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OSU honors EHE alumni, donor for university service

EHE News
April 23, 2015

Nancy Zimpher, Mabel Freeman and Jameson Crane are true friends of Ohio State

The Ohio State University Board of Trustees have selected alumni Nancy Lusk Zimpher and Mabel Freeman, along with donor Jameson Crane, to receive the Distinguished Service Award for exceptional contributions.

Zimpher will be recognized for her national and international leadership in addressing challenges in P-12 and higher education at the 2015 spring commencement, May 10 in the Ohio Stadium. She is a member of the Education and Human Ecology Hall of Fame.

Through 27 years in recruitment, enrollment and admissions, Freeman played a pivotal role in the lives of a generation of Ohio State graduates. She received the EHE Alumni Society Award of Distinction in 2013.

Crane was instrumental in his family’s generous donation of $13.5 million to the university, which included establishment of the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy in the college.

Additional 2015 honorees are Stephanie Hightower, Robert C. Hummel and Christian Zacher. They, Freeman and Crane will receive their awards at future commencement ceremonies.

Nancy L. Zimpher

As chancellor of the State University of New York, Nancy Zimpher leads the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the nation — with nearly 463,000 students and 64 colleges and universities.

Prior to coming to SUNY, Zimpher served as president of the University of Cincinnati, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and executive dean of the professional colleges and dean of the College of Education at Ohio State. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English education and speech, a master’s degree in English literature and a PhD in teacher education and higher education administration, all from Ohio State.

Zimpher, of Albany, New York, is active in numerous state and national education organizations, and she is a recognized leader in the areas of teacher preparation, urban education and university-community engagement. She currently serves as chair of the board of governors of the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Association of System Heads. From 2012 to 2013, she was chair of CEOs for Cities, and from 2005 to 2011, she led the national Coalition of Urban Serving Universities. As co-founder of StriveTogether, Zimpher has been instrumental in creating a national network of innovative systemic partnerships that holistically address challenges across the education pipeline.

Under Zimpher’s lead, SUNY has undertaken many innovative, system-enhancing initiatives, including shared services, dramatic expansion of online learning opportunities and cooperative education and new partnerships with K-12 professionals — always with the goal of optimally serving New York’s students and communities and preparing them to succeed in the 21st century.

Mabel Freeman

Mabel Freeman played a pivotal role in the lives of a generation of Ohio State graduates. After earning her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees at Ohio State, she returned to the university and spent 27 years here — retiring as assistant vice president for Undergraduate Admissions and First Year Experience. She was responsible for directing the recruitment, enrollment and admissions process for all new freshmen and transfer students to the university.

Freeman, of Columbus, spent several years involved in the University Honors and Scholars program, serving many roles, including assistant director, associate director, acting director and, finally, as director of the program. When she became director, she was given the challenge to expand honors programming and support to all 6,000 freshmen and transfer students. In 2000, she and her staff created the First Year Experience (FYE) program, which is responsible for freshman orientation, President’s Convocation, Buckeye Book Community, Distinguished Speaker Series and other programs that first-year Buckeyes participate in. FYE continues to be identified as an exemplar program in the nation to this day.

Freeman is a member of the board of directors of I KNOW I CAN, a member of the board of directors of the Bexley Education Foundation and a trustee of the Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society Foundation Board.

Jameson “Jim” Crane

Jim Crane has come quite a long way from the time he was a teenage Boy Scout working as an usher at Ohio State football games. He went on to gridiron stardom in that stadium and has since become a successful businessman “paying forward” in every respect.

In 1960, Crane joined Crane Plastics, a company founded by his father in 1947, and with his family he led the company through tremendous growth and ultimately to national and international prominence. Along the way, he led the Michigan Gold Pants Club, procuring the gold pants trinkets awarded to the victorious Buckeye football players whenever the Buckeyes beat the Wolverines (which happened frequently in those years when Woody Hayes was head coach).

Crane now serves as chairman emeritus of the Crane Group, a family-owned private holding and management company based in Columbus.

Recently, three generations of the Crane family made a $13.5 million commitment to Ohio State to create the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute, a cutting-edge facility for Ohio State’s sports medicine collaborative and innovative programs of health care, education, training and medical research. The Loann Crane Advanced Language Institute will help Ohio State students develop their advanced foreign language skills so they may function effectively as global professionals in fields such as engineering, business or architecture. And the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy supports the internationally renowned facility in its vital role of prospering partnerships to overcome the gap between research discoveries and early childhood practice and policy.

The Board of Trustees created the Distinguished Service Award 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.