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Ohio Northern University honors distinguished alumni

Jun 6, 2014

Ohio Northern University’s Alumni Association presented Distinguished Alumni Awards during a banquet on May 31.

The awards, recognizing outstanding service and loyalty, were presented to Jason Duff, James Gallagher, Michael Grandillo and Steven Roebuck. The banquet was part of Northern’s 2014 Alumni Weekend, held May 30 to June 1.

Gallagher, a 1979 graduate of the ONU Pettit College of Law, is the president and director of One Fund Boston and chairman of the board of trustees for Catholic Charities Boston. He serves as a board member for the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and he is the chairman for the Financial Services Committee, Greater Boston Chamber. Gallagher is a member of the board of trustees at De La Salle College in Toronto. He is a member of the Ohio State Bar, the District of Columbia Bar and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Boston. In 2009, the mayor of Boston appointed him to the PILOT Tax Task Force. He also has served on the Boston Public Library Foundation. Gallagher is the founding chairman of the Compliance and Ethics Form for Life Insurers in Bethesda, Md.

After graduating from ONU, Gallagher was employed as assistant general counsel with Prudential. He also worked as the vice president and associate general counsel for the Canadian operations of Prudential Insurance Company of America. Gallagher became general counsel to Manulife USA, and he also was the president of John Hancock Trust, an investment company underlying variable insurance products with assets exceeding $30 billion. In 2005, Gallagher took on the role of executive vice president and global compliance chief. Then, in 2012, he was chosen by John Hancock Financial as the executive vice president, general counsel and chief administrative officer.

Gallagher has received numerous accolades. The National Law Journal named his department the Boston Legal Department of the Year in 2013. Additionally, he received the Irish Heroes of New England Award in 2013.

Gallagher was the moot court chief justice at ONU’s College of Law in 1978-79 and continues to actively support ONU, particularly when alumni events are scheduled in the Boston area. Gallagher and his wife, Jo-Anne, are the proud parents of four children, Elizabeth, Anthony, James and Nicholas, and they have two grandsons, Leo and Will.

Grandillo, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from ONU in 1979, is a consultant for the Registry of College and University Presidents, and he was appointed by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown to the commission to screen U.S. marshal, U.S. attorney and U.S. judicial candidates for appointment by the president.

Grandillo worked in the ONU Office of Admissions upon graduation and, after a few successful years of recruiting at his alma mater, accepted a position as the associate dean of admissions at Heidelberg College. During his time at Heidelberg, he and his team doubled the size of the student body. Grandillo served as the director of development at Heidelberg for nine years prior to his successful tenure as the vice president for development and public affairs at Tiffin University, a position he held for 17 years. In July 2012, Grandillo became the president of Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wis.

Grandillo has been a leader in the community, serving as the president of Tiffin City Council for four terms, a Boy Scout leader, a board member for the Black Swamp Area Boy Scout Council, a member of the Tiffin Chamber of Commerce, a past president of the Kiwanis Club of Tiffin, and the director of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation. He has received numerous awards and honors for his volunteer and civic efforts, including being named one of Northwest Ohio’s top young leaders with the Twenty Under 40 award in 1996, a White House Fellowship Regional Finalist, the Outstanding Dissertation Award recipient from the University of Toledo, the Distinguished President Award for Kiwanis, and a CASE Circle of Excellence Award for Educational Fund Raising for Overall Improvement from 1995 to 1999.

Grandillo was an outstanding student at ONU, becoming the first four-year letter-winner in soccer at ONU and Greek Man of the Year his senior year. Grandillo and his wife of 30 years, Nancy, have a son, Vincent, a graduate of Hiram College, and a daughter, Gina, who will be a junior this fall at ONU.

Roebuck, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in education from ONU in 1970, is the president and owner of M&W Construction in Lima, Ohio.

Roebuck, who taught drafting in both Mad River and Elida local schools from 1970 to 1974, founded Northwest Commercial Contracting (NCC) Inc. in Findlay, Ohio, in 1983. In 1994, Robuck purchased M&W Construction, a company specializing in the pre-engineered steel market, and merged it with Northwest Commercial Contracting, relocating the NCC offices to Lima. In 2010, Roebuck purchased Special Maintenance Roofing, a roofing company based in Findlay.

Roebuck’s contributions to ONU can be seen on campus. M&W Construction built the recently constructed England Gate surrounding Dial-Roberson Stadium as well as the Northern On Main coffee shop and the Tilton Law Library.

Roebuck has been recognized for his distinction in the construction field by receiving Duro-Last Roofing’s Century Club Award, the President’s Club Award, and the Master Roofing Contractor Award. He has earned two Million Dollar Builder Awards as well the Three Million Dollar Builder Award and the Five Million Dollar Builder Award. In addition, Roebuck is the co-owner of two Comfort Inn hotels in Bluffton and Fremont, Ohio.

Roebuck has served as president of the Mendon-Union Alumni Association, president of the Mendon-Union Recreation Association, president of the Midwest Electric Community Foundation, board member for the Mercer County Civic Foundation, youth league softball coach, and board member of the Sigma Pi Alumni Association. He received the 2000-01 and 2009 Alumnus of the Year for Sigma Pi-Zeta Chapter. Additionally, he received an award from the American Legion Post for his dedication and loyalty to community efforts.

Roebuck has three daughters, Jennifer, Mandy and Jamie, who graduated from ONU in 2001, 2004 and 2007, respectively, as well as a son-in-law, Bill.

Duff, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from ONU in 2005, is the founder and CEO of Community Storage and Properties Ltd. and COMSTOR Outdoor.

COMSTOR Outdoor, an outdoor advertising agency, boasts hundreds of billboards in Ohio and Indiana. Duff founded “Jump for Opportunity,” a global skydiving event in Orlando, Fla., which raised more than $130,000 for microfinance loans to support business startup capital for the working poor in Tanzania. In 2012, he received the Empact Award at the White House in recognition for his achievements in entrepreneurship. Again, in 2013, he received the Empact Award and was recognized at the United Nations. He also was recognized by the Logan County Chamber of Commerce with the 2012 Entrepreneurship of the Year Award.

Duff received the William L. Robinson Young Alumni Award from ONU in 2008. During his volunteer work at Northern, Duff has served on the alumni board as vice president, and he has served on the Dicke College of Business Administration’s Advisory Board. Currently, he is a member of Ohio Northern’s Board of Trustees, and he is the vice chairman of the committee on enrollment. Duff is an annual member of the Henry Solomon Lehr Society and has given of his time, talent and treasures whenever he is asked or sees a need.

In his community, Duff has lead the charge on the renovation of the Historic Canby Building in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio, which was owned by Edward Canby and built in 1903. Additionally, he has purchased and revitalized the Marketplace Building in Bellefontaine, which today houses 16 new businesses. Duff is the former chairman of the committee to restore and rebuild Bellefontaine.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are based on outstanding service to the objectives of the Alumni Association of Ohio Northern University, service with distinction in the nominee’s chosen profession and tangible expression of loyalty to ONU.

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