10
June
2010
|
12:00 AM
America/New_York

Ohio State honors five at summer 2010 commencement

COLUMBUS – Five individuals will be honored at The Ohio State University’s spring 2008 commencement for their contributions to society and academics, and their dedication to the university. Ceremonies begin at noon on Sunday (6/13), at Ohio Stadium.

Honorary doctorates will be presented to Francisco J. Ayala, one of the foremost evolutionary geneticists of our time, and commencement speaker David Gergen, who has served as an advisor to four U.S. presidents.

Distinguished Service Awards will be presented to Jack Lucks, a founding partner in Columbus-based Continental Real Estate Companies, former Ohio State football star Chris Spielman, and posthumously to Stefanie Spielman, who both worked tirelessly to increase public awareness of cancer and to promote the critical importance of medical research.

Francisco J. Ayala, Doctor of Science

Francisco Ayala is University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

Born in Madrid, Spain, he came to the United States in 1961 for graduate study in genetics at Columbia University. From there he went to Rockefeller University, then to California. He became a U.S. citizen in 1971.

Considered one of the foremost evolutionary geneticists of our time, Professor Ayala has made significant and wide-ranging experimental and theoretical contributions to evolution theory. His scientific research focuses on population genetics, the origin of malaria, the population structure of parasitic protozoa, and the molecular clock of evolution. He also writes about the interface between religion and science, and in 1981 served as a chief witness in the creationist trials in Arkansas that prevented religion from being taught as science in the classroom. He has published more than 1,000 articles and is the author or editor of 40 books.

In 2002 he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush in a White House ceremony, and last month he received the 2010 Templeton Prize for exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension from HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at Buckingham Palace.

Professor Ayala was a member of President Bill Clinton’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology and served as president and chair of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science from 1993 to 1996. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and numerous foreign academies.

David R. Gergen, Doctor of Public Service

David Gergen is a senior political analyst for CNN and has served as an advisor to four U.S. presidents. He is a professor of public service at the Harvard Kennedy School and director of its Center for Public Leadership. In 2000, he published the best-selling book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.

Mr. Gergen was born in Durham, North Carolina, where his father taught math¬ematics at Duke University. He graduated with honors from both Yale College (1963) and Harvard Law School (1967), and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for nearly three and a half years, posted to a ship in Japan.

Mr. Gergen joined the Nixon White House in 1971, as a staff assistant on the speech writing team, a group of heavy¬weights that included Pat Buchanan, Ben Stein, and Bill Safire. He went on to work in the administration of Gerald Ford and as an advisor to the 1980 George H.W. Bush presidential campaign. He served as director of communications for Ronald Reagan and as advisor to Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Warren Christopher on domestic and foreign affairs.

In his private life, Mr. Gergen works as a political journalist and analyst. From 1985–1986, he worked as an editor at U.S. News & World Report, where he remains an editor-at-large. His career in television began in 1985, when he joined the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour for widely praised Friday night discussions of politics. Today, he appears frequently on CNN as an analyst for Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer.

Mr. Gergen joined the Harvard faculty in 1999. He is active as a speaker on leadership and sits on many boards, including Teach for America, the Aspen Institute, and Duke University, where he taught from 1995–1999. He is a member of the Washington, D.C., Bar and the Council on Foreign Relations.

John E. Lucks Jr., Distinguished Service Award

Jack Lucks is a founding partner in Columbus-based Continental Real Estate Companies (CREC), a nation¬ally renowned developer of lifestyles and mixed-use centers. CREC has been awarded international honors for its work in urban renewal projects in Pittsburgh and for the I-670 Freeway Cap project in Columbus.

In addition, Mr. Lucks serves as director of Continental Realty, Continental Building Systems, Continental Office Furniture, and Continental Equities Companies.

A 1961 graduate of The Ohio State University in business administration and marketing, he has been actively involved in the university’s fund-raising efforts for the past several decades. He served as chair of The Ohio State University Foundation Board of Directors from 2004 to 2009, during which time the university brought in more than $1.2 billion in private support. He currently serves as a member of the Campaign Steering Committee as it plans for the largest fund-raising campaign in university history.

Along with his wife, Cherie, he has been a longtime supporter of the University Medical Center, especially the Heart and Vascular Center, with its pioneering Women's Cardiovascular Health Program, and the Comprehensive Cancer Center- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. In addition, he has dedicated his time and support to the Wexner Center for the Arts, Knowlton School of Architecture, Fisher College of Business, and College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Charles Christopher Spielman, Distinguished Service Award

Chris Spielman first inspired Ohio State football fans more than two decades ago with his skill as a Buckeye All-American linebacker and winner of the Lombardi Trophy. He now serves as a college football color analyst for ESPN and a sports news host for Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan in Columbus.

A highly recruited high school football player, the Canton, Ohio, native chose to come to Ohio State to play for Earle Bruce. During his college football career, he was a two-time All-American and a three-time All-Big Ten selection as best college football lineman. He still holds the Buckeyes’ record as the career leader in tackles. In 1988, after graduating from Ohio State with a degree in recreation education, he was drafted by the Detroit Lions, playing there for eight seasons. He subsequently played for the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns before retiring in 1999 with a serious neck injury. His broadcasting career started in 1999, as an NFL studio-show analyst for Fox Sports Net. He joined ESPN in 2001.

When his wife Stefanie’s breast cancer was discovered in 1998, Chris chose to forego the Buffalo Bills’ 1998 season to support his wife. Together, Stefanie and Chris launched The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Recognizing the importance of a strong caregiver to a patient battling cancer, the couple formed Stefanie’s Champions to benefit The Stefanie Spielman Patient Assistance Fund, as well as the research fund.

Throughout his wife’s illness, Chris never refused an opportunity to increase public awareness of cancer and to promote the critical importance of medical research. He continues to use his public persona unselfishly to continue the fight so impor¬tant to his late wife
Chris Spielman first inspired Ohio State football fans more than two decades ago with his skill as a Buckeye All-American linebacker and winner of the Lombardi Trophy. He now serves as a college football color analyst for ESPN and a sports news host for Sports Radio 97.1 The Fan in Columbus.

A highly recruited high school football player, the Canton, Ohio, native chose to come to Ohio State to play for Earle Bruce. During his college football career, he was a two-time All-American and a three-time All-Big Ten selection as best college football lineman. He still holds the Buckeyes’ record as the career leader in tackles. In 1988, after graduating from Ohio State with a degree in recreation education, he was drafted by the Detroit Lions, playing there for eight seasons. He subsequently played for the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns before retiring in 1999 with a serious neck injury. His broadcasting career started in 1999, as an NFL studio-show analyst for Fox Sports Net. He joined ESPN in 2001.

When his wife Stefanie’s breast cancer was discovered in 1998, Chris chose to forego the Buffalo Bills’ 1998 season to support his wife. Together, Stefanie and Chris launched The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Recognizing the importance of a strong caregiver to a patient battling cancer, the couple formed Stefanie’s Champions to benefit The Stefanie Spielman Patient Assistance Fund, as well as the research fund.

Throughout his wife’s illness, Chris never refused an opportunity to increase public awareness of cancer and to promote the critical importance of medical research. He continues to use his public persona unselfishly to continue the fight so impor¬tant to his late wife.

Stefanie Belcher Spielman, Distinguished Service Award

Stefanie Spielman is without peer in her courageous and selfless dedication to a cause. During her too-short lifetime, she touched countless lives throughout Ohio and beyond with her grace and compassion.

Stefanie and her high school sweetheart and football hero, Chris Spielman, both attended Ohio State where she majored in journalism with plans to pursue a career in broadcasting. The couple married in 1989.

In 1998, after being diagnosed with breast cancer, Stefanie and her husband decided to go public with her illness and use their prominence in the community to draw attention to the disease and the need for medical research. The couple launched The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research in partnership with Big Bear grocery stores, hoping to raise $250,000 for Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Within a short time, the fund raised $1 million and, over the next decade, the Spielmans raised more than $6 million for cancer research.

Inspired by the devoted care she received from Chris, Stefanie formed Stefanie’s Champions, a fund-raising event to honor other caregivers of cancer survivors. The event, now in its 10th year, has raised more than $1 million for The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. She also created The Stefanie Spielman Patient Assistance Fund to help breast cancer patients and their families who are strug¬gling financially. In 2002, she was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame for her work.

Despite enduring five bouts of cancer recurrence, Stefanie continued to promote breast cancer awareness and support through personal public appearances, speaking engagements, media interviews, endorsements, and, along with Chris, personal financial support. She leaves a legacy of hope and caring.