NEWARK, Ohio, November 7, 2019 – Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) recently presented five 2019 Legends of Loyalty awards. COTC President John M. Berry, PhD, presented the awards at the COTC Legacy and Leadership Dinner held in the John Gilbert Reese Center on September 20.
Honored were Robert A. Barnes, PhD; Susan K. Bidwell; John McDonald; John L. and Christine Warner (posthumously) and Regina Williams.
The Office of the President established the Legends of Loyalty award in 2011 to identify and recognize dedication and commitment to the college. It spotlights individuals who have, over the years, made a significant impact on the history of the college, have gone above and beyond their required duties and proven unselfish allegiance.
Barnes served for eight years as COTC's first president after the college received its charter in 1971. Also serving in a dual role as the first full-time director of The Ohio State
University at Newark, Barnes was instrumental in the nascent campus's early growth. He oversaw the design and construction of the campus's first building, Founders Hall, and the establishment of a permanent library. As dual director, he fostered a spirit of mutual respect between the two co-located institutions that continues to thrive today. After several years of retirement, he returned to campus in 1999 to serve as the chair of a community-wide fundraising campaign for the John Gilbert Reese Center.
Bidwell began her career at the Newark campus in 1979 as a clerk in the business office. When relocated to the newly established Services Center in 1982, she was instrumental in expanding the campus's mail service and collaborating with the purchasing office to enhance services. In 1997, she was promoted to Services Center staff coordinator. Throughout the years she has served in a leadership role with Staff Forum, Staff Development and the Self-Study Committee. Bidwell retired in 2016.
Serving as COTC Coshocton campus building supervisor since 2006, McDonald paved the way for excellence at COTC's extended campuses. Through his leadership, the Coshocton campus has
received numerous accolades including the Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year and Coshocton is Blooming awards. He has also played a key role in the planning of future campus development, serving on the executive committee for the 2015 Coshocton Campus Master Plan and the 2017 Gateway Project. In addition to his dedication to the Coshocton campus, McDonald's passion for serving COTC students, and his commitment to the broader community at large, have earned the admiration and respect of his colleagues. McDonald will retire from COTC at the end of 2019.
Exceptional philanthropists who believed in the importance of making quality higher education accessible to the citizens of Licking County, John and Christine Warner's legacy is felt on the Newark campus each and every day. John Warner helped kick off the capital campaign for the John Gilbert Reese Center, committing a $4 million lead gift with his friend Howard LeFevre. After the Reese Center opened, John and Chris's $4.5 million lead gift for a new state-of-the-art library would lead to the creation of the campus's new front door, the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center, which opened in 2008. Further, the Warners established three charitable trusts to ensure that funds were available for the operation of the building. The Legends of Loyalty award was presented posthumously to John and Christine and accepted by their daughter Melissa Warner Bow and grandson Andrew Bow.
Through the years, Williams, a COTC faculty member, worked diligently to expand both educational and service options in early childhood education on campus. To better serve the COTC student population, she helped launch in 1998 a stand-alone childcare facility on campus. In 1992, Williams also helped launch and then direct the early childhood education technology degree program. That same year, the child care facility expanded its role to also be a lab site for COTC and Ohio State Newark students. For her passion and dedication to students, Williams received the COTC Teaching Excellence Award in 2005. In further recognition of quality, the Newark Campus Child Development Center received a One-Star Step Up to Quality Award from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services' Bureau of Child Care and Development in 2009.
Recipients of the Legends of Loyalty award have their name added to a perpetual plaque that hangs in the Office of the President. A $1,000 scholarship is also donated to a COTC student in honor of each recipient, and a beautifully engraved commemorative clock is presented to each award recipient.
"COTC is incredibly fortunate to have such talented and selfless employees and donors," said Berry. "Their dedication and commitment to higher education has improved the lives of students, and the lives of their families, through opportunities that higher education can offer."
COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC is the only technical college in Ohio operating four full-service campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.
Caption: Left to right: John McDonald, Robert A Barnes, John M. Berry, Susan K. Bidwell, Regina Williams, Melissa Warner Bow and Andrew Bow.