Interim President of Ohio University opens the 2017 State Government Alumni Luncheon

Two outstanding OHIO alumni honored at State Government Alumni Luncheon

Austin Ambrose
May 22, 2017

More than 150 Ohio University alumni and supporters in Ohio public service gathered at the Athletic Club of Columbus to honor alumni Ryan Miller and Jessica Cannon for their outstanding service to the state at the 34th Annual State Government Alumni Luncheon on May 9. The luncheon, hosted by Ohio University Interim President David Descutner on behalf of OHIO’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, recognizes acts of community and public service by alumni to the betterment of the state of Ohio.

The criteria for the award include significant achievement in the profession, outstanding public service to Ohio, and service contributions for the public affairs programs at Ohio University. The award winners serve on the Ohio University Leadership and Public Affairs Advisory Committee, and individual members of the committee may also be active in teaching, internships and job placement of Ohio University students.

Event highlights

In his opening remarks, Interim President Descutner thanked the alumni for their commitment and service to the state of Ohio and Ohio University.

“Your dedication is a source of pride for the Ohio University community,” Descutner said. “We are honored by your presence, as we celebrate your service and your continued connection to Ohio University.”

Descutner continued by highlighting the great success of the Voinovich School and their legacy that follows the footsteps of Senator George Voinovich’s work in the public sector.

Senate President Larry Obhof then delivered the keynote address. Obhof is currently serving his second term representing the 22nd senate district and is chairman of the Rules and Regulation Committee. His service to the state earned him multiple Legislature of the Year awards, Watchdog of the Treasury, and a Friend of Agriculture honor.

Obhof’s remarks reminded the audience of what qualities and actions it takes to serve the state of Ohio, attributes that the two honorees possess.

Recognition of Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller receiving his recognition.

Ryan Miller, 98’ is the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Ohio. Miller is credited with starting the first Habitat for Humanity state office in Ohio. He is responsible for training and supporting over 50 Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the state. All the while, he advocates for affordable housing at both the state and federal level.

His work began at Ohio University where he graduated with a degree in political communication and a minor political science. While in school, he served as an intern for the director of boards and commissions and the director of policy for Governor George Voinovich.

Miller received a master’s degree in management from Mount Vernon Nazarene University while working at Habitat. Prior to his time at Habitat, Miller worked to provide resources to Appalachia Ohio through his roles in the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, Ohio House of Representatives and a number of nonprofit boards.

“It is incredibly humbling to be recognized by a university and alumni that holds such a special meaning to me” Miller said. “The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University plays such an important role in preparing students to make a difference in the lives of others.”

He continued on to praise the school for it’s innovative initiatives that help to develop the Appalachian region.

Recognition of Jessica Cannon

Jessica Cannon receives her recognition at the state government alumni luncheon.

Jessica Cannon, ’93 is the Director of Community Wellness Initiatives for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Partners for Kids—the affiliated physician hospital organization. Her responsibilities include developing and implementing initiatives that aim to decrease the infant mortality rate and improve pre- and post-birth outcomes.

She also works to create a stronger connection between school and health services, as well as better the quality of life for children and families in the Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Families neighborhood located near the main campus of the hospital.

After receiving her degree in mathematics from Ohio University, she moved into a career of 20 years of public policy experience. She’s served as a consultant to the Ohio Business Roundtable—a group of business leaders in Ohio that voice their thoughts on public policy. Her other positions include assistant director and human service analyst for the Office of Budget and Management, director of the state’s Family and Children First initiative, and manager of federal relations for the Ohio Hospital Association.

“I am truly honored to receive this award” Cannon said. “My time at OU and the incredible network of the university have allowed me to pursue my passion – public and private partnerships that improve the quality of life for children and families in Ohio.”

For a complete list of award winners, visit www.ohio.edu/alumni/sgal, and visit the Voinovich Flickr account for a complete album of this year's pictures.