18:00 PM

Ohio State honors three at autumn commencement

COLUMBUS – Three individuals will be honored at The Ohio State University's autumn 2009 commencement for their contributions to society and academics, and their dedication to the university. Ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. Sunday (12/13), at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

An honorary doctorates will be presented to Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the president of Iceland.

Distinguished Service Awards will be presented to Mildred L. Chavous, retired staff member of Ohio State's graduate school, and John "Jack" W. Creighton, a 1957 graduate of the Moritz College of Law and Strategic Director of Madrona Venture Group, a Seattle-based venture capital company.

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Doctor of Public Service

Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the fifth and current president of the Republic of Iceland, is a respected statesman and environmental activist. He is a world leader in sustainable management of natural resources to control climate change.

President Grímsson has brought the lessons of Iceland's clean energy achievements to many parts of the world—to the United States and countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe—strongly advocating the use of geothermal energy as a renewable, economically viable, and reliable resource. He has actively supported training and research on desertification control and carbon sequestration, creating joint projects by scientists from different countries. He was among the initiators of a Global Roundtable on Climate Change that brought together representatives of nearly 100 European and American corporations, as well as experts, scientists, and opinion leaders.

In addition to his leadership role in environmental issues, President Grímsson also has been a strong advocate for peace and conflict resolution. He served as chair of the organization committee for the Council of Europe conference, "North-South: Europe's Role 1982-1984," and as president of the international association of Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) from 1984 to 1990. Under his leadership, the group organized a Peace Initiative of Six Heads of State.

President Grímsson earned his BA in economics and political science at the University of Manchester, England, in 1965 where he also completed his PhD thesis in political science five years later. He subsequently became the first professor of political science at the University of Iceland. He first took a seat in Althingi, the legislative assembly, in 1978 and served as Iceland's Minister of Finance 1988-1991.

President Grímsson has for several years been a board member of the Special Olympics, and he played a major role in the international drug prevention campaign, Youth in Europe, which now enjoys the participation of 19 European cities. He also has been active in promoting cooperation between Icelandic and foreign universities and has lectured at prominent American academic institutions, including Harvard, Columbia, Brown, and The Ohio State University, where he presented a Distinguished International Lecture on Climate Change in 2007.

Among many international awards he has received is the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize, which he received on behalf of the PGA, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, which he will receive early next year.

Mildred Lynn Chavous, Distinguished Service Award

Mildred Chavous served for more than three decades in The Ohio State University Graduate School's Office of Educational Administration. At the time of her 1996 retirement, she was director of graduation services and degrees. Graduate faculty and students remember her as the person who reviewed the format of dissertations and theses.

During her tenure at Ohio State, Mrs. Chavous served on numerous university-wide committees, advisory boards, and commissions, including the Ohio State Senate Select Committee on Minorities and Women, the search committees for the vice presidents for research and graduate studies and for development, the Council on Academic Excellence for Women, the Critical Difference for Women Campaign Steering Committee, Ohio State's 300th Commencement Celebration Committee, and the Faculty and Staff Health Care Benefits Committee.

Her work within the university has been recognized with a number of awards, including the Distinguished Staff Award, the Ohio State Citizenship Award, and a Certificate of Honor for her work with the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program Advisory Board.

Mrs. Chavous' impressive record of community service encompasses education, health, human services, and the cultural arts. She has served as a trustee of the Franklin County Board of Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, Ohio Humanities Council, Mid-Ohio Health Planning Federation, Cultural Arts Center Advisory Council, Thurber House, and Players Theatre. She has been honored by the Columbus Chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Office of the
Mayor of Columbus, the Black Women of Courage, Carats, Inc., and the Columbus Cancer Clinic. She has received the United Negro College Fund Distinguished Leadership Award and three separate commendations from the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate.

She was a founding member of the Twin Rivers Chapter of The Links, Inc., a national service organization of women with a threefold aim—civic, educational, and cultural. She is a charter member of the Columbus Chapter of Circle-Lets and served as national president from 1999-2001.

She was the first African American woman president of the Columbus Cancer Clinic, the first African American and woman to chair the United Way Campaign at Ohio State, and the first African American president of the Pro Musica Sustaining Board.

John W. Creighton Jr., Distinguished Service Award

John W. Creighton Jr. is strategic director of the Seattle-based venture capital company Madrona Venture Group. He was president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser Company from 1990 to 1998. Following the 9/11 terrorist attack, he served as interim chair and CEO of United Airlines, leading the airline through complex union negotiations. Subsequently, he became vice chair of Unocal Corporation. He currently serves on the board of Intrepid Learning Solutions and Saltchuk Resources in Seattle.

A two-time graduate of The Ohio State University, Mr. Creighton earned his BS in business administration in 1954 and his juris doctor in 1957. He also holds an MBA from the University of Miami, Florida, and is a certified public accountant.

He has remained close to his alma mater, serving on The Ohio State University Foundation Board and providing guidance to the university's development efforts in the northwestern United States. He was instrumental in planning the renovations to the Thompson Library, offering significant support to the Special Collections Reading Room and the office of the head of Rare Books and Manuscripts.

He has played a leading role in helping the Moritz College of Law rise to national prominence through the creation of the innovative Lawyers and Leadership program, which exposes law students to the values of leadership in their community and their professional and personal lives. In 2003, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Moritz College of Law and the Cullman Executive Award from the Fisher College of Business.

Mr. Creighton has been actively involved with a number of professional and civic organizations, including the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, where he is a director and past national president, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a director and former chair of the Washington State University Foundation Board and a civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for the state of Washington.

He is co-chair of the Seattle World Trade Center and a recipient of the Prime Minister's Trade Award from the government of Japan, which recognizes individuals who have made outstanding efforts to promote trade between Japan and the rest of the world.