Distinguished Service Award

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

Photo of Karen Bell

Karen Bell



Karen A. Bell, who served as dean of The Ohio State University’s College of the Arts (now part of the College of Arts and Sciences), recognizes the impact that art has on community empowerment and enrichment — and has spent her career promoting the medium and expanding opportunities so more people can experience its many benefits.

Professor Bell, who came to Ohio in 1980, is a professor, choreographer, dancer and arts booster. As chair of the Department of Dance, she was instrumental in paving the way for the implementation of African and African-based dance forms throughout the curriculum. She was also an early adopter of integrating advanced technologies throughout the department. 

Professor Bell, who is now a professor emerita, was named the university's first associate vice president for arts outreach in 2008.Under her leadership, Ohio State became the first North American collaborator with the Royal Shakespeare Company on “Stand Up for Shakespeare,” a teacher-training program aimed at incorporating the playwright into the curricula of area schools.

Professor Bell received her BA in sociology from The State University of New York at Potsdam and her MFA in dance from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was the recipient of the Bessie Schönberg Dance Scholarship. She also has taught on the faculties of Cornell University and Wells College and is the co-author of Women Leading the Way: Reflections on Life and Leadership.

Outside of academia, Professor Bell provided a leadership role at the Greater Columbus Arts Council, which recognized her profound influence, saying she “singlehandedly changed the face of the arts in our community.”

Professor Bell was instrumental in the founding of Ohio State’s Urban Arts Space in 2008, a gallery and performance venue in downtown Columbus that serves as a primary point of contact between the university and the community through concerts, plays, lectures, workshops and exhibitions.

Professor Bell and her husband, Ben Maiden, are also the creators of the Karen A. Bell Dance Fund for Community Outreach, a scholarship program that supports student projects, performances and workshops that benefit people who have limited access to dance.

Photo of G Gilbert Cloyd

G Gilbert Cloyd



Few understand the transformative nature of education more than G. Gilbert “Gil” Cloyd, and he has spent a lifetime helping others access academic opportunities.

He was the first person in his family to graduate from college and has since dedicated his time to providing educational opportunities to graduates of Ohio high schools seeking to further their education.

Dr. Cloyd received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ohio State in 1969 and returned for graduate work in veterinary pathology two years later.

Dr. Cloyd entered private practice in Cincinnati and began consulting work in toxicology, including work with Procter & Gamble, which he joined full time in 1974 and quickly rose through the ranks. After serving in several positions in the product safety division, he moved to Norwich, New York, in 1984 and assumed responsibilities for research and development in the company’s pharmaceuticals business. He was appointed vice president in 1991 and later assumed responsibilities as vice president for research and development in Asia, a position he held until 2000 while residing in Kobe, Japan.

Dr. Cloyd returned to Cincinnati in 2000 to serve as Procter & Gamble’s chief technology officer. In this capacity, he had overall responsibility for the company’s global research and development organization, an operation that included about 9,000 employees in 28 global technical centers.

Dr. Cloyd was appointed to Ohio State’s Board of Trustees in 2005 and served as chair from 2007-09. He has chaired the university’s Foundation Board since 2019.

A devoted philanthropist, Dr. Cloyd is dedicated to expanding college access, most notably by establishing scholarships benefiting veterinary medical students and students from his hometown of Lima, Ohio. He is also a firm believer in boosting Ohio State’s research capabilities to create solutions the world needs now and foster economic development.

Dr. Cloyd has received numerous university awards and recognitions, including the College of Veterinary Medicine Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996, the College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society Recognition Award in 2006, the John B. Gerlach Sr. Award in 2010 and induction into The Ohio State University at Lima Hall of Fame in 2016.

Photo of Karen Hendricks

Karen Hendricks



Ms. Karen L. Hendricks earned a BS in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University. She leveraged the knowledge and experience she gained at Ohio State during her professional career and is the retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of The Baldwin Piano & Organ Company. Prior to this, she was the executive vice president of the Dial Corporation, overseeing the Dial soap brand. She spent 21 years at the Procter & Gamble Company in increasing levels of management responsibility in product development and general management in the health care, paper and beauty care businesses. In retirement, Ms. Hendricks spent 13 years serving on the public corporate boards of AC Nielsen, Columbia Energy Group and Ingredion. She left corporate board work to be her husband’s caregiver in his losing battle with cancer along with the dedicated doctors and staff at The James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State.

Ms. Hendricks has extensive nonprofit board experience, serving on the board of trustees of Ohio State for nine years and on the board of the Association of Governing Boards of Colleges and Universities. More recently she completed her second term on The Immokalee Foundation Board in Naples, Florida. Earlier nonprofit experience includes the executive committee of the board of directors of the Greater Cincinnati American Red Cross, the Ohio Business Roundtable, executive committee of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees and a member of the Cincinnati Business Committee. Ms. Hendricks is a current resident of Naples, Florida, and has four adult children and two grandchildren.

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James King



Over the course of 50 years and several influential positions at The Ohio State University, Professor Emeritus James King founded the Department of Neuroscience, advised deans and mentored faculty as chair of Anatomy and subsequently Neuroscience. He prepared students at all levels for successful careers and contributed greatly to establishing the integrated spinal cord research program for which Ohio State has become internationally recognized.

Dr. King received his bachelor’s degree from Taylor University and earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from Ohio State. He started his illustrious career at the university first as an anatomy instructor in 1965 and initially retired in 2003 as associate dean for graduate education. His dedication to science and education drew him back to work on special projects and continue sharing his insights and expertise.

As a strong advocate for developing a robust neuroscience program at Ohio State, Dr. King worked as the director of research in the division of Neurological Surgery and ultimately separated neuroscience from other fields of study to establish the Department of Neuroscience. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Neuroscience Graduate Program and directed it for over a decade.

In addition, Dr. King helped develop the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program and mentored several graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He received awards from the university for his commitment to students, including an Outstanding Teaching Award, a Basic Science Excellence in Teaching Award and an Alumni Faculty Teaching Award. He advanced scientific research and educational excellence for another 12 years before officially retiring in 2015 after five decades of service.

Dr. King and his wife, Colleen, are both committed to engaging with communities near and far. Dr. King has traveled to Africa and Guatemala on mission trips, and he and his wife have served at the Stowe Mission, an outreach program designed to uplift and improve the lives of people living in south Columbus. Dr. King’s work at the university enriched the lives of countless Buckeyes and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Photo of Brad Myers

Brad Myers



Through five decades as a student, staff member, volunteer and leader at The Ohio State University, Brad A. Myers has enriched the Buckeye community in ways that are both lasting and deeply profound.

After earning his Bachelor of Science and Juris Doctor from Ohio State, Mr. Myers embarked on a 36-year career as a Buckeye that culminated in his serving as the university registrar for nearly 20 years.. During this time, he led a number of significant improvements to student services and campus life, including the shift from telephone to online course registration, the implementation of the current student information system, and the conversion from a quarter- to a semester-based academic calendar. He retired in 2016 as the second-longest-serving registrar in university history, and he temporarily returned to the role in an interim capacity in 2020.

These experiences and Mr. Myers’ compassionate, dedicated leadership elevated Ohio State’s reputation and made him a sought-after national expert, including co-authoring and editing several national publications on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. He served as president of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers as well as its Ohio-based counterpart, and was honored for his distinguished and lifetime contributions to both organizations.

Mr. Myers has long championed Ohio State’s students and worked to connect his fellow alumni. He has volunteered his time advising the Sphinx Senior Class Honorary, of which he was a member, and mentored countless students. He currently chairs the Ohio State Alumni Association’s Alumni Advisory Council and is a member of the Scarlet and Gay Alumni Society, the Ohio Staters Alumni Society and the Sphinx Alumni Society, which he helped establish as its inaugural president.

An exemplar of Ohio State’s commitment to service and impact, Mr. Myers has received numerous recognitions from the Buckeye community. These include the university’s Distinguished Staff Award in 2007, the alumni association’s Josephine Failer Award for Outstanding Service to Students in 2003 and his own sandwich — the “Brad Myers Reuben” — at the Ohio Union’s Sloopy’s Diner in 2013. For many years, his voice was “recognized” as the voice of the university’s telephone registration system.

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Tom Rieland



Mr. Thomas M. Rieland served as general manager of WOSU Public Media in Columbus, a licensee of The Ohio State University serving over 2.5 million Ohioans, for over 19 years before retiring in early 2022. Mr. Rieland started his broadcast career in college at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, working as a disc jockey and radio reporter before going on to work for television stations in Wisconsin, Florida and Tennessee as a reporter and anchor. He left daily news to earn his master’s degree in journalism at the University of Mississippi, where he took over leadership of the broadcast public relations division. Then, in 1989, Mr. Rieland moved to the University of Alabama to teach broadcasting and direct the Center for Public Television and Radio.

Mr. Rieland was hired to lead WOSU in 2002, where he developed a strong community-based organization with a focus on local programming, including several Emmy award-winning TV series and nationally distributed productions aired on PBS stations across the country. During his tenure, WOSU radio was named the best radio news operation in Ohio by the Associated Press several years in a row and became the most listened to radio station in the Columbus metro area. Mr. Rieland worked with Ohio State to increase student involvement at WOSU and partnered with academic areas across the university to produce programming and projects. Mr. Rieland has served on numerous local and national boards including being elected twice by his peers to serve on the PBS Board of Directors. Mr. Rieland led the effort to raise over $12 million from private donors and foundations to complete WOSU Public Media’s new $32 million headquarters and studios in 2021 as part of the 15th+High Campus Partners development project.