OU hosts first annual Innovation Awards Gala


In celebration of innovation and achievement, Ohio University hosted its first annual Innovation Awards Gala in Baker University Center Ballroom Tuesday night.

Hosted by the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and TechGROWTH Ohio, the event honored innovators and entrepreneurs that would significantly impact the growth of commercialization and startup businesses in the surrounding region.

About 100 people attended the ceremony with opening remarks made by President Roderick McDavis as the audience made up of students, faculty and local businesses watched from tables. McDavis said that the ceremony emphasized the success of the innovation and entrepreneurship in Southeast Ohio.

“We are here largely because of the people in this room,” McDavis said in his remarks. “Without you, there would not be an innovation. You are the heartbeat of innovation in Ohio.”

McDavis noted the importance of innovation in the Athens region and the future of entrepreneurship

“Seeds were planted that blossomed and has into an ecosystem that we have here today…opportunities like this often come with great rewards. What we need more of are innovators and discoverers. Today Ohio University is emerging as a leader in innovation.”

Joe Shields, dean of the Graduate College and vice president for Research, presented the Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship, honoring current and former faculty members or students who excel in innovation and invention, to David Scholl and John Kopchick.

 Some of the recipients said they were surprised to go home with an accolade.

“I feel like first my research is very innovative,” said Huiwen Cheng, the recipient of the Outstanding Innovation Student award and a first year graduate student in biology and chemistry. “I definitely feel inspired and feel encouraged from receiving this award.”

 Cheng’s research included finding ways to improve side effects of painkillers as well as drugs that could help guide the path into cancer research.

Kelly McCall, assistant professor of endocrinology, received the Outstanding Woman Innovator award because of her focus on novel drug discovery and biomedical research.

“It’s an incredible honor and I was completely shocked to receive this award,” McCall said. “It feels great to receive recognition for the work I’ve done.”

The added feeling that all the recipients are the first to receive the awards is overwhelming, but an honor, said McCall.

 “I’m very proud to be the first recipient of the award,” she added.

By the end of the evening, Andrea Gibson, director of Research Communication, said that she thought the overall program went well and will plan for one annually.

“I think it was a great success,” Gibson said. “It’s a terrific turnout from the region and university community.”


Award Recipients:

Social Innovation award: Brad Mitchell Ohio Appalachian Collaborative (OAC)


Green Innovation award: Michelle and Geoff Greenfield of Third Sun Solar


Outstanding Innovation-Faculty award:Jason Trembly


Outstanding Innovation-Student award:Huiwen Cheng

Outstanding Woman in Innovation award:Kelly McCall


Entrepreneur of the Year award: Francesca Hartop



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