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ONU President Emeritus DeBow Freed Honored with Dedication of Room at West Point

Dr. DeBow Freed, Ohio Northern University president emeritus, was recently honored with the dedication of a room at the historic Thayer Hotel on the campus of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Freed was recognized for his lifetime of service to the nation. The awarding group for the dedication program noted that “In 1987, the Chief of Staff of the Army added the phrase, ‘to inspire each cadet to a lifetime of service to the nation’, to the mission statement for cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The document that created this change singled out the “selfless service of a 1946 graduate, DeBow Freed, as an example of the ‘lifetime of service to the nation’ which is desired.”

Freed and his wife, Catherine, have long been devoted to public service. After 23 years of active military duty, including seven years overseas, Freed became dean of Mount Union College for five years (1969-74) followed by five years (1974-79) as president of Monmouth College. He served as the ninth president of Ohio Northern for 20 years (1979-99) and then as president of the University of Findlay for seven years (2003-10). The summary document accompanying the room dedication award noted that “all of the institutions he served prospered greatly under his leadership.” The document went on to note that, “Dr. Freed’s 32 years as a college or university president provided wonderful opportunities to positively influence the lives of thousands of young people. He and Catherine personally knew many thousands of these young students.”

Dr. Freed noted that, “Mrs. Freed and I are enormously grateful for the wonderful people with whom we have been privileged to serve, and who have made it a great joy to serve.”

Freed graduated from West Point and later earned master’s and doctoral degrees in nuclear science and nuclear engineering from the Universities of Kansas and New Mexico, respectively. He has been active in public service organizations, as a trustee and member of the executive committee for many years of the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, the Toledo Symphony, and the Blanchard Valley Health Association. His wife, Catherine Moore Freed, a former college faculty member, holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Texas, with honors that include election to Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board. She holds a master’s from the University of Kansas. Their son, DeBow II, has a doctorate degree from Rice University and lives in Texas.

Thayer Hotel is an “historic hotel of America” and has long held a prominent role in the life of West Point. The hotel has a selection committee and has formalized a Room Dedication Program, in which rooms are dedicated to graduates of West Point who have made significant contributions to the nation. Displays in dedicated guest rooms reflect the life and contributions of the person to whom the room is dedicated.  The main conference rooms and public spaces of the hotel are named for prominent figures in American life who were instrumental in West Point history, most of whom are West Point graduates, including the Ulysses S. Grant Room, Dwight D. Eisenhower Room, Douglas MacArthur Room, John J. Pershing Room, Omar Bradley Room, and George S. Patton Tavern.

Representatives of Ohio Northern University and the University of Findlay attended the room dedication program and ceremony at West Point.  Those from Ohio Northern who attended are shown in the accompanying photo.


Photo from left to right: Edie Mae Herrel; Dr. Michael Herrel, former chairman of the board of trustees of Ohio Northern University; Dr. Anne Lippert, former ONU vice president for academic affairs; William Back, former ONU director of planned giving; Ann Donnelly Hamilton, ONU director of alumni relations; Dr. DeBow Freed; Sharon Hawkins, ONU executive administrative assistant to the president; William Robinson, ONU executive assistant to the president; and Marty Paul, ONU trustee.