The Ohio State University Alumni Association

2021 Alumni Awards: Call for Nominations

At Ohio State, we know our people have the potential to change the world. We encourage you to recognize those alumni who are the best representatives of our university in their communities, and are committed to creating vibrant futures for all.

2021 Alumni Award Nominations are now closed.

Alumni Awards Nominations Frequently Asked Questions

First, please ensure that your responses accurately answer the questions in the application. The questions for every award category are intentionally different, as each award is based on distinct desired qualifications of nominees. The strongest nominations show how the nominee exemplifies the qualities of that particular award through stories and descriptions that cannot be found in a resume.

The strongest nominations are rarely the longest, but provide the richest information in a concise way, so that it stands out among others that the selection committee is also reading. Resumes or lists of highlighted activities are great ways to compile the many accomplishments of the nominee, so that those items do not have to take up a lot of space in the responses. Letters of recommendation can help provide a well-rounded nomination, showcasing multiple points of view of the nominee as well.

Each response should be 2–3 paragraphs. The selection committee is reading dozens of nominations, so we recommend keeping your responses succinct and around half a page each. Remember that letters of recommendation can tell more of the nominee’s story and supplement the responses. The letters and responses should not be duplicative but should highlight different aspects of the nominee.

Please provide no more than three letters of recommendation. Gather letters from a variety of sources who know the nominee well and can speak to different aspects of their work and/or service.

We recommend only nominating one award per person, as multiple nominations can become weaker and less focused than one award submission per alumnus (especially if you simply copy and paste responses to multiple award categories). We recommend that you look through the descriptions to choose the award category for which you can write the strongest nomination. Be sure to respond fully to the specific questions.

All nominators, regardless of whether or not your nominee has won, will be informed once all award winners have been chosen and notified. Nominators may nominate the same person again in future years, and are also able to decide whether their nominee is notified of their nomination or not, should they not be chosen as an honoree.

The Honors

Alumni Medalist Award

The highest honor afforded by The Ohio State University Alumni Association. It’s presented to alumni who have gained national or international distinction in their chosen field or profession — those advocates who have brought extraordinary credit to the university and significant benefit to humankind.

Archie M. Griffin Professional Achievement Award

Presented to alumni who have superb records of career accomplishments and made outstanding professional contributions.

Dan L. Heinlen Award

Awarded to those who have realized outstanding achievements advocating on behalf of Ohio State with one or more of its important audiences. It recognizes accomplishments ranging from student and faculty recruitment to advocacy with elected officials and thought leaders.

Diversity Champion Award

Granted to alumni who have made a significant and sustained contribution that fosters diversity and inclusion in their broader communities and/or organizations. The recipient will recognize and respect the value of individual differences, such as with race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran or military service status, gender identity, economic status, political belief, marital status or social background.

Josephine Sitterle Failer Award

Presented to those whose volunteerism has enhanced the quality of student life at the university.

Ralph Davenport Mershon Alumni Award

Presented to alumni who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to The Ohio State University.

Robert M. Duncan Alumni Citizenship Award

Given to alumni who have distinguished themselves through service to humanity and who best exemplify the university’s motto, “Education for Citizenship.” Nominees will have performed significant voluntary service to their communities beyond the call of business or professional duty.

William Oxley Thompson Alumni Award

Awarded to young alumni who have demonstrated notable achievement through a career, civic involvement or both. Nominees must not reach their 36th birthday during the year in which the award is given.