The Ohio State University Alumni Association

2020 Alumni Awards

Brian L. Amison ’97 DDS — Robert M. Duncan Award

Presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves in service to humanity and who have best exemplified the university’s motto, “Education for Citizenship,” by having performed significant voluntary service to their community beyond the call of business or professional duty.

headshot of Brian Amison

Selfless service, always with a smile

Feeling blessed himself, this alumnus places caring about and for others among his most important missions.

By Tammarra Pace

Talking to Brian Amison ’97 DDS, two things are most striking: his positivity and the huge smile he wears when discussing his passion for serving the community.

Amison has known he wanted to be a dentist since he was 6 years old. That realization came during a dental appointment in his hometown of Lorain, Ohio, where he saw his dentist skillfully comfort another child who came in crying and left happy and smiling. He knew then he wanted to do the same. Unwavering in his career choice, Amison chose Ohio State for his dental studies. Afterward, he established a practice in Canton, Ohio, and built strong ties to his northeast Ohio community.

Amison believes it is his obligation to turn his own blessings into blessings for others, and he has for years provided free dental services to families unable to afford care. He also serves as a mentor through 100 Men of Lorain County, which is committed to the development and economic empowerment of youth, and cares for homeless individuals in Summit County through Haven of Rest Ministries.

What is your idea of success?

Being able to sleep at night and being able to make a positive impact on people’s lives — to make a difference. My mom is a teacher, and she still is [working], so I watched her being an educator and helping people. My dad loved to give back as well, so it was natural for me to want to do the same.

What do you consider the most overrated or underrated virtue?

Kindness is underrated. We can all have our differences, but being able to appreciate others’ viewpoint is important. We should recognize that we share common goals as human beings.

What is your most marked characteristic?

I’m very optimistic and positive. I feel like you have a choice to be positive or negative. It doesn’t mean that everything goes right all the time, but you can choose to look at things from a positive aspect.

If you weren’t an accomplished dentist, what talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be a football coach! You have to respect the impact Ohio State coaches like Urban Meyer and Ryan Day have had not just in football but on young men’s lives as well.

Who are your heroes?

My parents, number one. They supported me and disciplined me when I needed to be when I was growing up and loved me when I needed to be loved. Also, Martin Luther King Jr. Another hero is President Grant because of everything he did during and after the Civil War. He was a man well ahead of his time … and he was from Ohio, too!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being able to make a difference in people’s lives. The dentist chair isn’t the place where most people want to be. But being able to ease their fears — that means a lot to me.

See all 2020 Alumni Award honorees