The OACC Excellence Awards serve as a wonderful opportunity to recognize and honor the tremendous support our Association and member colleges receive from our trustees, alumni and dedicated advocates. Much of what Ohio's community colleges have been able to accomplish over the years would not have been possible without the continued efforts of those individuals honored annually through the Excellence Awards Program.
While these awards could never truly convey the appreciation we have for the individuals receiving them, they do carry a strong message, one that stems directly from the OACC’s ongoing mission to promote the continued quality, strength, vitality and effectiveness of its members.
First presented to its namesake in 1994, the Maureen C. Grady Award for Special Achievement recognizes the extraordinary leadership and contributions of those trustees who receive this award. Serving as an example for all trustees to emulate, Ms. Grady has dedicated much of her life to furthering the mission of community colleges in Ohio and throughout the nation. A former trustee of Clark State Community College, Ms. Grady also served as the first Chairperson for the OACC from 1993 to 1994. In addition to her work at the state level, Ms. Grady ser ved on the boards of both the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT). In fact, she became the first Ohioan to Chair the ACCT in 1994, and received the M. Dale Ensign Trustee Award from that organization in 1999 as the national trustee of the year. Trustees who have been selected as recipients of this award embody the qualities and characteristics Ms. Grady has demonstrated during her years of ser vice.
Presented annually to someone who has had a major, positive impact on community colleges in Ohio, the Terry M. Thomas Friend of Community Colleges Award is named in honor of the OACC’s founding Executive Director. A champion of higher education, Mr. Thomas served as OACC Executive Director for 14 years, from 1993 until 2007. Among his many significant accomplishments was his work to improve Ohio’s articulation and transfer of career-technical coursework and college and university credits; as well as the establishment of the OACC’s annual All-Ohio Academic Team Scholarship Recognition Program. After stepping down as Executive Director, Mr. Thomas continued to remain committed to higher education, going on to serve as Associate Vice Chancellor, Adult Workforce Development at the Ohio Board of Regents. Individuals who have been selected to receive this award embody the qualities and characteristics Mr. Thomas has demonstrated throughout his years of service.
The OACC Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented annually to a deserving alumnus of one of Ohio’s 23 community colleges who has, throughout the course of their life, demonstrated a passionate level of commitment to the local community and higher education. Since first being presented in 1995, numerous individuals who embody the core principles of this award have been recognized for their ongoing effor ts to advance the mission of community colleges. These recipients are very passionate about their work, and give generously of both their time and resources. Those who have been honored with this award have a proven track record for giving back to those communities and institutions that have given so much to them.
The Educational Leadership Award is named in honor of Dr. Richard N. Adams, a model of trustee engagement. For 18 years, Dr. Adams served as a trustee of Edison Community College, three of which were spent serving as Chairman of the Board. Additionally, from 1997 to 1999 he served as the OACC’s fourth Chairperson. Dr. Adams was also the second Ohioan to Chair the Association of Community College Trustees, and also served as Board President of the American Association of Community Colleges. Committed to public service and giving back to his community, Dr. Adams currently serves in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the residents of the 79th Ohio House District. The individuals who receive this award have, over a period of time, demonstrated an active commitment to, and participation in, trustee education and engagement.
The Founders Award was created by the OACC to recognize those trustees who were instrumental in the establishment of the Association. This award is presented to trustees who have left college board service during the previous year who were: an original delegate/alternate of the Association, or who were in attendance at the May 15, 1993, meeting at which the Association was established. The Founders Award provides current Association members with an opportunity to publicly recognize the contributions of those individuals who through their hard work and dedication, paved the way for the organization we are all part of today.
The All-Ohio Academic Team program provides statewide recognition and scholarships to outstanding students at Ohio’s 23 community colleges. Since the program began in 1997, more than $250,000 in scholarships has been awarded to hundreds of outstanding two-year college students. The All-Ohio Academic Team program is co-sponsored by Phi Theta Kappa, the international honors society for two-year colleges, and its Ohio Region. Funding has been made possible through the generous support of donors like Honda of America Mfg., Inc.
To be eligible for the All-Ohio Academic Team, students must be nominated by their college president. Nominees must be eligible to graduate during the current academic year and have a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.25. The rankings for the All-Ohio Academic Team are determined by the scores nominees receive in the All-USA Academic Team judging. Winners are selected on the basis of academic performance, demonstration of leadership, and community service involvement. Ten First Team members and ten Second Team members and Third Team members receive cash scholarships, as well as, Medallions, certificates, and pins.
Each year during Community College Month, members of the All-Ohio Academic Team are honored at a ceremony in Columbus. The 18th Annual All-Ohio Academic Team Recognition Luncheon will be held on Wednesday - April 30, 2014 in the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.