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Ohio Northern University honors four as Distinguished Alumni

Jun 5, 2015

Ohio Northern University’s Alumni Association presented Distinguished Alumni Awards during a banquet on May 30.

The awards, recognizing outstanding service and loyalty, were presented to Mike Smith, Robert Mabe, Scott Shutt and Kevin Freese. The banquet was part of Northern’s 2015 Alumni Weekend, held May 29-31.

Smith, a 1968 ONU graduate, is the president and chief operating officer of The Washington Center, an educational institution housed in Washington, D.C., that has given more than 50,000 college students from around the world invaluable experiences with internships and academic seminars. It is a springboard for professional achievement.

Smith came to Ohio Northern University in 1964 and majored in history. He earned his master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Smith served a tour of Vietnam for the U.S. Navy before working in the Norwood Massachusetts Public School System as a student counselor/resource teacher. Smith took a position at The Washington Center in 1976. When he began his career with The Washington Center, the staff served 300 students from 30 colleges. Today, under his leadership, The Washington Center serves more than 2,000 students annually from the Unites States and 28 countries. Smith has been the president of The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars since 2004.

Under Smith’s direction, and in collaboration with his leadership of 90 colleagues at The Washington Center, enrollment has grown by more than 20 percent over the past six years. The Washington Center provides more than $1.5 million in financial assistance to its students annually. A recent comprehensive campaign at the Center totaled more than $16.8 million in gifts, exceeding the goal of $15 million.

In addition to Smith’s passion of seeing his alma mater and career unite, he assists ONU in many other ways. Smith has been an active member of the Getty College of Arts & Sciences’ Getty Council since 1989. He also received the college’s Outstanding Alumni Award in 2011. He received an honorary doctorate of public service from Ohio Northern in 2010. Smith and his wife, Barbara, are members of the Henry Solomon Lehr Society and live in Washington, D.C. They have two grown children and two grandchildren.

Mabe, a 1971 graduate of the Raabe College of Pharmacy, is president of the Ashville Apothecary in Ashville, Ohio, as well as the Circleville Apothecary, which he opened in 2004.

Mabe’s focus on the community him to be named the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year. He is a director of the Savings Bank of Circleville and a past member of the Pickaway Health Service Board. The newly opened Younkin branch of the Pickaway County District Library named a room for him in honor and recognition of his commitment to his community. Mabe was a member of the Ashville Kiwanis, serving as president, and he currently is a member of the Circleville Rotary. Professionally, he is a member of the Ohio Pharmacists Association and the National Community Pharmacists Association. He was a recipient of the prestigious Bowl of Hygeia Award from the Ohio Pharmacists Association for his community efforts.

Mabe creates needed internships for ONU students, and he is a member of the Henry Solomon Lehr Society. He was also a member of the Kappa Psi pharmaceutical fraternity as well as the Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary. He and his wife, Melissa, have four sons, two of whom are ONU pharmacy graduates: Stephen, a 2010 pharmacy graduate, and Nathaniel, a 2014 pharmacy graduate. The couple also has one grandson.

Shutt earned a degree in electrical engineering from ONU in 1983. Shutt was a member of the Jazz Ensemble and the concert and symphonic bands during his time at ONU. He also was a member of Student Senate, Tau Beta Pi and Omicron Delta Kappa, the leadership honorary on campus. After graduating, Shutt joined the family business as a member of the Kewpee Hamburgers team.

Shutt is the vice chair of the Lima Memorial Hospital Foundation and a board member for Allen County Public Health. He has served on the Appleseed Ridge Girl Scout Council. The Shutt family has sponsored the annual ONU Holiday Spectacular for the last 20 years with performances in Lima and at the Freed Center for the Performing Arts.

Shutt and his wife, Terri, have been married for 29 years and they have two children, Emily, an Ohio Northern graduate, and Samuel, a student at Ohio State University.

Freese, a 1984 ONU mechanical engineering graduate, is the chairman and CEO of Affordable Living Spaces Ltd. in Cleveland, Ohio. His company focuses on revitalization, re-purposing and renewal of distressed and abandoned real estate throughout Cuyahoga County. Prior to this position, he was the chairman and CEO of Bridge Development Group Ltd. He was the vice president of Worldwide Government Programs for TUG Technologies Corporation. He also has held leadership roles with General Electric Medical Systems, Siemens Medical Solutions, and World Toy Alliance.

Freese earned a Master of Science in industrial engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute, and he is a graduate of the Defense Systems Management College Program Management Course in Fort Belvoir, Va. Freese served in the United States Air Force from 1984-96, earning the rank of captain.

During his military career, Freese led the design, development and manufacturing of billions of dollars of complex aircraft and aerospace systems. His expertise in the area led to him overseeing all functions of General Electric Aircraft Engine’s military production for all F-16, F-14, F-4, KC-135, and B-2 aircraft as well as marine class engines in U.S. Navy destroyers. Freese also served on a special task force under the secretary of defense to reform and analyze best practices for efficiency and effectiveness of the acquisition process.

In the community, Freese serves as a member of the board of trustees for the Lake Health Foundation. During his tenure as a member of the Board, he and his team have had record years of giving to the Lake Health Foundation. He has served as president of John Carroll University’s Center for Entrepreneurship Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Advisory Board, and he has served as a trustee for Project Home for the Homeless in Lake County. He supported Lake Erie College as an entrepreneur in residence and SIFE Sam Walton fellow, coaching SIFE to its first regional competition. He is a member of the Willoughby Lodge, a member of the Ancient Accepted Order of Scottish Rite, and a past member of the Agape Outreach Ministry at Cleveland State.

Freese was asked to join the College of Engineering Advisory Board in 2003, and he has served as its chair since 2012. He is the co-chair of the Campaign for Engineering: Building Impact at ONU. Freese is a member of the Henry Solomon Lehr Society.


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