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Founding Dean of the Voinovich School Mark Weinberg (far left) and President M. Duane Nellis (far right) celebrate with OHIO’s State Government Alumni Award recipients, Steven R. Schoeny (center left) and Cara Dingus Brook. Photos courtesy of Ben Siegel.
Founding Dean of the Voinovich School Mark Weinberg (far left) and President M. Duane Nellis (far right) celebrate with OHIO’s State Government Alumni Award recipients, Steven R. Schoeny (center left) and Cara Dingus Brook. Photos courtesy of Ben Siegel.

OHIO’s State Government Alumni Luncheon celebrates Voinovich School 10th anniversary

Andrea Wurm
May 7, 2018

More than 130 Ohio University alumni and friends gathered at the Athletic Club in Columbus, Ohio, on April 11 for OHIO’s 35th Annual State Government Alumni Luncheon to honor Cara Dingus Brook, AB ’02, MPA ’06, and Steven R. Schoeny, AB ’93, for their outstanding contributions to public service with the 2018 Ohio University Outstanding State Government Alumni Award.

The luncheon honors alumni and friends of the University who work in Ohio public service. Hosted by OHIO’s President M. Duane Nellis, the event also marked the 10th anniversary of Ohio University’s George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

Jo Ann Davidson, former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives (right), presented Cara Dingus Brook with OHIO’s State Government Alumni Award in recognition of her transformational leadership initiatives in Appalachia Ohio.
 
Jo Ann Davidson, former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives (right), presented Cara Dingus Brook with OHIO’s State Government Alumni Award in recognition of her transformational leadership initiatives in Appalachia Ohio.

Jo Ann Davidson, the first woman elected as speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, presented Brook with her award and spoke of the important contributions she has made to the region. Brook is the president and CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, a nonprofit supporting growth and opportunities for the citizens of Appalachian Ohio. She served as the Southeast Ohio District Representative for the late Senator George Voinovich, assisting in his mission to support the Voinovich School. Brook currently serves as a member of Ohio University’s Voinovich School Strategic Partner’s Group.

Brook thanked the University and the Voinovich School for helping to prepare her for the role of elevating the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio to a greater purpose.

“Senator Voinovich made a difference in my life.” Brook said. “There’s a lot of work left to be done in Appalachia, and I am a part of that greater legacy. That’s what the Voinovich School gives to OHIO and these students: the opportunity for significance and meaning. That’s the gateway to the joy.”

Schoeny is the director of the City of Columbus’ Department of Development and leads a team of 190 employees committed to improving the economic development of Columbus and its neighborhoods. His award was presented by former long-time Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, who previously supervised Schoeny and expressed appreciation for his service.

David Wilhelm (left), co-chair of the Voinovich School’s Strategic Partners Group, presented Steven R. Schoeny with OHIO’s State Government Alumni Award in recognition of his commitment to the development of the city of Columbus.
David Wilhelm (left), co-chair of the Voinovich School’s Strategic Partners Group, presented Steven R. Schoeny with OHIO’s State Government Alumni Award in recognition of his commitment to the development of the city of Columbus.

“I am proud to have this honor for people who serve.” Schoeny said. “The greatest thing about Ohio University is its ability to bring people into that community and raise them up, and then raise up that community through the University.”

Mark Weinberg, founding dean of the Voinovich School, reflected on the event as a showcase of the School’s mission.

“It’s our obligation to bring people together, focus on results, and leave our state and our country a better place,” Weinberg said.

President Nellis congratulated the alumni awardees on their service to community and success in Southeastern Ohio.

“We are honored by your service, and we are honored by the Bobcat family,” President Nellis said. “It’s because of your success we are not only OHIO’s first university, but OHIO’s finest institution.”