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Ohio State honors seven at spring 2013 commencement

Columbus, Ohio – Seven individuals will be honored at The Ohio State University’s spring commencement 2013 for their contributions to society and academics, and their dedication to the university. Ceremonies begin at noon on Sunday, May 5, at Ohio Stadium.

Honorary doctorates will be presented to President Obama; Annie Leibovitz, one of the most influential photographers of our time; Thomas D. Pollard, a professor of cell biology and molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, and Reinhard Rummel, who has dedicated his career to determining the earth’s gravity field with the utmost accuracy.

Distinguished Service Awards will be presented to Carole A. Anderson, who has dedicated more than 25 years to Ohio State, both as a key administrator and a distinguished professor in the health sciences; George A. Skestos, who has three decades of leadership and philanthropy at the university and in the central Ohio community; and Justine “Tina” Skestos, a devoted public servant and Ohio State ambassador.

The commencement ceremony - including President Barack Obama’s address to graduates - will be available via a live video stream. The stream begins at noon. Watch: http://commencement.osu.edu/video.html. Excerpts from the ceremony also will be broadcast on WOSU-TV May 6 at 7:30 p.m.

Barack H. Obama, Doctor of Laws

Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States. His story is the American story – values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.

With a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, President Obama was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. He was raised with help from his grandfather, who served in Patton’s army, and his grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management at a bank.

After working his way through college with the help of scholarships and student loans, President Obama moved to Chicago, where he worked with a group of churches to help rebuild communities devastated by the closure of local steel plants.

He went on to attend law school, where he became the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review. Upon graduation, he returned to Chicago to help lead a voter registration drive, teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, and remain active in his community.

President Obama’s years of public service are based around his unwavering belief in the ability to unite people around a politics of purpose. In the Illinois State Senate, he passed the first major ethics reform in 25 years, cut taxes for working families, and expanded health care for children and their parents. As a United States Senator, he reached across the aisle to pass groundbreaking lobbying reform, lock up the world’s most dangerous weapons, and bring transparency to government by putting federal spending online.

He was elected the 44th President of the United States on November 4, 2008, and sworn in on January 20, 2009. He and his wife, Michelle, are the proud parents of two daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.

Annie Leibovitz, Doctor of Arts

Annie Leibovitz is one of the most influential photographers of our time. She is well known for her portraits, which have come to define an era, but her work covers a wide range of genres, from reportage to landscapes.

Ms. Leibovitz was born in Waterbury, Connecticut, and studied painting and photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 1970, when she was still a student, she began working for Rolling Stone. She became the magazine’s chief photographer three years later. Over the course of a decade, Ms. Leibovitz established herself as the country’s foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian as well as portraitist. She published photo essays on scores of stories, including her accounts of the resignation of Richard Nixon and of the 1975 Rolling Stones tour. In the early 1980s she began working for Vanity Fair and then Vogue, where she expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life. She also created several prominent advertising campaigns, most notably for American Express and the Gap, and documented the creation of the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris.

Ms. Leibovitz’s work has been exhibited at many museums, including the National Portrait Gallery and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C, the International center of Photography in New York, the National Portrait Gallery in London, and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. Ms. Leibovitz also has published several collections of photographs, among them Women (1999, with Susan Sontag), A Photographer’s Life, 1990-2005 (2006), and Pilgrimage (2011).

A recipient of many awards, Ms. Leibovitz has been designated a Living Legend by the Library of Congress and a Commandeur in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. In 2005, in the American Society of Magazine editors’ compilation of the 40 top magazine covers of the past 40 years, Ms. Leibovitz held the top two spots: #1 for her Rolling Stone image of John Lennon and Yoko Ono taken the day Lennon was shot, and #2 for the photograph of the pregnant and nude Demi Moore taken for Vanity Fair. In 2012, she was honored with both the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art Award to Distinguished Women in the Arts and the Wexner Prize from the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.

Thomas D. Pollard, Doctor of Science

A professor of cell biology and molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, Thomas D. Pollard has focused a lifetime of research on the molecular basis of cellular movements.

With a career spanning more than four decades, Dr. Pollard has led research teams to study how cells divide into two during cytokinesis as well as discovering and characterizing proteins that cause cells to move. His fundamental and important discoveries are taught in cell biology courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at The Ohio State University and around the world. His innovative textbook for undergraduates is now in its second edition.

As a faculty member at Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins Medical School, and the Salk Institute, as well as Yale, Dr. Pollard has become known far and wide as an exceptional scientist and a towering figure in the field of cell biology. He has excelled in bringing an unusual cadre of cutting-edge technologies to the field, ranging from genetics and quantitative microscopy to biochemistry and biophysics.

Known as an engaging lecturer and teacher, Dr. Pollard is now Sterling Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Yale. His work includes the discoveries of motor proteins different from those in muscles as well as the Arp2/3 protein complex. In addition to his teaching and research, he has served as president of two national scientific organizations. Dr. Pollard is a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, the American Academy of Microbiology, the American Academy of
Arts and Sciences, the Biophysical Society, and the Institute of Medicine.

His creative, careful, and important work has been published more than 350 times in the most eminent and widely read peer-evaluated scientific journals. His leadership in both academics and research has been recognized by scholars around the world, resulting in numerous awards including the Rosenstiel Award from Brandeis University, the E.B. Wilson Medal from the American Society for cell Biology, and the Gairdner International Award in Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Pollard earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry and zoology from Pomona College in 1964, and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1968.

Reinhard Rummel, Doctor of Science

Reinhard Rummel of Munich, Germany, has dedicated his career to determining the earth’s gravity field with the utmost accuracy. Until his retirement in 2011, he served as a full professor and head of the Institute of Astronomical and Physical Geodesy at the Technical University of Munich. He is also the Carl von Linde Senior fellow at the university’s Institute of Advanced Study.

A world-renowned geodesist, Dr. Rummel’s lifelong academic pursuit in the area of gravity field determination was launched by a formative experience studying at The Ohio State University. After earning his PhD in 1974 from the Technical University Darmstadt, focusing on mathematical statistics and its application in the field of physical geodesy, he worked for several years with Ohio State Professor Richard Rapp as a postdoctoral researcher developing theories he would apply throughout his prestigious 35-year career.

Dr. Rummel’s crowning achievement was serving as the chief scientist and initiator of the GOCE mission sponsored by the European Space Agency, which involves satellite mapping of the earth’s gravity field over a 20-month period with unprecedented uniform accuracy. He was instrumental in convincing European space agencies of the necessity of the dedicated gravity mission and has spearheaded scientific work on the project and analysis of the project’s data.

Data generated by the satellite will produce important findings in the areas of oceanography, geophysics, and geodynamics. The highly accurate gravity models derived from the GOCE mission will serve to improve our understand­ing of ocean currents and sea level rise.

Dr. Rummel is known for down-to-earth clarity in his academic writing and his lively lecturing style, which has made him a favorite among his students. the coauthor of 14 books on geodesy and related topics as well as more than 175 scientific papers, he has received many prestigious science awards and is considered a leading scientist in the fields of physical and satellite geodesy. He is a member of the Academy of Science for Germany, Bavaria, and Hungary; and he is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a fellow of the International Association of Geodesy, for which he also has chaired numerous committees.

Carole A. Anderson, Distinguished Service Award

Carole A. Anderson has dedicated more than 25 years to The Ohio State University, both as a key administrator and a distinguished professor in the health sciences. Dr. Anderson held faculty appointments in the College of Nursing, College of dentistry, and the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine. She has played an instrumental role in shaping nursing education, as well as broadly influencing university policy through myriad leadership positions.

From 1986 to 2001, Dr. Anderson served as dean of the College of Nursing, where she raised the college’s research profile and brought technology to the forefront in nursing education. A strong advocate for applying classroom knowledge and research to real-world training, she developed new curriculums to better prepare the next generation of nursing students to be competent care providers. She also blazed trails in graduate education, creating practitioner-training programs and spearheading the state’s first nurse midwifery program.

Known as an exceptional leader, Dr. Anderson held numerous top positions in the university administration. She has served as interim dean of the Graduate School and executive dean of Health Sciences, in addition to serving as vice provost for Academic Administration and assistant vice president for Health Sciences. Additionally, she served as dean of the College of Dentistry, where she led a restructuring and alignment of the college with other health science colleges at Ohio State.

Dr. Anderson is a past president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a past editor of the academy’s journal, Nursing Outlook. She is a charter member and two-term chair of the Scientific Review Group of the National Institute of Nursing research, and served on the National Advisory Council of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research.

In Columbus, Dr. Anderson has served the community as a member of the Board of Health, the City of Columbus Health Department, and the board of directors of the Columbus AIDS task force. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Columbus Neighborhood Health Centers. In 2001, Dr. Anderson received the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award.

She received her undergraduate degree in nursing, a master’s in psychiatric nursing, and a Phd in sociology from the University of Colorado.

George A. Skestos, Distinguished Service Award

One of Ohio State’s most engaged and dedicated partners, George A. Skestos has three decades of leadership and philanthropy at the university and in the central Ohio community. For 25 years, he led the Homewood corporation, a land development and residential construction company that he founded in 1963. Since his retirement, Mr. Skestos has devoted himself to public service.

His commitment to The Ohio State University includes volunteer leadership at the highest level, personal engagement as a university ambassador, and generous philanthropic support. Mr. Skestos served on The Ohio State University Board of Trustees from 1991 to 2002, including one year as chair. During that time, he guided campus building projects, including the historic Ohio Stadium renovation and construction of the Jerome Schottenstein Center. He currently serves on the boards of University Hospital, University Hospital East, and the Wexner Medical Center.

The benevolent support of Mr. Skestos and his wife, Tina, reaches every corner of the university, from athletics to the Wexner Center for the Arts to the College of Veterinary Medicine to Ross Heart Hospital. They also have funded and named three medical chairs—the Hagop S. Mekhjian, MD, Medical Ethics and Professionalism Fund; Julius Skestos and Diana Skestos Chair in Urology; and Justine Skestos Chair in Minimally Invasive Neurological Spinal Surgery.

Along with his wife, Mr. Skestos founded both the IHS foundation, of which he is currently president and trustee, and the Salem Lutheran Foundation, which he serves as trustee. In June 2012, he was named a trustee of the New College of Florida.

In the central Ohio community, Mr. Skestos has served on several boards, including Huntington Bancshares, Central Benefits, and the Midland Life Insurance Company. He also has held appointments with the Ohio Housing Commission, Ohio Water Development Authority, and Central Ohio Regional Airport Authority.

Mr. Skestos earned his undergraduate, MBA, and law degrees from the University of Michigan.

Justine A. Skestos, Distinguished Service Award

For more than 30 years, Justine “Tina” Skestos has been a devoted public servant and Ohio State ambassador. Among her many community involvements, she has held leadership roles at BalletMet, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. She was also a longtime member of the Franklin Park Conservatory Board of Trustees, contributing greatly to the thriving success of the conservatory today.

Mrs. Skestos is a passionate advocate for Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, bolstering the college’s teaching, research, and clinical programs. As a valued volunteer at the college, she serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council. Her leadership was key to the renovation of the Veterinary Medical Center’s Hospital for Companion Animals lobby. She also founded the “Bandana Program,” an initiative designed to create goodwill and raise public awareness of the Veterinary Medical Center.

A champion of women’s initiatives at Ohio State, Mrs. Skestos has served as a member of the National council for OSU Women and continues to be an active supporter of the critical difference for Women and Women & Philanthropy programs at the university. In addition, she served on the host committee for the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute’s annual “Up on the roof” event from 1994 to 2001.

Both Mrs. Skestos and her husband, George, are generous benefactors of the Ohio State University. Together, they have given their time and treasure to the Wexner Medical Center, Wexner Center for the Arts, the College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Athletics, and the College of Veterinary Medicine, among others. They were honored in 2004 with the Gerlach Development Volunteer Award, which recognizes significant service to the university.

Mrs. Skestos earned her undergraduate degree in physical education and a master’s in sports administration from Ohio University.

About The Ohio State University
Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions.