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 Thursday, 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.”