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Announcing the 2023 Arts and Sciences Alumni Award honorees

March 15, 2023

Announcing the 2023 Arts and Sciences Alumni Award honorees

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The Arts and Sciences Alumni Awards are presented each year to a select group of alumni and volunteers who exemplify the values of a liberal arts education. With nearly 220,000 Arts and Sciences alumni living and working around the world, there is no shortage of excellence from which to choose.    

The collective contributions and achievements of these five individuals in their respective careers and communities are creating a lasting impact locally and globally. 

This year, the Alumni Awards ceremony will celebrate our honorees for their extraordinary successes and service. With backgrounds and careers spanning the areas of leadership, law and public service, chemistry, geology, and corporate and community engagement, this year’s group of honorees exemplify what it means to be a Buckeye for Life. They will be recognized in person at a college-wide event on April 14. 

Distinguished Achievement Award

This award recognizes the outstanding career achievements and contributions of our alumni in fields that encompass disciplines across the arts and sciences.

Chris Connor

Christopher Connor

BA, sociology, 1978

Christopher Connor is the retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of The Sherwin-Williams Company, a 157-year-old global leader in the paints and coatings industry. Connor joined Sherwin-Williams in 1983 as Director of Advertising. In his 34-year career at Sherwin-Williams, Connor held a number of increasingly important leadership roles across most of the company’s operating divisions. He was promoted to CEO in 1999 and added Chairman of the Board responsibilities one year later. Connor retired from the company in December of 2016 after 17 years at the helm.

During his tenure, Connor and the company were consistently recognized by many business publications for financial excellence, integrity of business practices, environmental stewardship, outstanding innovation, powerful marketing and a strong record of creating shareholder wealth. Of note, Business Week magazine frequently included Sherwin-Williams among their top 50 performing companies in America, Fortune magazine recognized the company as one of the top 100 companies to work for on multiple occasions, and Harvard Business Review identified Connor as one of the top 100 performing CEOs in the world.

Connor currently serves on the Board of Directors of Yum! Brands, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and International Paper, where he serves as the lead director. He has also been an active community leader, having been involved in many important civic, industry and nonprofit organizations.


Lisa Lopez

Lisa Lopez

BA, women’s studies, 1976

Lisa Lopez was the College of Arts and Sciences first women’s studies major, receiving approval for the interdisciplinary approach to her studies prior to the official creation of the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (WGSS). The women’s studies courses in history, sociology, literature and political science satisfied her hunger for both personal growth and academic rigor. After graduating from Ohio State, Lopez entered Yale Law School.

Lopez graduated from Yale in 1979, having learned the skills and gained the credentials that catapulted her to leadership positions. After a stint as a litigator and employment lawyer at the Boston law firm of Sullivan & Worcester LLP, she was invited to join one of the firm’s clients as its first in-house lawyer and Director of Human Resources in 1988, negotiating a leave of absence from the law firm to do so. However, having been bitten by the management bug, she never returned to private practice. Instead, she spent nearly 25 years as part of the executive management team of Haemonetics Corporation, a publicly traded medical device company with offices and factories around the world. The company grew considerably during her time as its chief legal officer, and her responsibilities also included at various times human resources, quality and regulatory affairs, clinical and medical affairs, external affairs, investor relations, internal audit, compliance and risk management, and environmental health and safety.

In addition to raising three children and her work at Haemonetics, Lopez has also spent considerable time in public service leadership positions. Since retiring from the company in 2011, Lopez has thrown herself into service in her hometown, serving on various boards and committees, including the town’s Select Board, the highest governing body in Massachusetts towns. Lopez is also the chair of the Affordable Housing Trust, a trustee of Cathedral High School, and is a pro bono attorney representing undocumented minors from Central America.


Nodie Washington

Nodie Washington

PhD, chemistry, 1982

Dr. Nodie Washington is a visionary leader with strong operational skills and a proven track record of designing, developing and implementing strategies that lead to sustainable growth and success. She is an internationally recognized technical expert, particularly in the areas of application chemistry and testing methodology. A native of Shreveport, La., Washington earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Southern University and her master’s degree in chemistry from Rutgers University before attending Ohio State for her PhD studies, which she completed in 1982. Upon receiving her PhD, Washington became the first Black woman to receive a PhD in chemistry from Ohio State. She also holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Wilberforce University.

Washington’s career has spanned both the corporate world and academia. In academia, she served on the faculty of Jackson State University and Central State University. She also spent 25 years at The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G), where she led research teams of scientists and engineers in the development of fabric care products, including the billion-dollar Tide and Downy brands. She holds patents as well as proprietary and non-proprietary publications resulting from this work. 

While at P&G, Washington successfully mentored a diverse group of individuals, including members of all affinity groups represented at the company. She was recognized for her significant work within P&G, receiving the P&G Lifetime Mentoring Award, the P&G Black Leadership Team Lifetime Achievement Award, and an award was named in her honor — the Nodie Monroe Washington Fiber Fabric Recognition Award. She retired from P&G in late 2007.

Washington is also devoted to community service. She is a former volunteer for Wilberforce University, a former member of the Board of Education for Xenia Community Schools, and a former member of the advisory board of Greene County United Way. Her current focus is serving youth and homeless families.

Distinguished Service Award

This award recognizes exemplary service to the College of Arts and Sciences, its faculty, students and programs.

Joe Newhart

Joseph Newhart

BS, geology, 1969

Joseph “Joe” Newhart was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. He attended Ohio State, where he met his wife, Marcia (BS ’68) in 1966. The two were married in 1968 and Newhart graduated with his bachelor’s degree in geology the next year.

He served on active duty as a naval officer in the United States Naval Reserve from 1969 through 1972 in the Western Pacific aboard U.S.S. Pitkin County (LST-1082) and in Iceland at the U.S. Naval Facility Keflavik. He returned to Ohio to pursue graduate work in geophysics and received a master’s in geology from Bowling Green State University in 1975.

Newhart joined the Exxon Company U.S. in 1975 and held a variety of technical and managerial assignments in petroleum exploration and production covering Alaska, the Rocky Mountain region, and Southeastern United States. During his extensive career with Exxon, he worked his way up in various roles, eventually becoming president of ExxonMobil Ventures Mexico Limited, with responsibility for development of new petroleum exploration and opportunities in Mexico. He retired from ExxonMobil in March 2006 after more than 30 years with the company.

Newhart currently serves a Commissioner on the Lower Blue Planning Commission and as Board President for the Buffalo Mountain Metropolitan District in Summit County, Colorado. He volunteers with the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District of the White River National Forest, as a summer Ranger Patroller and conducts educational geological tours, and at a variety of non-profit organizations in Summit County. He has served on the Resource Advisory Council for the Bureau of Land Management in Northwestern Colorado. In Houston, he served on the board and as president of the volunteer fire department.

Newhart is an active member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, American Geophysical Union, European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, Geological Society of America, and the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists.

Newhart has been a dedicated volunteer, advocate and ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. He has served on the Dean’s Advisory Committee since 2015 and was instrumental in the creation of the first-ever Alumni Advisory Board for the School of Earth Sciences, serving as the chair since its inception in 2018.

Emerging Leader Award

This award recognizes alumni who demonstrate distinctive and outstanding achievement in their profession and/or through civic involvement as they build their career.

Katelyn Jackson Nnake

Katelyn Jackson Nnake

BA, journalism, 2006

Katelyn Jackson Nnake is a corporate change agent and enterprise leader with more than 16 years of leadership in stakeholder management, executive communications, corporate social impact and public affairs. Currently, she is the head of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility for Klaviyo, an emerging mar-tech platform that empowers creators to own their destiny. She considers the role the opportunity to bridge an enterprise’s values with its actual impact. She previously served as Global Head of IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) Partnerships at Twitter and held roles of increasing responsibility in Public Affairs, Corporate Impact and Communications at The Coca-Cola Company.

Nnake is a member of Color Comm; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; Professional Speechwriters Association (PSA); and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She recently finished her term as a member of the Greater Washington Urban League Board of Directors and currently serves as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Corporate Advisory Council.

She received her bachelor’s degree in public affairs journalism from Ohio State and her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

She currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Chibundu (BA ’05), and their two-year-old son.

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