Dr. Mark Weinberg, Shawn Bunt (2010 Outstanding State Government Alumni Winner), President McDavis and EVPP Benoit

Ohio University celebrates its commitment to public service at 27th Annual State Government Alumni luncheon

Katie Labovitz
May 14, 2010

 Even the pouring rain on Wednesday could not put a damper on the friendly gathering of the 27th Annual State Government Alumni Luncheon.
    Teri Geiger, the Director, Government Relations, at Ohio University welcomed 150 alumni and friends to the luncheon that was held at the historic Athletic Club of Columbus. She introduced Ohio University President Roderick McDavis, who served as host on behalf of the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and the Department of Political Science. Ohio House of Representative member Debbie Phillips presented McDavis with a plaque from the House to honor the men’s basketball team’s accomplishments of being the 2010 Mid Atlantic Conference champions, as well as advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
    Continuing with the celebration of Ohio University, alumni were asked to stand and participate in the school’s fight song. The strings of crystals on the chandeliers shook as the entire room soon filled with clapping and the familiar chants of “O-H-I-O, O-H-I-O.”
    School pride continued to swell when Geiger re-introduced McDavis as the opening speaker, likening his heart to that of a bobcat and commenting that his devotion to Ohio University runs deep because he is an alum; “It’s a love. It’s a passion. It’s a loyalty like none other.”
    Though the atmosphere of the luncheon continued to remain jovial throughout the rest of the event, the purpose of the gathering was never forgotten – that the alumni in attendance represented Ohio University’s commitment to service and building strategic leadership within the public sector.
    The president welcomed Dr. Pam Benoit, Ohio University’s Executive Vice President and Provost, as the keynote speaker of the event. Benoit has been with the university for 11 months and expressed that in this time, she has observed that Ohio graduates are pulled toward state government and public service positions because of the applied learning opportunities and practical student engagement they received at the Voinovich School, Department of Political Science, and across campus at Ohio University.
    Voinovich School director Mark Weinberg was on hand to introduce this year’s recipient of the Outstanding State Government Alumnus Award – Shawn Bunt. Bunt, the J.P. Morgan Chase Vice President of Government Relations, humbly accepted his award by thanking the Ohio University professors who made a lasting impact in his life. He praised Weinberg, stating the Voinovich School as being “light-years ahead of other public policy programs.”
    Weinberg and Geiger made closing remarks, echoing the president and provost’s words about the special students that have come through Ohio University and the faculty who have guided those students along the way.
    The event came to a close, but many of the attendees hung around to catch up with old friends or introduce themselves to new ones. When asked about the experiences she had at her first Ohio University State Government Alumni gathering, Benoit commented on what a great chance it was to interact with the alumni, faculty and state legislators. She appreciates that she gets to work so closely with university entities like the Voinovich School. “I’m very excited about the work that the Voinovich School is doing,” Benoit said, “and I have a lot of opportunity to see where they’re going as we continue to work in terms of strategic planning and figuring out what the next steps are in offering programs and curriculum.”
    Bunt was all smiles as he reminisced about attending the State Government Alumni luncheons as a student. He expressed further thanks to the University for recognizing him with this year’s award and promised he would continue upholding the public service he has been doing since graduating from Ohio University. “I want to keep helping the students the way that the faculty and staff helped me,” Bunt explained. “We need to continue the important tradition of assisting students and getting them placed wherever they can in and around state government.”
    Ohio University, the Voinovich School and the Department of Political Science are proud of their alumni who continue to serve in state government and the public sector.