The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine recognized three Honorary Distinguished Alumni at a ceremony held at the college on October 7.
The Honorary Distinguished Alumni Award was created to recognize those individuals who are not graduates of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, but are passionate animal advocates, grateful clients, and advocates for excellence in veterinary education, research, service and outreach. The following award recipients have had a transformational impact on the college:
Elisabeth Allison, PhD, has served as co-director of the Stanton Foundation since 2009, and is passionate and courageous in her commitment to carry on the visionary philanthropic plan of Dr. Frank Stanton. She also directs many projects, programs and grants ensuring that students become more informed citizens through innovative educational programs in U.S. history and civics. Through the Stanton Foundation, her philanthropic work also supports and advocates for First Amendment rights such as free speech, the press and rights of assembly.
Allison has played a critical part in advancing the education of Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine students through her leadership and dedication with the Stanton Foundation – resulting in transformational gifts totaling over $51M. This has led to milestones for the college such as establishing the Building Excellence in Veterinary General Practice Program, opening the Veterinary Clinical and Professional Skills Center and constructing the Frank Stanton Veterinary Spectrum of Care Clinic.
Not only has Allison had a transformational impact on Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, but numerous other universities and organizations as well. She is an economist by training, holding a PhD in Business Economics from Harvard Business School and the Harvard University Department of Economics. Her experience includes work in both the for-profit and non-profit world and substantial volunteer commitments.
Allison has served as Associate Professor in the Harvard University Department of Economics and a lecturer at the Harvard Business School. At Harvard, she was responsible for "Ee 10," Harvard's large introductory economics course as well as the undergraduate econometrics course. While an academic, she authored numerous articles and books, including a companion volume to "Brealey and Myers Principles of Corporate Finance", one of the first to incorporate the modeling capacity of electronic spreadsheets into the teaching of finance.
After a career in the corporate world, Allison returned to Harvard to become the chief negotiator for the Harvard Medical School for its non-pharma intellectual property ventures. In this role she negotiated large scale, multi-year ventures with both traditional and non-traditional corporate partners including insurers, media and software companies. Allison is currently a member of several corporate boards, has decades of entrepreneurial experience and is incredibly active in municipal and volunteer service.
Beth Jones, is the owner of High Hopes Horse Farm in Urbana, Ohio, where she has been a long-time breeder of predominantly Hackney ponies and Saddlebred horses. She was born in Glendale, Ohio, and grew up on a farm where her family owned show horses.
Jones has made a long-lasting impact on the equine industry and has been dedicated to ensuring that horse shows continue. She has gone above and beyond to help amateurs qualify for shows and has done all she can to bring as many people as possible into the hobby and sport. At one point, she formed a group called the Ohio High Steppers that primarily consisted of young girls who wanted to show but didn’t have the financial means to do so. She furnished each of them a pony, harness and bridle and moral support, while the girls learned how to work with the horses and invest the time that goes into showing a horse.
A long-time client of the Veterinary Medical Center’s Galbreath Equine Center and the Hummel & Trueman Hospital for Companion Animals and having owned as many as five dogs at one time, Jones has experienced many of the different services available at Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center and has been an advocate for the exceptional care her animals received there.
Participating in a broad variety of philanthropic engagement, Jones has been extremely passionate about supporting a wide variety of causes including traveling numerous times to Africa to help several organizations, helping inner city youth programs in Ohio, and helping her dear friend Connie Smith start a non-profit dog and cat rescue in Urbana, Ohio, called Barely Used Pets, which has helped provide necessary care and find forever homes for thousands of unowned pets.
Cynthia Knight, has been very involved with philanthropy throughout her life and animals have been a major part of her life and focus. Over the years, she has donated to The Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens (The Cynthia Knight Endowment), the Cuyahoga National Valley Park Association, the Miami Zoo (River Otter Exhibit), The Akron Zoo (The Landon and Cynthia Knight Pride of Africa), Our Lady of the Elms (her alma mater), and is currently supporting the Akron Children’s Hospital. Mrs. Knight has also held fundraisers and supported the Akron Symphony and the Summit Choral Society, which has often entailed her traveling with both groups to performance locations around the world. Several of these commitments have been $1 million or more.
A long-time enthusiast and pet parent of Saint Bernard dogs, Knight has had numerous interactions with many of the services at Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center. In addition, Knight’s goddaughter, Dr. Holly Helbig, is a 2013 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
In 2013, Knight participated in a grateful client event with Dr. Johnathan Dyce that focused on raising funds for the Veterinary Medical Center Enhancement and Expansion Project.
Knight is a master gardener and her home has been featured on several national and local garden shows. Her passion for gardening inspired her to name Ohio State’s Veterinary Medical Center courtyard and commission an artist to create life-sized bronze statues of her dogs named April, May and June, to be placed on display in the courtyard. Eventually, Knight and her personal gardener designed and helped plant the current landscaping in the “The Knight Courtyard” that honor the three Saint Bernard littermates.
Knight also supported the naming of a large Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery Suite. The redesigned surgery suite has and will continue to positively impact the lives of many dogs like hers who come to Ohio State from all over the country to work with the orthopedic surgeons for hip replacement and other surgeries.