, she was a member of the Student Alumni Board, Chimes and the Mortar Board. Merriman was the first Ohio University student to be given the Student Fellowship Award from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), of which she is now a lifetime Fellow.

As an alumna, Merriman has remained an active member of the OHIO community. She established the Bitsy Merriman Scholarship to benefit minority students in the School of Theatre. She has also served as chair of the College of Fine Arts Capital Campaign and helped to establish an advisory board of alumni who work closely with the college’s dean.

Merriman is the founder of Corporate Health Group, LLC where she a partner. Merriman also participates in philanthropy, teaches yoga classes, and has co-authored and contributed to a number of successful publications.

James Thomas Daniel, Ph.D., graduated from Ohio University in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in education, and again in 1972 with a master’s degree in education, with an emphasis on guidance and counseling. He received his doctoral degree in educational leadership from Miami University in 1995 and has enjoyed a successful career as a teacher, guidance counselor, principal, adjunct professor and university superintendent. He also has published several dissertations.

Daniel has remained an avid OHIO fan and advocate. He and his wife Linda, who received her bachelor’s degree from OHIO in journalism in 1969, have been football season ticket holders for over two decades, are members of the Bobcat Club, and hold season tickets to the Tower Club. In 2012, Daniel taught a class for OHIO’s Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education Honors Track program. A self-proclaimed “career educator and counselor,” Daniel credits his OHIO education for his successful career.

“During my term on the Board, I hope to contribute knowledge, skill and attitudes about the University with alumni, and have a significant and positive impact on the institution,” he said.

Joseph Antenucci Becherer, Ph.D., has two degrees from OHIO, garnering both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in 1987 and 1989, respectively. He received his doctorate from Indiana University in 2001. As a student, he served as a teaching assistant and advisor in the College of Fine Arts, and was also a supervisor of the Peer Counseling Staff through the University’s College Adjustment Program. Post-graduation, Becherer returned as a visiting assistant professor and assistant director of an OHIO study abroad program in Italy.

More recently, Becherer has served on the College of Fine Arts Advisory Board, was a 2012 recipient of the Alumni Association’s Medal of Merit, and was responsible for coordinating a campus visit by Jim Dine, internationally known American pop artist, as part of the College of Fine Arts 75th anniversary celebration.

Becherer’s career has led him to lead higher education arts programs, serve as vice president of arts programming and assist the dean at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan. Currently, he serves as a professor of art at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI., and also is the chief curator and vice president of sculpture and horticulture at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

Kenneth Ray Rusche finished his academic career at OHIO in 1973, graduating with a bachelor of science in education. He received a certificate of physical therapy from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in health education from the University of Cincinnati. Rusche has been a strong supporter of OHIO’s Division of Physical Therapy programs.

Rusche has worked as an athletic trainer for a number of professional sports teams, including the Detroit Lions, Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans). He served as the executive director of Wellington Sports Medicine and director of the Christ Hospital Sports Medicine Institute in Cincinnati before founding his own company, Oxford Physical Therapy Centers, of which he is the current owner and president.

“Ohio University has been a constant source of pride for me, and I enjoy regularly attending events and fundraisers,” Rusche said. “While serving on the Association’s Board of Directors, my interests are to provide leadership to the organization in the areas of fundraising, marketing and management.”

Robert “Rocky” Nile Mansfield Jr. graduated from Ohio University in 1974, with a bachelor of science in chemical engineering. Much of his professional career has been dedicated to OHIO, serving as an advisor of commercialization for the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology and as an advisor to the dean of the College of Business. He has also offered his time as a guest speaker and student advisor for the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

Mansfield was employed by Union Carbine Corporation as an advanced production engineer. He was appointed in 1977 as senior project engineer and has since held positions as a product development leader, vice president of product development, and chief operating officer of product development at Sensor Development Corporation. He is currently the vice president/treasure of his own company, Mansfield & Associates, LLC, as well as vice president of product development at E3 Technologies in Athens.

 “I want to contribute to an atmosphere that reverses the stereotype that says that alumni boards are only interested in raising money,” Mansfield said. “I feel that time and talents provide the University with a winning formula for success, and that is just as important as treasure.”