Ohio State honors five at summer commencement
Five individuals will be honored at The Ohio State University's summer 2012 commencement for their contributions to society and academics, and their dedication to the university. Ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. Sunday (8/12), at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.
The honorary Doctor of Business degree will be awarded to commencement speaker Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
The university will present the Distinguished Service Award to Trella Romine, who was instrumental in establishing the Larry Yoder Prairie Nature Preserve at Ohio State Marion; Steve Sterrett, whose distinguished career with the university included many important communications and community outreach projects; Alec Wightman, a graduate of the Moritz College of Law who has earned a reputation as an exceptional lawyer and who has continued to give back to his alma mater; and Jon Woods, who retired this year after 28 years of leading The Ohio State University Marching Band.
Terry Stewart, Doctor of Business
Terry Stewart is president and CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Widely respected for his leadership in business, Mr. Stewart joined the Rock Hall in 1999 and has been recognized for bringing national prominence to the organization. With its mission to educate visitors, avid music fans, and scholars from around the world, the Rock Hall has welcomed more than eight million people from all 50 states and 100 countries since opening in 1995.
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Mr. Stewart graduated from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 1969, where he received a BS in engineering and a BA in education. By 1974, he had gone on to earn his MBA in finance and JD from Cornell University. For the next 15 years, Mr. Stewart built an impressive resume of leadership roles in industries ranging from finance to business development to engineering and, finally, to media. In 1989, he joined Marvel Entertainment Group, best known for its publication of comic books, where he served as president and chief operating officer and later as vice chair.
A prominent leader in music and culture, Mr. Stewart serves as a board member of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in Philadelphia, an advisor for the annual Summer Stage Concert Series in Central Park, and a member of the advisory committee for the prospective new National Museum of Hip-Hop. He also serves on the nominating committee for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame and is a member of the Abu Dhabi Investment House Entertainment Advisory Board in Abu Dhabi.
Locally, he serves on the boards for the Cleveland Film Commission, Positively Cleveland: the Cleveland Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio.
In 2008, Mr. Stewart was named the 48th Annual Business Executive of the Year by the Sales and Marketing Executives Association of Cleveland. He also was named a "Person Who Matters" by Crain's Cleveland Business and one of "The Power 100" by Inside Business magazine in 2010. His leadership has helped the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum become one of the country's leading organizations for explaining significant shifts in attitudes toward culture, race, and gender across all aspects of American life.
Trella H. Romine, Distinguished Service Award
Trella Romine of Caledonia, Ohio, is a dedicated advocate of The Ohio State University and her community. She is well known in her native Marion County for bringing passion to her work as a conservationist, a historian, and a volunteer.
Mrs. Romine's role in the enhancement and preservation of Marion has been both exceptional and enduring. A graduate of Harding High School in 1933, she owned and operated Hemmerly's Flowers for 30 years. Since her retirement in 1982, she has dedicated her endeavors to preserving the county's printed history as chair of the Publications Committee at the Marion County Historical Society. She also established the Rinker/Howser Resource Center at Heritage Hall, the home of the society. Additionally, she helped initiate the creation of the Marion County Parks District and donated 12 acres of her home site along the Whestone River, the Terradise Nature Preserve, to the parks.
Mrs. Romine has made an indelible mark on The Ohio State University at Marion. She was instrumental in creating the Larry Yoder Prairie Nature Preserve, an 11-acre outdoor learning laboratory used to teach students about horticulture and the environment. In addition to volunteering there, she helped establish the Marion Campus Prairie Nature Education Center Endowment to maintain the preserve. Her support has led to vital research and helped the university preserve land surrounding the Marion campus. In 2010, she established the Trella Hemmerly Romine/Howard W. Howser Endowed Scholarship Fund to further the education of students studying science at Ohio State.
In recognition of her leadership and volunteer activities, Mrs. Romine has received numerous awards, including the Tiffin Award of the Ohio Historical Society and the 2011 Presidential Award for Volunteerism for more than 4,000 hours volunteering at the Marion County Historical Society. Additionally, she served as a member of the board of trustees of the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums for 10 years, including four years as president.
Mrs. Romine has written five books on local and family history and recently published her autobiography, My Not So Ordinary Life.
Stephen A. Sterrett, Distinguished Service Award
Stephen A. Sterrett's distinguished career at The Ohio State University spans more than three decades. He has served the university in a wide variety of administrative roles and led many essential communications and community outreach projects before retiring in 2010.
A graduate of Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, Mr. Sterrett joined Ohio State in 1978 as editor of the faculty and staff newspaper, onCampus. Under his leadership, the newspaper received national recognition in 1981 and 1982 from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 1982, Mr. Sterrett moved from onCampus to serve as a news editor in University Communications, where he was named director of news services two years later.
In 1995, Mr. Sterrett spearheaded the community relations component of the Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment. In partnership with the City of Columbus, the University District, and Ohio State, the project aimed to initiate quality-of-life improvements in the neighborhoods surrounding Ohio State's Columbus campus. Mr. Sterrett's contributions not only helped strengthen the partnership between the university and the City of Columbus, but also earned national recognition for the Campus Partners organization.
Shortly before retiring, Mr. Sterrett helped create the Weinland Park Collaborative, a partnership of more than a dozen agencies and institutions working to improve the Weinland Park community adjacent to campus. This project has shown successful results, thanks in large part to his continued leadership.
Mr. Sterrett has received numerous awards for his service, including the 2001 Citizen Crime Stopper of the Year award, the University Community Business Association's Miracle Award, the Gold Medal Award for Public Information Programs, and an award from the University Community Association for outstanding service to the University District neighborhoods. In addition, he was recognized by Heidelberg University in 2010 as an outstanding alumnus.
Alec Wightman, Distinguished Service Award
Alec Wightman is a partner in the Columbus office of the national law firm Baker and Hostetler. His practice covers a wide range of business and business-related areas, with substantial experience in the health care industry. He served as executive partner at Baker and Hostetler from 2004 to 2008, and previously served as legal services partner for more than 10 years.
Mr. Wightman has earned a place in The Best Lawyers in America annually since 1997. He received his BA from Duke University in 1972, and his JD from The Ohio State University in 1975.
He continually gives back to his alma mater through his time, support, and leadership. Through his service on the National Council of the Michael E. Moritz College of Law Alumni Society and the college's campaign committees, he has helped the college enhance its educational programs, create student scholarships, and establish endowed faculty positions. Most notably, he has supported the development of two programs instrumental to teaching and outreach: Mentoring and More @
Moritz, which fosters interaction between students and alumni, and the Business Transaction clinic, which enriches the business law program. Mr. Wightman also co-chaired the committee that financed development of the college's "Barrister Club."
Mr. Wightman has been deeply involved in the success of the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. As a member of the James foundation board since 1990, he has helped guide the hospital through substantial periods of growth. During his 22-year tenure on the board, he has been a driving force behind successful fundraising, including the board chair during a capital campaign that raised more than $56 million for cancer genetics research. Mr. Wightman also has been a member of the operating board of the James since 2010.
In addition to his record of service at Ohio State, Mr. Wightman serves on the board of trustees of Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, and the board of trustees of Cleveland Rock and Roll, Inc., which operates the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Jon R. Woods, Distinguished Service Award
Dr. Jon Woods of Columbus is the longest-serving full-time director of The Ohio State University Marching Band and an outstanding teacher and mentor in the School of Music. Before his retirement this year, Dr. Woods served the Ohio State community for more than 38 years, beginning as associate director of the band in 1974, and serving as band director for more than 25 years.
Dr. Woods helped set the standard for college bands across the country, and his leadership will leave a strong legacy of innovation and perfection, both on and off the field. As an expert on technique and show design, Dr. Woods earned a reputation for memorable halftime productions. Under his direction, the band was awarded the prestigious Sudler Trophy as the outstanding college band in the country, and has been invited four times to Washington, D.C., to march in presidential inaugural parades-a true testament to Dr. Woods' vision. In addition to directing concerts within the School of Music and beyond, he is well known for adopting new technology, such as digitally charting band formations to enhance the visual elements of his shows.
During his tenure, Dr. Woods earned broad recognition. He was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 by the College Band Directors Association. In 2004, the Ohio State College of Arts and Sciences awarded him the Endowed Chair for the Director of Marching and Athletic Bands, the School of Music's first endowed chair. He received a National Service Award in 2008 from the Kappa Kappa Psi national office, and the Phi Beta Mu National Bandmasters Fraternity Hall of Fame Award in 2010. Most recently, he received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Award, and he continues to be routinely called upon to judge band competitions around the country.
Dr. Woods earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, his master's degree from The Pennsylvania State University, and his doctorate from the University of Michigan.
State honors five at summer commencement