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Awards Show Service to Students a Priority at Otterbein

March 5, 2012

Otterbein University educator honored for work on behalf of first-year college students

Westerville, OH—The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina and Cengage Learning recently honored Katherine Lehman, assistant dean for student success at Otterbein University, with the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award. She was recognized on Feb. 19 at the Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience in San Antonio, Texas.

"Kate Lehman is truly deserving of this national recognition," said Provost Victoria McGillin. "Her initiatives throughout the transition to semesters, her work with the First Year Experience and First Year Seminar, and her role in developing the Center for Student Success have all combined to make her stand out from the crowded field. That she accomplished all this with patience, humor and temerity is most impressive. She has created a space where confused or uncertain students can seek out advice, referrals and recommendations, no matter what their class year."

Lehman joined Otterbein in 2003 as coordinator of student activities and residence hall director. In 2004, she was named assistant dean for students and director of the Center for Student Involvement. She became assistant dean for student success in 2010.

Lehman oversaw the University’s conversion from quarters to semesters and established the Center for Student Success. She has also implemented and supported retention efforts across campus, provided individual advocacy to students and coordinated ongoing data analysis and research related to retention issues on campus. She also serves as co-director of Otterbein’s First Year Experience Program.

Her professional memberships include the Association of College Unions International (ACUI), National Orientation Directors Association, National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and Ohio College Personnel Association (OCPA). Lehman received the Fred J. Swalls Scholarship for Demonstrated Leadership and Contributions to the field of Education from Indiana State University in 2009; the Emerging Professional Award for potential for Significant Contribution to the Field of Higher Education from The Ohio State University SPA Program in 2006; and the W.E.B. Dubois Appreciation Award for dedication and contributions to the African American Community from Otterbein University in 2006. Lehman earned her bachelor’s degree at Marquette University, her master’s degree at The Ohio State University and is a doctoral candidate at Indiana State University. Lehman resides in Columbus (43230).

The Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award, now in its 23rd year, honors college faculty, administrators, staff and students for their outstanding work on behalf of first-year students and for the impact their efforts have on the students and culture of their institutions. Ten recipients were chosen from 140 nominations. For more information about the award, contact Shana Harrison at 803-576-6328 or scharri2@mailbox.sc.edu

Otterbein University financial aid officer recognized for dedication to students

Westerville, OH—Mary Kay Freshour, associate director of financial aid at Otterbein University, recently received the Alex Murdoch Award from the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA).

Freshour has worked at Otterbein 21 years and served for three years as the director of admission and financial aid at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. She has been a member of the Ohio Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (OASFAA) since 1990. As president of OASFAA from 2002-2003, she brought College Goal Sunday to Ohio, an annual event when 45 sites across the state host volunteers from financial aid, admission and guidance counselor offices to help parents complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Aid). She will serve on the OASFAA executive board as co-chair and the leadership class for the coming academic year. She is also a member of Mid West Association of Financial Aid (MASFAA). Freshour resides in Clintonville.

The Alex Murdoch Award was named after the former Associate Director of Student Financial Aid at the University of Cincinnati upon his retirement from the field in 1999. The award is presented each winter conference to a member that exhibits the qualities Alex Murdoch personified in his dedication to students and to the state association. The Alex Murdoch Award recipient supports OASFAA with conviction and loyalty. The recipients are always there to lend a helping hand, share their knowledge or offer their opinions. They work tirelessly to further the lives of others in their journey for higher education. And the recipient makes OASFAA a better organization through their efforts, commitments and many contributions. Above all, the recipient of this award has given outstanding service to OASFAA and its membership.