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Ohio State honors five at spring 2015 commencement

Five individuals will be honored at The Ohio State University’s spring 2015 commencement for their contributions to society and academics, and their dedication to the university. Ceremonies begin at noon on Sunday, May 10, in Ohio Stadium.

Honorary doctorates will be presented to Michael L. J. Appuzo, one of the world’s best known and respected neurological surgeons; David Lang, an American composer who won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize; and Kathleen Sebelius, a native Ohioan with a long and distinguished career in public service.

Distinguished Service Awards will be presented to Jameson Crane, a 1947 graduate of Ohio State and chairman emeritus of the Crane Group in Columbus, and Nancy Zimpher, a three-time alumna and former dean of the College of Education, as it was called then.

Michael L. J. Apuzzo, Doctor of Science

One of the world’s most renowned neurosurgeons, Michael L. J. Apuzzo has made countless discoveries that have helped redefine the field of neurosurgery.

A native of New Haven, Conn., Apuzzo received his undergraduate education at Yale College, his medical education at Boston University and general surgical training at McGill University’s Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal.

After completing his neurosurgery residencies at Yale, he served in the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Submarine Service. During that time, he created a detailed protocol for recognizing and managing neurological emergencies during clandestine patrols, and received special recognition for his service from the U.S. surgeon general and the Atlantic Fleet admiral. This experience influenced his perspective on using novel technologies to solve neurosurgical problems, which became a central theme in his career.

Subsequently, he pioneered the establishment of minimally invasive strategies in neurosurgery, particular endoscopy, focused beam radiation and imaging guided navigation
as well as the use of computers and microscopes as essential neurosurgical tools. These methods were later adopted by other surgical disciplines. He devised innovative methods for removing brain tumors previously believed to be inoperable. He both envisioned and established the amalgam of cellular and molecular biology and nanotechnology within the neurosurgical field. He identified and later defined the important emerging area of functional restoration in the era of modern technologies such as robotics, stem cell, grafting and modulation.

A prolific scholar, Apuzzo has shared his ideas and findings in three textbooks, 12 monographs and more than 700 other individual works. He has served on more than 25 editorial boards and as editor-in-chief for two flagship journals in his discipline over a 24-year period.

With a passion for competitive sports, he has acted as the primary neurological consultant for both the New York Football Giants and the University of Southern California Athletics Department. As
a special consultant, he also helped create protective protocols for the NCAA and NFL related to cerebral concussions.

Today, he holds many appointments, including the Edwin M. Todd/Trent H. Wells Professor of Neurological Surgery, Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

David Lang, Doctor of Music

Among the most-performed contemporary American composers, David Lang has achieved international recognition for the fierce energy and intelligence of his compositions.

He began his career as a composer after earning degrees from the University of Iowa, Stanford University and Yale University. His extensive catalog of music – described as ominous and ethereal, hypnotic and unsettling – includes works for nearly every genre and instrumentation. Renowned performing arts organizations around the world have presented his work, including the Santa Fe Opera, the Nederlands Dans Theater, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Paris Opera Ballet.

In 2008, Lang received the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his critically acclaimed the little match girl passion, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall in New York and the Perth Theatre and Concert Hall in Scotland. For his groundbreaking work, Lang has received many other honors, including the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall, Musical America’s Composer of the Year Award, a Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance, the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and the International Society for
the Performing Arts’ Distinguished Artist Award.

He also has received numerous grants and fellowships from some of the most prominent foundations in the United States, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The French government also named Lang a chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2014 he was elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Lang is a well-respected educator and advocate for new music. He is the co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s famous music festival Bang on a Can. Additionally, he is a professor of music composition with the Yale School of Music.

Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius, Doctor of Public Service

With an innate calling to serve others, Kathleen Gilligan Sebelius has dedicated her professional career to elevating the quality of life for countless Americans.

Most notably, she was twice elected governor of Kansas, followed by an appointment to President Barack Obama’s cabinet as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services. In that role, Sebelius shaped and implemented the president’s signature legislative effort to reform the
nation’s health care.

Born in Cincinnati, Sebelius is the daughter of former Ohio governor John Gilligan. She is the only governor’s daughter ever to earn that same title in American history. During her first term, which began in 2003, Sebelius became known for her ability to effectively partner with legislators from both parties. She also eliminated a $1.1 billion state budget deficit while championing education spending.

In 2005, Time magazine highlighted her as one of the nation’s top five governors. A rising political figure, Sebelius delivered the official party response to the 2008 State of the Union address, cementing her credibility among lawmakers.

Transitioning from state government to supporting the White House in 2009, Gov. Sebelius’ expertise in health policy steered a variety of initiatives during her time with Health and Human Services, including the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She exhibited leadership in women’s health issues, tobacco control, prevention of chronic diseases and mental health parity. She was also responsible for the nation’s response to natural disasters and emerging epidemics, including the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the H1N1 flu outbreak.

In recognition of the weight of these duties, Sebelius was named one of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes in 2013. She stepped down from Health and Human Services in summer 2014.

Sebelius earned her undergraduate degree from Trinity Washington University and a graduate degree in public administration from the University of Kansas.

Jameson Crane, Distinguished Service Award

For nearly seven decades, Jameson Crane has been an engaged partner of Ohio State, inspiring generations of Crane family members to follow his example as a philanthropic leader. His relationship with the university began in the 1940s when, after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he used the GI Bill to enroll at Ohio State.

In 1947, following three years on the Buckeye football team, he earned his undergraduate degree in business administration. He then forged a distinguished career with the Plastics Division of Columbus Coated Fabrics Corp. before joining Crane Plastics in 1960. Today, he is chairman emeritus of the Crane Group, a private holding and management company in Columbus.

Along with his family and late wife, Ann, Crane has provided significant support for academic programs, scholarships and building projects at Ohio State. He has helped make possible the Crane Study Table at the Younkin Success Center, the Crane Designated Professorship of Strategic Marketing and the Jameson Crane MBA Fellowship.

The Cranes also established three vital centers: the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, the Loann Crane Advanced Language Institute and the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute, which will be the nation’s largest sports medicine facility.

He has been a member of the Ohio State President’s Club since 1972. He also served on the Foundation Board of Directors from 1991 to 2002 and participated in the planning and execution of the Affirm Thy Friendship campaign, which raised $1.23 billion for the university.

An active member of the Columbus community, Crane has served as president of the Columbus Club and Columbus School for Girls boards. He also served for more than 25 years as a director of Bank One Corp.

Nancy L. Zimpher, Distinguished Service Award

A three-time graduate of Ohio State, Nancy L. Zimpher is a nationally recognized leader in higher education administration with a commitment to teacher preparation, urban education and university-community engagement.

After earning her undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees at Ohio State, Zimpher devoted more than two decades of service to the university’s College of Education. For 14 years, she was a faculty member in the School of Educational Policy and Leadership and held several vital positions before becoming dean of the College of Education in 1993 and executive dean of the professional colleges in 1994.

As dean, she successfully reorganized the College of Education into three schools and transitioned the teacher preparation programs from undergraduate to graduate level. This dramatic change led to higher admission standards, stronger placement records and heightened visibility for the college.

She was instrumental in the creation of Ohio State’s first Academic Plan, the formation of the Younkin Success Center and the establishment of Campus Partners and its activities related to the university’s development work with the city of Columbus. She also served on many University Senate and ad hoc committees, most notably the senate fiscal and provost search committees.

Since leaving Ohio State in 1998, Zimpher has become the first woman to serve as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, president of the University of Cincinnati and as the current chancellor of the State University of New York – the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education.

She is the co-founder of Strive Together in Cincinnati, a national model for fostering collaborations between universities and communities to promote student success throughout the education continuum. She remains active in numerous other organizations, including the National Association of System Heads and the American Council on Education. She also has chaired boards for the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, CEOs for Cities and the NCAA.