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OHIO Lancaster student awarded Charles J. Ping Award

Ohio University Lancaster student McKenzie Taylor has been awarded the Charles J. Ping Award. The Charles J. Ping Award was designed to recognize and honor undergraduate students’ outstanding leadership and contributions to community service on their campus and within their community.

This award is granted annually to undergraduates from Ohio Campus Compact member institutions that exhibit outstanding leadership in their community service endeavors both on their campus and within their community.

Taylor is a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication studies at Ohio University Lancaster. With a drive to find a way to fulfill her purpose, she joined Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed, service-based fraternity at the OHIO Lancaster campus. She then began attending community service events within the Lancaster community and found herself bringing service to all aspects of her life.

“I took on the vice president of service officer position for Alpha Phi Omega in the fall of 2021,” Taylor said. “This leadership role has given me the opportunity to impact the Lancaster community by coordinating over 25 community service events in the Fall semester for our members. We’ve partnered with over 15 non-profits within the community such as Meals on Wheels, The Foundation Dinners, Destination Downtown Lancaster, and many more.”

Working closely with so many important health, human, and social justice agencies and programs, Taylor’s commitment to her community deepened.

Entering her senior year at OHIO Lancaster, she actively searched to intern with a local non-profit organization within the community. She successfully landed an internship with Destination Downtown Lancaster in Fall 2021 and eventually secured part-time employment with the nonprofit.

“Throughout her undergraduate career, McKenzie has devoted herself to service to the people of Southeastern Ohio,” Ohio University President Hugh Sherman said. “The desire to leave the people she meets a little better than they were before they met her is at the core of all of McKenzie’s involvement on campus, co-curricular opportunities, and professional work both through acts of service and developing new student leaders on campus.”

The award is named in honor of Charles J. Ping, who served as President of Ohio University from 1975 – 1994.  An early supporter and Board Member of Ohio Campus Compact, Dr. Ping was a tireless advocate for campus-community partnerships and increased opportunities for students to become active and engaged citizens.

Professor of Communication Studies Candice Thomas-Maddox has been an instructor and advisor to Taylor throughout her time at OHIO Lancaster. She said Taylor’s dedication and passion for giving back to others serves as a shining example. Thomas-Maddox continued to explain that Taylor never gave up identifying ways to serve others during a time when many activities were paused due to COVID.

“We were absolutely thrilled to learn that McKenzie is the first Ohio University Regional Campus student to earn the Ping Award,” Thomas-Maddox said. “She has been instrumental in leading her peers and inspiring them to give back to their campus and their community."

Candidates must be nominated by the president of their college or university and must meet the following criteria:

Evidence of exemplary community service during each student’s undergraduate years should reflect the student’s efforts to meet needs in his or her community.  The Ping Award recognizes student efforts, from individual commitment to service and community to the ability to create an organization and to involve others.

Although outstanding community service of any kind will qualify, Ohio Campus Compact is especially interested in efforts that have connected service with academic study or designed programs with long-term community involvement.

March 31, 2022
Staff reports