The Distinguished Service Award was established by the Board of Trustees in 1952 to recognize individuals who have rendered exceptional service to the university. Awards are not made on the basis of long, faithful, or loyal service alone, but rather for service that is truly distinguished. Recipients of this award have provided a broad spectrum of services to the university in both official and unofficial capacities.
Past Award Recipients
David T. Harrison, PhD
A national leader in higher education, Dr. David Harrison has devoted his career to lifting lives and communities through wider access to education. Since 2010, when Dr. Harrison joined Columbus State Community College as its president, the institution has more than tripled its graduation rate.
Through his effective leadership, the Columbus State team of faculty and staff has developed innovative programs and partnerships with other colleges and universities, corporations and nonprofit organizations. Dr. Harrison was instrumental in creating Preferred Pathway, a program that guarantees transfer admission to Ohio State for Columbus State graduates. This initiative served as the model for the statewide Ohio Guaranteed Transfer Pathway program.
His commitment to educational access and success is expansive. He established Central Ohio Compact, a coalition of K-12 school districts and higher education institutions that helps students complete high school and progress seamlessly through public or private post-secondary education.
Dr. Harrison’s dedication to student success, workforce innovation and civic engagement has elevated Columbus State to national prominence. The college received the 2019 Leah Myer Austin award, a national recognition for community colleges that demonstrate equitable outcomes in student success. His work on equity and institutional partnerships – particularly for first-generation students, students of color and low-income students – led to Columbus State’s recognition as an Achieving the Dream College in 2012. Three years later, it earned the organization’s distinction as a “Leader College.”
Before joining Columbus State, Dr. Harrison served as vice provost for regional campuses at the University of Central Florida, where he created innovative transfer programs linking community college graduates to the university. He has held administrative leadership positions at Sinclair Community College in Ohio and Seminole State College in Florida.
Dr. Harrison earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton, his master’s from Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh and his Ph.D. in education from The Ohio State University.
Frederick L. Ransier, III
A distinguished lawyer and public servant, Mr.Frederick L. Ransier III exemplifies engaged citizenship. His leadership in central Ohio has strengthened educational opportunities, revitalized neighborhoods and enlivened underserved communities with strategic partnerships and new resources.
Mr. Ransier’s service to the community is broad, longstanding and profoundly effective. He has served as a board member of the United Way of Central Ohio, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center East Hospital, Franklin Park Conservatory, Experience Columbus, Columbus College of Art and Design and Central State University.
As the first board chair of Partners Achieving Community Transformation (PACT), he served for nine years and developed innovative partnerships and programs that are reinvigorating Columbus’ historic Near East Side neighborhood. PACT was founded and funded by Ohio State, the city of Columbus and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.
The organization is creating a healthy, financially and environmentally sustainable community where residents have access to safe and affordable housing, quality health care and education and employment opportunities.
Mr. Ransier is a retired partner at the law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, where he served in the bankruptcy practice and the government affairs and lobbying group. Prior to joining Vorys Mr. Ransier practiced with his wife and law school classmate, Kathleen, as Ransier & Ransier for 26 years. He is a member of the national, Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations, the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees.
Several organizations have honored Mr. Ransier for his service. Among the awards he has received are The Ohio State University College of Law Alumni Service Award, the Columbus Bar Association Community Service Award and the Central State University Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year Award.
Mr. Ransier earned his undergraduate degree at Central State University and his Juris Doctorate from Ohio State’s Michael E. Moritz College of Law.