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Awards gala recognizes outstanding alumni

Sep 29, 2008  
From staff reports   

The Ohio University Alumni Association recognized its 2008 alumni award recipients along with inductees to the Athletics Hall of Fame at its annual Alumni Awards Gala Friday evening in Nelson Commons.

The by-invitation event was one highlight among many during this year's festive Homecoming celebration.

"It was a wonderful chance to hear from the awardees about their passion for Ohio University and the impact the university had on their lives and careers," Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations Graham Stewart said. "It was really very inspiring."

Here's a look at this year's award winners:

Matthew Rhodes, BSC '94, received The Charles J. and Claire O. Ping Recent Graduate Award. He is a partner and a producer for Persistent Pictures Inc., a film production company that has produced several high-profile independent films. He is an active participant of the Greater Los Angeles Alumni Chapter.

Barbara Schoonover was named Honorary Alumna of the Year. She is the president of Fitness World in Shreveport, La., and a registered nurse. A frequent campus visitor, she has spoken to students about career exploration and served as a panelist for the "Women Leaders in Communication" workshop presented by the Scripps College of Communication.

Receiving Medals of Merit for achieving distinction in their chosen fields were:

  • Jeremy Foley, MED '76, director of athletics at the University of Florida, received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Ohio University's Sports Administration and Facility Management Program in 1995. He is the only director of athletics in NCAA Division I history to have supervised a program that won national titles in football and men's basketball.

  • Jeanne M. Gokcen, BSHS '82 and MAHS '84, worked for Ohio University in the College of Health and Human Services and is the president of  FutureCom Technologies. She became a licensed speech pathologist in 1985 and earned a doctoral degree in speech science from Ohio State University in 1988.

  • Sedat Gokcen, BSEE '82 and MA '84, is the chief technology officer of FutureCom Technologies as well as a developer of speech and signal-processing software. He worked as a computer engineer with AT&T and held similar positions for Lucent Technologies and Bell Laboratories.

  • Joseph Jachinowski, BSEE '79, co-founded IMPAC Medical Systems, the leading supplier of clinical and administrative data-management systems for cancer-care providers, and now is executive vice president of the company. He also is the founder of SEL, a manufacturer of digital-signal processors for electric power systems, with former Ohio University faculty member Edmund Schweitzer.

  • Larry Starr, BSED '68 and MED '71, inducted into both the Ohio and Florida Athletic Trainers Halls of Fame, is a well-known lecturer in sports medicine and athletic training. He began his career as an assistant athletic trainer and instructor at Ohio University in 1968 and is the assistant athletic director for sports medicine at Nova Southeastern University. He led his baseball teams to win three World Series titles when he was the head athletic trainer for Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins.

Distinguished Service Awards went to:

  • Leon Harris, BSC '83, HON '99, an award-winning broadcast journalist, is an anchor of the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts and co-hosts "Capital Sunday" for WJLA-7 TV in Washington, D.C. He previously worked for CNN for 20 years, where he was a co-anchor of "CNN Live Today" and "Prime News" and hosted "CNN Presents" and "American Stories." He also has served on The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees.

  • Datuk Shaik Sulaiman Ismail, AA Prime News '69 and BSED '70, is the president of the Ohio University Penang Malaysian Association. He served as the executive director of World Communications Network Resources, an integrated public relations and advertising agency working with multinational corporations and government clients. He also is a former president of the Association of Malay Children's Services on Penang Island in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

  • Jeffrey Miller, BSCE '73, is the president of J. Miller Management. He also is a member of the Russ College Civil Engineering Advisory Board, the Russ College Board of Visitors and the Russ College Advancement Committee. He held a variety of senior executive positions for Aqua Chem, Donnelly Corp., Aeroquip Corp. and General Electric.

  • Budd Werner, BSCOM '53, a past recipient of the Medal of Merit, is the former senior vice president for planning and development for Sealed Power Co., a world leader in the production and distribution of parts, components, engineered tools and instruments for the automotive service industry. He also served as an executive-in-residence for the College of Business.

The Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame awardees were:

  • Jacqueline J. Conrad Visscher, BSHC '01, is a cross country and track and field athlete. She was a dietetics major in the College of Health and Human Services, and is a three-time All American award recipient. Her accomplishments include being named the 1996 All-Ohio Champion for Cross Country, a 1996 Freshman Runner of the Year for OCCCA, a 1996 MAC Champion for Cross Country, a 1997 MAC Track Athlete of the Year, a 1998 Division I Women's Runner of the Year for OCCCA, a 1998 Academic All-MAC and a 1998 Academic All-American.

  • Gene A. "Geno" Ford Jr., BSC '97 and MSPE '99, a former basketball athlete, was an organizational communication major in the Scripps College of Communication and an athletics administration major in the College of Health and Human Services. He was a MAC All-Freshman Team member in 1993-94, an NABC Second Team All-District Member in 1995-96, an NABC First-Team All-District member in 1996-97 and an Academic All-MAC member in 1996-97. He set Ohio University records as fourth in career three-pointers (202), fifth in career points (1,752), fifth in career free throws (430), ninth in career assists (309) and 10th in career field goals (560).

  • Jennifer L. Morris, BSSE '99 and MSA '01, was a softball athlete. She was a sports management and sports administration major in the College Health and Human Services. She was a Second-Team All-MAC athlete in 1996, a three-time All-MAC selection in 1997-99, and the team's Offensive Player of the Year in 1996-'99. She set Ohio University records as a leader in career batting average (.367), hits (257), singles (194), doubles (55), at-bats (700) and single-season hits (73). She made the First-Team Academic All-Region squad in 1998.

This story was revised at 9:27 a.m. Sept. 29, 2008,
to correct the list of honorees.

Related Links
Ohio University Alumni Association 2008 honorees: http://www.ohioalumni.org/2008-alumni-award-honorees 

Published: Sep 29, 2008 9:46 AM  

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