Ohio Northern University President Dan DiBiasio and his wife, Chris Burns-DiBiasio, received the Ada Town and Gown Association’s Honorary Citizens of the Year award, and 1997 alumna Arlene Allison was named Citizen of the Year at the organization’s recent luncheon.
This honorary award is given to an individual, nominated by fellow citizens, who goes above and beyond what is required in the areas of accomplishment and civic involvement. In this year’s case, both DiBiasios were deemed worthy of special recognition for their individual and collaborative contributions to the village. Award recipients have improved the quality of the Ada community and have made strides to make Ada and ONU a place of pride. When seeking nominations, the association indicated those eligible may be a community leader, or even a “silent server” in the community who often will forego personal recognition in the interest of making a difference in their community and the lives of others.
At the awards lunch, the association explained the DiBiasios “arrived in Ada over the summer months of 2011 and quickly began engaging with the community through generously sharing of their time, their energy, and creating traditions such as the ONU Ada Community Engagement Day and the Patriotic Pops Concert. Their commitment to economic development and relationships between the Town and the Gown is exemplary.”
“For more than a decade, Chris and I have been blessed to live and serve in Ada,” says DiBiasio. “This wonderful community welcomed us with open arms, and we’ve done our best to repay its many kindnesses. We humbly thank the Ada Town and Gown Association for bestowing us with this honor.”
“Working with the Ada community over the years has been a joy,” says Burns-DiBiasio, who has liaised with civic organizations and local government entities to plan myriad events collaboratively offered by the University and community. “This award means a great deal to Dan and me.”
Allison, who has the distinction of being the youngest to receive the Ada Town & Gown Citizen of the Year award, grew up in Ada and has been active in the community her entire life. She received a bachelor of arts in elementary education and is a Title I reading intervention specialist for Ada Elementary School.
As a parent of three children who attend Ada schools, Allison is active in all three booster clubs and volunteers for school activities such as concessions, breast cancer awareness night, parents’ night and youth programs.
Allison has also served on the Ada Chamber of Commerce Harvest and Herb Festival committee for 16 years and has organized the Harvest and Herb Queen competition for 20 years; in 1992 she was named queen. She has also assisted with Ada school district and village library levy campaigns, is the past president of the Ada High School Alumni Association and is a member of Ada St. Paul United Church of Christ.
The Town and Gown Association was established in 1957 by a group of townspeople and ONU personnel to develop and maintain a strong positive relationship between the village of Ada and Ohio Northern.