The Ohio State University at Newark

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to alumni who attended The Ohio State University at Newark for at least two semesters or three quarters and who have achieved distinction in their field and/or made a difference in the lives of others through outstanding professional, personal or community contributions. The award is presented annually at the Alumni and Student Homecoming Celebration Dinner.

2021 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Laura Lewis

Laura Lewis has lived in and served the Licking County community most of her life and there are few who don’t know Laura. She graduated from Newark Catholic High School in 1978 and attended The Ohio State University at Newark campus, receiving her Associate of Arts in 1983 and Bachelor of Science in 1984. She then started her long career at Park National Bank (PNB) as a Management Associate in October 1984. Laura quickly found her niche and she became an Administrative Officer of Human Resources in 1989. She would spend her entire career at PNB dedicated to Human Resources and in 2006 also took over the Marketing department. After 36 years Laura retired from PNB last year as Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources and Marketing. Her extensive experience and knowledge made her a valuable peer advisor in the Licking County business community regarding human resource issues.

Laura was a trailblazer and mentor for many women in the banking industry. Many professionals become involved in community service but Laura’s dedication to our community has been beyond exemplary. She has, and in many cases continues, to sit on many local boards and committees which include: The Midland Theatre (2012-present), Big Brothers Big Sisters (President 2012-2013) ,Licking County Chamber of Commerce (2012-2018), Newark Rotary Club (President 2012-2013), United Way of Licking County (President 2007-2010), St. Francis de Sales Parish School Board, Newark Granville Symphony Orchestra, Newark Catholic High School Foundation (2018-present), Human Resources Management Association (President 1996-1997), and The Ohio State University Alumni Advisory Council (2008-2013).

Laura has also served as Chair for many successful fundraising/capital campaigns including, United Way of Licking County (2004-2005), Newark Catholic High School INSPIRE 2.4 million campaign and currently as Chair for The Midland Theatre’s $2million comprehensive campaign. She has 32 years of cumulative giving to The Ohio State University and has made generous contributions to the Next Generation Challenge Scholarship Fund and the John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology. As a board member of the Park National Bank Foundation, she’s advocated for generous gifts to Ohio State Newark in support of student scholarships, capital campaigns and event sponsorships. Additionally, Laura has been a generous supporter of Pelotonia and a member of Ohio State Newark’s peloton, Team Buckeye-Rolling for a Cure since its inception in 2010.

2020 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Diane S. DeLawder

Thirty years after she graduated, alumna Diane DeLawder still maintains a strong bond with The Ohio State University at Newark today. The Newark resident was named the recipient of the Ohio State Newark Distinguished Alumni Award in a virtual alumni event on November 5.

“As I began my education studying early and middle childhood education, I discovered what would become a lifelong love of this institution,” DeLawder said in a video address. “The professors were engaging, knowledgeable and really made me feel that I could be successful.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1980, DeLawder taught in the Licking Valley School District and then in Lancaster City Schools. In 1993 she began volunteering with A Call to College; three years later she was named executive director. In 2018 she became chair of the governing board. A Call to College is a nonprofit college access organization that partners exclusively with the Newark City School District “to assure every qualified graduate the opportunity to pursue higher education.” The organization provides services and programming, many of which are directly tied to Ohio State Newark, to students from second grade through their senior year. For example, DeLawder and A Call to College partnered with Ohio State Newark as well as Central Ohio Technical College and Denison University in 2009 to develop the PEAK (Providing Early Awareness and Knowledge) Program, which provides more than 800 hours of activities and curriculum for second through eighth graders. A Call to College teamed up again with Ohio State Newark and Denison University plus The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art &Technology in 2013 to launch Kids Tech University, which gives students ages 9 through 12 years old hands-on experience in STEM education.

Ohio State Newark Dean/Director William L. MacDonald explained, “In her role with A Call to College, Diane always made extra efforts to partner with her alma mater, Ohio State Newark, to increase Newark students’ awareness of the great education available practically in their backyard. She stayed in close touch with our enrollment director and our admissions staff, and regularly shared Ohio State Newark information with A Call to College staff and advisors and interested students. “Diane has been an exceptional advocate and benefactor for The Ohio State University at Newark. The impact of her tireless work and generosity will last for generations.”

Many students have continued their education at Ohio State Newark because of the direct efforts of DeLawder through A Call to College. DeLawder praised Enrollment Director Diane Kanney and Financial Aid Director Faith Phillips for making Ohio State Newark a first-choice school among local students. “Even though the university at the time [Delawder was a student] was small, consisting of two buildings, there was a definite sense of community, and I felt I belonged. Through the years, I have remained connected to the Newark area and through my work at A Call to College discovered a strong bond and partnership with others at The Ohio State University at Newark who truly wanted to help students achieve.”

DeLawder served on the Ohio State Newark advisory board from 2010-2019. She and her husband, Daniel, have been generous supporters of the university. From the Next Generation Challenge Scholarship campaign in 2011 to construction of the John and Mary Alford Center for Science in Technology in 2018, the DeLawders have funded both capital projects and scholarships since 1992 as well as being consistent supporters of Ohio State Newark's Pelotonia team.

The Ohio State University Alumni Association recognized DeLawder in 2017. She received the Heinlen Award for university advocacy, which is presented to those who have realized outstanding achievements in advocating the interests of the university. Diane has also served her community in other ways. She currently serves on the Midland Theatre’s Board of Directors, on the Steering Committee for the Boys and Girls Club of Newark, and as Chair of A Call to College’s Governing Board.

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Mara Weber, PharmD

From judging science fairs in county schools to advocating for patients with polycystic kidney disease in Washington, D.C., pharmacist Mara Weber uses her education and experiences in health care to give back both locally and nationally. She was rewarded with The Ohio State University at Newark Distinguished Alumni Award at the annual alumni and student Homecoming celebration dinner on October 3.

“I am very honored to have been selected to receive this award. The foundation that I received at Ohio State Newark was paramount to my success in my career and education path,” said Weber, who received a Doctor of Pharmacy in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science in 2007 from Ohio State and an associate degree in radiologic science technology from Central Ohio Technical College in 2005. She is currently an antimicrobial stewardship and medication safety pharmacist at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. “I would not be where I am now and would not have been able to capitalize on opportunities had I not started at Newark.”

While at Ohio State Newark, Weber was a LeFevre Fellow under the guidance of Assistant Professor Emeritus Robert Klingensmith, PhD. Fellowship recipients receive a scholarship for demonstrated academic success and participate in service learning.

“Dr. Klingensmith was a very influential professor in my journey. How he cared about his community and spreading the message of service learning/outreach was extremely impactful,” said Weber. “This program ignited a fire within me to help my community; I took this and got involved with the Central Ohio Polycystic Kidney Foundation.” She served as the advocacy chair from 2009-2014 and the central Ohio chapter coordinator from 2014-2016 during which time she orchestrated the Central Ohio Polycystic Kidney Disease Walk and exceeded fundraising for the $500,000 goal. She also met with politicians at all levels, including four trips to the nation’s capital, to advocate for organ donation legislation, promote insurance coverage for medication and lobby for research funding.

Weber is also active in education both within her profession and at the secondary level. Prior to becoming a clinical pharmacist, she worked as a radiographer. Integrating her two careers, she presented two continuing education presentations, “Overdose: Receptors to the Rescue” and “Pharmacology: Just the Basics,” with positive reviews to the Ohio Society of Radiologic Technologists in 2018. When a local school needed judges for their senior projects, Weber took on a mentor role that allowed her to share advice for college.

“I would recommend Ohio State Newark to any student looking to start or expand on their college career,” she said. “I have had a nontraditional college experience, and my time at Ohio State Newark made it the most enjoyable experience. The one-on-one interactions with professors and exposure to research sets an amazing foundation, and the opportunities are only expanding.”

2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Katheryn M. Lloyd

Attorney Katheryn M. Lloyd might be considered the epitome of distinguished, and now she can add one more honor to the list that proves it. Lloyd received The Ohio State University at Newark Distinguished Alumni Award on Thursday, Oct. 4 at the 2018 Alumni and Student Homecoming Celebration Dinner at the Newark campus.

“Kathy lives up to the Ohio State motto of education for citizenship in both her personal and professional life,” said Dean/Director William L. MacDonald.

She is a graduate of Granville High School in Granville, Ohio. Lloyd attended Ohio State Newark and earned a Bachelor of Arts at The Ohio State University. She then earned a Juris Doctor at Duke University’s School of Law. She was not able to attend college right away after high school and needed to stay close to home to assist with her family’s horse business, Grenoble Stables, so she felt like her college options were very limited. She also had to finance her education on her own which made her realize she had to search for a place that would meet her specific needs. That is when she found Ohio State Newark, an affordable option that allowed her be close to home and carried the prestigious Ohio State name and reputation.

As a student, Lloyd distinguished herself as a leader both in and out of the classroom. She served as a student representative on the Ohio State Newark Advisory Board; was elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior; received the award for the most outstanding graduating senior who began at a regional campus; and graduated summa cum laude majoring in French and English.

“Thank you to Ohio State Newark for my education and to all the professors and staff here who made it possible,” said Lloyd.

Lloyd continued this pattern in law school at Duke. She was named editor of the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law; selected as a member of the National Moot Court Team, the Jessup International Moot Court Team, and the Rousseau International Moot Court Team; and performed clerkships at both Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP in Columbus, Ohio, and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in Washington, D.C., and Brussels, Belgium.

After graduating from Duke University’s law school, she returned to Central Ohio to pursue her legal career because she felt the pull of the family business once again. Lloyd joined the firm of Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP in Columbus where, in 2008, she became the youngest person ever to be named partner. In 2013, she assumed the role of owner and managing member of the family business, Grenoble Stables. She teaches riding lessons, trains horses and is currently responsible for the care of 23 horses and ponies.

Lloyd is a sustaining member of the Columbus Bar Foundation, which supports access to justice for those whose resources may not otherwise permit it. She is an active member of the Columbus Bar Association, having served as Chair of the Federal Court Committee, a member of the New Lawyers Committee and as a current member of the Judicial Screening Committee. She served as a volunteer mentor for the Summer Leadership intern program for Columbus City Schools’ students. She was also a volunteer mentor for the Ohio Supreme Court Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring program.For five years, she was the firm’s liaison to the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio. Lloyd was named among the Best Lawyers in America for commercial litigation in 2017 and an Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011. She has served on the Ohio State Newark Board of Trustees since 2014. In December 2014, she began endowment of the Katheryn M. Lloyd Scholarship Fund at Ohio State Newark to provide scholarships to academically qualified students who grew up working on family farms or in family businesses.

2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Judge Luann Cooperrider

Judge Luann Cooperrider, Perry County Probate-Juvenile judge, has received yet another accolade in her long and distinguished career—The Ohio State University at Newark Distinguished Alumni Award. The Thornville resident was presented with the award at the 2017 Student and Alumni Homecoming Dinner at the Newark campus on Thurs., Oct. 5.

“Judge Cooperrider truly represents how starting your college and career path at Ohio State Newark can be a connection to an extraordinary life,” said Ohio State Newark Dean/Director William L. MacDonald. “We are incredibly pleased to present this second annual award to such a notable alumna. She has built a career out of helping others and putting community first.”

Cooperrider is a graduate of Sheridan High School in Thornville, Ohio. She attended Ohio State Newark and earned a Bachelor of Arts at The Ohio State University. She then earned a Juris Doctor at Capital University’s law school and also completed graduate work at Loyola University in Rome, Italy.

In her early career Cooperrider was the night prosecutor-hearing officer in Licking County from 1982 to 1990 and also taught business law classes at Central Ohio Technical College from 1985 to 1988. In 1986, she became the first female lawyer to be an assistant prosecutor in Perry County, a position she held until 1990. She took office as the Perry County Probate-Juvenile judge in 1991 and became the first female judge in Perry County. She also has been a professor of various law courses at Hocking College, Perry County campus, New Lexington.

Throughout her career Judge Cooperrider has received many honors and awards, including: president of the Ohio Association of Juvenile Judges, Ohio State Bar Association Women in Law Award, Ohio Education Service Center Award for Enhancing Education to the Youth of Perry County, president of the Ohio Juvenile Court Judges Board of Trustees, Grand Master’s Community Service Award from the Freemasons, and the Ohio Justice Alliance for Community Corrections C.J. McLin award, as listed on the Perry County Juvenile Court/Probate Court website.

In 2008, Judge Luann Cooperrider was instrumental in starting a free legal clinic in Perry County with Judge Dean Wilson of the Perry County Court. In 2012, Judge Cooperrider and Judge Wilson were honored by The Ohio State Bar Foundation with an Outstanding Organization Award.

Photo: William L. MacDonald, dean/director of Ohio State Newark and Judge Luann Cooperrider

2016 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

Jerry Besanceney

A man who credits his life success to his start at The Ohio State University at Newark is the first winner of the Ohio State Newark Distinguished Alumni Award. Jerry Besanceney of Buckeye Lake received the award at the 2016 Homecoming Dinner on the Newark campus Thurs., Sept. 29.

“Jerry is a wonderful man who has given back to Ohio State Newark in numerous ways,” said Ohio State Newark Alumni Relations Director Pat Whilding. “We are thrilled he is the winner of this new award to honor and appreciate our supportive alumni.”

Besanceney attended Ohio State Newark from 1963-1964 before joining the military. He returned to the Newark campus in 1970 after completing active military duty. Besanceney’s nomination letter was submitted by Bob McGaughy, a 1960 Ohio State graduate who used to work on the Newark campus. In the letter, McGaughy writes that Besanceney credits Ohio State Newark for being a contributing factor in whatever success he achieved in life.

Even though Besanceney completed his degree in international studies on the Columbus campus, he valued his time on the Newark campus and maintains a strong desire to give back. Besanceney served for nine years on the Ohio State Newark Advisory Board. He also established and contributed to an endowment fund in his name to provide scholarship assistance to Ohio State Newark students.

“Jerry has also been very involved with alumni events and has assisted with recruiting students to this campus,” said Whilding. “Jerry is always an eager participant in anything I ask him to do. He has been a part of alumni panels on Buckeye Visit Day, did a recruiting video displayed on the website and recently assisted with the Convocation event welcoming students.”
Besanceney worked in various leadership and management roles throughout the course of his business career. He also retired from the United States Army at the rank of Colonel in 2002. Today he is very active with SCORE, a volunteer mentoring program for new and growing businesses. Besanceney is an active member of the Newark Rotary Club and serves on the board of directors for the Licking/Knox Goodwill Industries.

“Jerry regularly attends as many alumni functions on the Newark campus as he can and was the guest speaker last year for Homecoming,” said Whilding. “He is proud to be a Newark campus alumnus and we are lucky to have him. He’s just a terrific guy and is so deserving of this honor.”

Photo: Associate Dean of Academics Melissa Jungers and Jerry Besanceney