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The Ohio State University Alumni Association honors exceptional alumni

Ohio State has a rich history of alumni that invest time, talent and treasure in their alma mater. On September 15, The Ohio State University Alumni Association presented awards to nine truly exceptional Buckeyes, including three College of Engineering alumni.

Phil Barnes (BS '01, electrical and computer engineering; MS '04, biological engineering; PhD '10 biomedical engineering) became the third recipient of the Diversity Champion Award. The Ralph Davenport Mershon Award for service to Ohio State was presented to Dan Kimmet (BS '71, MS '72, mechanical engineering). And Jim Roberts received the Robert M. Duncan Alumni Citizenship Award (BS '84, civil engineering).

Phil Barnes
From his time as an undergraduate engineering student at Ohio State, Phil Barnes has been committed to creating a strong support system for other students of color to ensure their success. Early on, Barnes found a home in the Minority Engineering Program (MEP), and in graduate school he became a mentor for new MEP students. On the first day of grad school, he met his late wife, Anishka. Together, they endured the rigors of earning their graduate degrees, while spending many hours helping other students in the program.

After graduating, when they both secured jobs at Intel, their passion for promoting diversity did not end. Barnes has worked to build and strengthen ties between the company and the college by leveraging and supporting MEP. In addition to advising students, he and Anishka spent several years actively recruiting Ohio State students for Intel. The Barnes also established an honorary endowment in retired MEP Assistant Dean Minnie McGee's name, aiming to raise over $100,000 for the endowment before 2020.

“It is one thing to say you believe in diversity," said College of Engineering Alumni Relations Director Patrick Lynch. "it is another to roll up your sleeves and do something about it. Phil Barnes’ sleeves cannot be rolled any higher.”

Dan Kimmet pays forward for today’s Buckeye engineers by volunteering on behalf of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and through his generous personal philanthropy. Since 2007, Kimmet has served as a member of the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board. His focus continues to be student support and success. He has motivated teams to grow scholarships, including leading the effort to establish a scholarship honoring a longtime faculty member, Gary Kinzel. He helped motivate teams to raise over $76 million during the But for Ohio State Campaign, which played a significant role in the college exceeding its overall campaign goal.

“He is scarlet and gray through and through, and is one of the folks who makes Ohio State the great research university it is,” said nominator Marty Kress, executive director of Ohio State’s Global Water Institute.

Jim Roberts
At a young age, Jim Roberts developed a passion for community service. At just 16, his father passed away from a heart attack. To honor his legacy and raise awareness about heart disease, Roberts joined the American Heart Association and later became president of Licking County’s local chapter. Roberts is also a loyal supporter of Heath High School, serving on the Heath Board of Education for 16 years, 13 as president. During his tenure, he developed several projects to improve the school district and community, including the construction of a new high school and other upgraded facilities.

At the same time, Roberts is a dedicated professional, with a civil engineering firm in Newark. He created the Newark Stormwater Utility, improving drainage systems for the city and playing a major role in the utility design of large projects on Ohio State’s Columbus campus.

He continues to support his alma mater by serving as an Ohio Stadium usher and donating to the university’s athletics programs. He also participates in Pelotonia each year, fundraising to help find a cure for cancer and encouraging others to ride as well.

Tags: Alumni, Awards