Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards

Educators’ Hall of Fame

Athletic Hall of Fame

Alumni Awards


2020 Alumni Awards


Class of 2019 Alumni Award Winners

Class of 2019 Alumni Award Winners Bethany Dixon-Wolfe, Rising Star Award. Margaret Evans, Distinguished Alumnae Award. Annette Ward, Distinguished Service Award. Tessa and Robbie Pugh, Atwood Achievement Award.

Margaret Evans
Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans graduated from the University of Rio Grande in 1984 and was awarded the’ Outstanding Graduate Award’ (doesn’t exist anymore) at Commencement. While at Rio, she was a member of the Grande Chorale and worked on the newspaper and yearbook staffs. Earning a degree in Communications Comprehensive, which included teaching credentials in English, Speech, Reading, Literature and Journalism, she taught in public high schools for six years. After her first year of teaching, Evans was awarded the Sallie Mae Outstanding First Year Teacher Award. Evans then attended the University of Kentucky School of Law, graduating in the top fifteen percent of her class in 1993. She practiced law in a private firm in Huntington, West Virginia until 1997, when she returned to Gallia County. In 2003, Evans was appointed by Governor Robert Taft to the bench of the Gallipolis Municipal Court and then won election to that position that same year. While on the Municipal Court bench, she also taught a Constitutional Systems class for Rio as an adjunct. Evans is the first female elected to a judicial position in Gallia County. Evans served in the Municipal Court until 2017, when she was elected to and began service as the Judge of the Gallia County Common Pleas Court, General Division.

Her connection to Rio did not being with matriculation to the University. Evans’s father, Clyde Evans, served Rio for most of his career in various administrative positions and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees after retiring from Rio and the State Legislature. Consequently, Evans, her sisters and brother, were all fortunate to be able to grow up on campus.

Her husband, David Smalley (also a Rio grad), began teaching and coaching Women’s Basketball at Rio in 1992.  His position allowed the couple to rear their daughter (Evans Smalley) on the Rio campus, in the family atmosphere that Rio people provide, while taking advantage of the cultural, educational and athletic benefits of the university.

Annette Ward
Annette Ward

Annette Ward

Annette Brown Ward is a three-time graduate of Rio Grande, earning her Associate of Arts and Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Master of Education in Classroom Teaching degree. After a lengthy career as a professional in the mental health field, Annette began her tenure in the Rio administration in 2007 as the Director of Alumni Relations.  In 2011, Annette was selected to serve additional roles as Executive to the President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees.

Annette has been honored to serve her community in a variety of ways, including past President of the Gallia County Convention as Visitors Bureau, 2013-2014 Gallia County United Way Honorary Campaign Chair,  and current member of the Rio Grande Village Council.  She has also been active on the Rio campus.  Annette has served as the advisor for her sorority, Lambda Omicron Psi, and also for All Greek Council.  She has also served as co-chair for the Commission on Archive and is currently co-chair of the Commencement Committee.

Annette, the daughter of alumni Dean and Petrea Brown, is originally from Jackson, Ohio, but has called Gallia County “home” since moving into Davis Hall as a freshman.  She has two amazing daughters—Jessica and Kathryn—who are the very best part of every day.

Robbie and Tessa Pugh
Robbie & Tessa Pugh

Robbie & Tessa Pugh

Robbie and Tessa Pugh met and began dating at the University of Rio Grande in the year 2006. Robbie received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration in 2009, and Tessa earned two degrees, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2008 and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing in 2009. The two were married in 2010 and have since resided in Gallipolis with their two children—Piper, 7, and Hudson, 4.

A little over two years after graduation, Robbie and Tessa set their dreams of entrepreneurship in motion when they purchased a foreclosed seven screen movie theater in Gallipolis formerly known as Spring Valley Cinema. After a total renovation to the building and a conversion from 35mm film reels to fully digital projectors, the couple gave the theater a new name, Silver Screen VII, and opened the doors to the public in November of 2011. Silver Screen VII continues to operate under their ownership, and the couple is proud to have the opportunity to offer a form of entertainment to the members of Gallipolis and surrounding areas.

In 2013 Robbie and Tessa founded RocketVII Interactive, a business that began as an advertising agency but quickly shifted to an outdoor advertising company specializing in digital billboards.  After installing and operating three digital billboards of their own in Gallipolis, Robbie and Tessa established a partnership with another Gallipolis couple in 2015 and over the next three years installed twelve additional billboards across Ohio. As part of RocketVII’s overall strategy to grow and sell, the business did just that in January 2019 when it sold its assets to Lamar Advertising Agency, one of the nation’s leaders in the out-of-home advertising industry.

In addition to Silver Screen VII and RocketVII, Robbie and Tessa briefly owned and operated a self-serve frozen yogurt and gourmet popcorn shop known as Pip and Hud’s (named after their children) located in downtown Gallipolis from 2015-2017.

Robbie and Tessa take pride in working together in all aspects of their business(es). By communicating effectively with one another and respecting each other’s ideas and opinions, they are successfully able to implement new strategies, develop marketing campaigns, manage inventory, maintain their workforce, conduct accounting functions, among other responsibilities.

Even though they are both fueled by their passion for entrepreneurship, their greatest sense of accomplishment stems from their joy of parenting and their love for their children and each other.

Robbie was a member of the Gallipolis Community Improvement Corporation from 2013-2017. He is a current member of the Downtown Revitalization Project and also serves on the Board of Directors at Holzer Health System. He was the recipient of the Marianne Campbell Volunteer of the Year award in 2014 from the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce and the Gallia County Citizen of the Year award in 2016 from The Gallipolis Lions Club.

Bethany Dixon-Wolfe
Bethany Dixon-Wolfe

Bethany Dixon-Wolfe

Bethany Dixon-Wolfe currently resides in Chillicothe, Ohio and is a proud University of Rio Grande graduated. She earned her Associate’s degree in Nursing in 2008, and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2010. In 2015, she earned her Family Nurse Practitioner/Master of Science in Nursing from Ohio University.

Bethany working as a registered nurse in 2008. Her work experience includes critical care nursing, cardiac nursing, and nursing education. She is currently employed as a Family Nurse Practitioner. In 2016, Bethany had the privilege of being involved in new clinic start-up with Holzer Health System, called The Uptown Clinic. Bethany says she gained much satisfaction through her work in this clinic.

Bethany’s experience also involves having served as a clinical instructor for Rio’s nursing program. She claims this was a very valuable experience for her to give back to her alma mater. She continues to enjoy supporting worthwhile endeavors sponsored by Rio’s nursing program.


Chad Lambert

Chad Lambert is a Jackson, Ohio native and 1994 graduate of the University of Rio Grande. As a commuter student, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications along with his wife, Angela Price-Lambert (’94). At Rio, Lambert was editor of the student newspaper, the Signals, and a part-time production assistant at WKOV radio in Jackson (now known as Mix 96 FM). During his run on the newspaper, Lambert created the comic strip Possum At Large, which he would later dust to become an award-winning comic book series.

Lambert moved to Cincinnati in 1994 and eventually became the producer of the legendary Gary Burbank Show on 700 WLW, where he also served as Executive Producer of the nationally-syndicated Earl Pitts: American commentaries. Burbank was inducted in to the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.

As a comic book writer, Lambert is a two-time Harvey Award winning writer for his work in Dark Horse Presents and small press comics, including Possum At LargeKill the Revisionist, and Return to Point Pleasant. Legendary science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury referred to Return to Point Pleasant as “superb and frightening! Bravo!” 

Chad also appeared in the feature-length documentary Eyes of the Mothman, which explores the Appalachian folklore of paranormal activity in West Virginia.

Chad was also one of the writers of the Megamind and Kung Fu Panda comics from Ape Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation, as well as BloodRayne for Digital Webbing Press. Chad is also the editor of COMICS, a biography series that focuses on stand-up comedians, television sitcom stars and other influential funny people from the past 50 years. Titles so far include George Carlin, Lucille Ball, The Three Stooges, Saturday Night Live, WKRP in Cincinnati and Redd Foxx.

Chad currently still lives in Cincinnati with Angela (married 23 years) and their children Spencer (16) and Sam (13).

Jessica Lawhon

Jessica Lawhon is a Gallipolis, OH native and 2012 graduate of the University of Rio Grande. As a commuter student, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and graduated summa cum laude as well as earning the Overall Outstanding Student from the School of Business.

During her time at Rio, Jessica was President of the American Marketing Association (AMA).

A month after graduating from Rio, she began her professional career as an accountant for Elemetal’s precious metals refinery in Jackson, OH where she worked until 2014 when the company relocated her to Dallas, Texas to work at their headquarters. Just after being in Dallas for two years, Jessica transitioned from accounting staff, to manager, to controller of the company’s precious metals bullion entity. During that time, she completed a successful software implementation for the company’s bullion business.

Jessica currently resides in Dallas and continues to work for Elemetal. 

Ellen Brasel

Ellen Brasel is a 1993 graduate of the University of Rio Grande. A non-traditional student, she obtained her Bachelor’s in History from Rio, while minoring in Political Science. Ellen says that Rio’s outstanding faculty and their belief that Rio students could succeed along with their educational tutelage enabled her to be prepared for graduate school.

In the spring of 1997, Ellen graduated from Ohio University with a Master’s of Arts degree in History, and later in 2001, Ellen found herself back on the campus of Rio where she joined Rio’s History Department and remained there until she retired in 2014.

Ellen currently resided is Worthington, OH and takes classes at Ohio State University in their ‘Over Sixty Program’. She said she enjoys spending time with family, old acqaintances, gardening, book club, and bridge.

Vicki Crabtree

Vicki Crabtree is a Carrollton, Kentucky native and a 1975 graduate of Morehead State University. She later received her Master’s in Education in Vocational Adult/Technical Education from the University of Cincinnati in 1979.

Vicki came to Jackson, Ohio, from Morehead State in 1976 to work at the Southern Ohio Skills Center (Manpower Training Center). She was an Adult Business and Office Education instructor from August 1976-September 1982. During this time period, she also taught an intensive office education night class for Buckeye Valley Career Center in Allensville, Ohio, and a Saturday class for the Jackson-Vinton County Youth Education Training Program (YETP) at Buckeye Hills Career Center in Rio Grande.

During her time at Rio, Vicki has been and is a member of numerous campus committees to include Academic Affairs, Academic Policy, and Academic Curriculum. She is a member of several allied health programs’ advisory committees, and has also been the chair for the School of Technologies, School of Allied Health, and is presently a co-chair for the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences.

Several of Vicki’s honors are awards include: Ohio Two-Year College Teacher of the Year Award 2006; University of Rio Grande Edwin A. Jones Excellence in Teaching Award 2004; appointed as a biographical candidate to represent Rio Grande in the Empire Who’s Who of Women in Education; and she also was selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Vicki is currently the Assistant Professor of Office Technology, Co-Chair of the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences, and advisor to allied health and office technology students.  She additionally teaches classes at the Rio Grande Jackson Center.

Vicki presently lives in Jackson, Ohio, with her husband, Herman D. Crabtree, Sr.  She has two daughters and a stepson, and nine grandchildren.

2020 Atwood Achievement Award – Stephen Moses ’80

2020 Atwood Achievement Award – Stephen Moses ’80

The Atwood Achievement Award recognizes alumni for personal achievement reflecting credit upon the University, including professional or civic accomplishments, and who have an interest in promoting the ideals and objectives of the institution. The 2020 winner, Mr....

Rio to Present Fourth Annual Veteran Award

Rio to Present Fourth Annual Veteran Award

Rio Grande, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College takes pride in honoring veterans who have served and are continuing to serve our country. As part of this endeavor, Rio created the “Jim Marshall Veteran of the Year Award” to recognize...

Rio Celebrates Heritage with Founders’ Day 2018

Rio Celebrates Heritage with Founders’ Day 2018

The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College has achieved several accomplishments since first opening in 1876. To commemorate the dedication put into building and opening the institution, and the people who have helped it to thrive along the way, Rio...

Rio Honors Alumni

Rio Honors Alumni

Rio Grande, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Alumni Awards. Every year, the Awards and Recognition Committee of the Alumni Association Council chooses winners from nominees submitted by...

Freshman Awarded Archon Family Scholarship

Freshman Awarded Archon Family Scholarship

The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College remains an important part of its alumni’s lives. To give back to future students, one fraternity has created a scholarship for relatives of former members. Rio Freshmen Zane Robertson from London, Ohio, is...

Rio Celebrates Heritage with Founders Day 2017

Rio Celebrates Heritage with Founders Day 2017

University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College has achieved several accomplishments since first opening in 1876. To commemorate the dedication put into building and opening the institution, and the people who have helped it to thrive along the way, Rio...

Alumni Association Looking for Past Homecoming Kings/Queens

Alumni Association Looking for Past Homecoming Kings/Queens

All former Rio Homecoming Kings and Queens, the Rio Grande Alumni Association is looking for you! We want to invite you back to participate in our Homecoming Parade on Friday, Nov. 17 at 5 pm here on campus. Please contact Delyssa Edwards, Director of Alumni...

Former Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients
1967Tong Won Lee
1971Melbra Thornton
1972John Willard Lewis
1973Donald Farrar
1974Thomas Helms
1975William Williams
1976Emanuel Eni
1977Pauline Lindley Wallace
1978John Hoyt
1979John Evans
1981Gaines Clements
1983Ronald Glover
1986Smith Runyan
1987Richard Northup
1988Stephen Towler
1989John Merrill Weed
1990William Grant
1991Gilbert McNeal
1992Keith Molihan
1993Richard Munyon
1995Donald Cox
1996Robert Lawson
1997Doris Rhea Coy
1998Joseph McKay
2005Jeffrey Robb
2008Mark Coe
2011Peggy Anderson
2012Steve Gilmore
2017Patrick Young
Former Alumni Award Recipients
1967J. Boyd Davis
1968William Hollis Ewing
1968Marie Fowler Richards
1970Ina Alban
1971Elton Savage
1972Pearl Waddell Northup
1973Roy Moses
1974J. Newton Oliver
1975Eugenia Ferguson Gardner
1975Ernest Miller
1976Frank Dixon “Dick” Hyland
1977J. Sherman Porter
1978Margaret Thomas
1979Charles A. Weed
1979Kurt Williams
1980Howard Blanchard
1980Carrie Hutchinson North Dale
1981Jim Burnette
1981C. Robert Leith
1982Daniel Fulks
1983Jack Hagar
1984Susan Hagar
1985Jim Bitonte
1986Diana Carsey Kinder
1987David Cole
1990Marshall Kimmel
1992Judy Burdell
1995Jane Peterson
1997Andrew Drukker
1997David W. Smith
2000Jacob Bapst
2005Jack Finch
2007Larry Guglielmi
2008Roy Moses
2009Hope Keller
2010Patty Forgey
2017Leonard Longo
Former Atwood Achivement Award Recipients
1970William McDonald
1971William Hollis Ewing
1972Thomas Brown
1973Betsy Field
1974Floyd Beman
1974Oyer Saunders
1975Carl Bennett
1975Emily Foster Leedy
1976Harry Fritz
1977Donald Garret
1978Carl Meadows
1980Harold Yinger
1981Robert Jenkins
1982Helen Jones Mayton
1983Susan Burnside Hagar
1985John Lawhorn
1986Fred Deel
1987Pamela Black Matura
1988Laura “Betty” Kratz
1989Roger D. Williams
1990Lawrence Landaker
1991Ronald Adkins
1992Ralph Taylor
1993Jane Johnson
1995William Morgan
1996Sherman Blagg
1997Jack Payton
1998Michael D. Francis
2001Deborah Chapman Biggs
2001Teresa Snider-Boring
2003Kimberly Flaugher Flasher
2004James G. Bernbeck
2007Chad Lambert
2008Stacie Hutton
2009Franklin Bullock
2017C. Michael Reardon
Former Faculty Citation Award Recipients
1967Robert Ewing
1968Clara Poston
1969Frances Burdell
1970Zelma Northcutt
1971Luther Tracy
1974Jean Lloyd Cooper
1975Alphus Christensen
1976Arthur Lanham
1977Loredith Lowe
1978Ben Forshey
1979Charles Withee
1979Ruth Thomas
1981Dean Brown
1982Everett Hall, Jr.
1982Herman Koby
1982H. Paul Lloyd
1983Arlen Owens
1982Ronald Tucceri
1983Bernard Murphy
1985Margaret Thomas
1987Larry Spees
1988Thomas Osborne
1989Linda Bauer
1990Edward Sofranko
1992T. Michael Rhodes
1993Ruth Thomas
1995Ruth George
1996Raymond Matura
2003Robert Willey
2004Barry Thompson
2008Anthony Daniels
2017Rebecca Long Carolyn Berry
Former Citation of Appreciation Award Recipients
1969Cora Williams Baker
1969Mary Lewis
1970Fred Bouic
1970Francis Shane
1972John Stiffler
1973Merlyn Ross
1974Irene Mossman Brannon
1975Robert L. Evans
1976Joseph Bitonte
1978Esther Rimmel
1979Patty Forgey
1980Wilma Fogelsong
1983Ivan Tribe
1984Catherine Clark Eich
1984Loredith Lowe
1986Atwood Heritage Club
1986Michael Burcham
1986H. Paul Lloyd
1987Jack Hagar
1988Ann McCarrell
1988Roger S. Williams
1989Bess Evans Grace
1990Doris Ross
1991Mildred Bangert
1991Mabel Mohler
1993Ruth Cook
1993Robert S. Wood
2002Alumni Memorial Bell Tower Committee
2003Abby Gail Goodnite
2004Martha Streich Crowder
2007Christopher DeBow
2008Fraternal Order of Archon Alumni Association

*No longer have award

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