Ohio University to celebrate 17 Alumni Award recipients; Dr. Patricia A. Ackerman named Alumna of the Year

Published: September 8, 2022 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Alumni Association proudly announces the 17 recipients of the 2022 Alumni Awards, individuals who exemplify the Bobcat spirit in their commitment to excellence and service. This year’s Alumna of the Year, the highest honor bestowed to a graduate, is Dr. Patricia A. Ackerman, BA ’66.

The recipients will be celebrated at the Alumni Awards Ceremony on Oct. 7 during Homecoming Week 2022.

“These distinguished graduates represent the best of our Bobcat family, exemplifying the dedication, excellence, and love for Ohio University that makes our alumni community so special,” said Jenn Bowie, interim associate vice president for Alumni Relations and executive director of the Ohio University Alumni Association. “The Alumni Association is honored to welcome them home for this special celebration, which highlights their inspiring accomplishments and unique commitments to alma mater.”

The Ohio University Alumni Association’s Alumna of the Year Award recognizes an OHIO graduate who has excelled in their chosen field and in their service to Ohio University. For Dr. Ackerman, who has dedicated her life to education, the award could not be more fitting.

After graduating from OHIO with an English degree in 1966, Dr. Ackerman embarked on what would become a 35-year career in the K-12 system as a teacher, principal and administrator. She also served as the president of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. A steadfast advocate for underserved students, Dr. Ackerman would go on to found the Taylor Academy in Cleveland to meet the unique needs of at-risk youth.

“She understood that a population of young people in our community required a different approach to learning,” Byron Ward wrote in his nomination of Dr. Ackerman for the award. “Dr. Ackerman knew that they needed support and development in a way that was not being addressed.”

More recently, Dr. Ackerman established IndeedWeCode in 2015 to help young African American women learn more about computer coding. Today, she is the executive director of the Chalkdust Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides a coding summer camp for African American girls, professional development for K-12 educators, and programs for parents.

Dr. Ackerman’s influence on the world of education extends to Ohio University, where her significant contributions of time and expertise will have a far-reaching impact, forever. She was the first African American woman to serve on OHIO’s Board of Trustees and as its chair, and she was an influential member of the Presidential Search Committee that recommended the selection of Dr. Roderick J. McDavis as the university’s first African American president. Dr. Ackerman also completed terms on the Ohio Board of Regents and The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees.

Beyond her own acts of dedication to OHIO, Dr. Ackerman is renowned for her inspiring calls to action that have sparked untold engagement and philanthropy from among her fellow alumni. She spearheaded the creation of the African American Alumni Heritage Wall in Memorial Auditorium and co-founded the Ebony Bobcat Network, which has generated alumni support for the Urban Scholars Program and benefitted scores of African American students at OHIO.

“Her lifelong commitment to students, parents, and to the education industry is notable and worthy of recognition,” Ward wrote. “She continues to stand for the pillars of leadership, advocacy, culture, and knowledge and has always represented Ohio University in first-class manner.”

Dr. Ackerman will be among the guests of honor at the 2022 Alumni Awards Ceremony, where the following awards will be presented:

Medal of Merit Award

Presented to alumni who have excelled in their chosen field, this year’s recipients are:

  • Christopher B. Jones, BA ’65
  • William T. Newman, Jr., BFA ’72
  • Marlon A. Primes, BSJ ’86
  • Jon J. Snyder, BSC ’87

Distinguished Service Award

Recognizing alumni who have supported Ohio University with their time, talents, or treasure, this year’s honorees are:

  • Dwight L. Ferguson, BSC ’79
  • Alex J. Garcia, Jr., BBA ’69
  • Beverly E. Jones, BSJ ’69, MBA ’75
  • Byron L. Ward, BBA ’89

Charles J. and Claire O. Ping Recent Graduate Award

Presented to alumni who have excelled in their chosen field and in their service to Ohio University and their communities within 15 years of graduating, the 2020-21 recipients are:

  • Matthew A. Barnes, BSJ ’08
  • April L. Welshans, BSCE ’07

The Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame

Honoring outstanding athletes, coaches, staff members and administrators who have brought recognition to Ohio University through their significant athletic achievements, the 2020-21 inductees are:

  • Brandon L. Hunter, BSH ’03
  • Kelly N. Lamberti, BSED ’15
  • Andrew Smiles, BGS ’82
  • Frank Solich
  • 1964 Cross Country Team