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Ohio University Alumni Association names Perry A. Sook, ’80, Alumnus of the Year

Sook to be one of 12 award recipients at OUAA’s annual Alumni Awards Ceremony Oct. 6

The Ohio University Alumni Association will present 12 Alumni Awards at its Oct. 6 ceremony, including honoring Perry A. Sook, ’80, as Alumnus of the Year, the highest honor given to an OHIO graduate.

The 2023 Alumni Awards will honor graduates who have excelled in their field with the Medal of Merit Award, graduates who have given of their time and talents with the Distinguished Service Award and a recent graduate who has given back to her community with the Charles J. and Claire O. Ping Recent Graduate Award. In addition, one individual who did not graduate from OHIO will receive the Honorary Alumna Award for her commitment and service to the University. Three outstanding athletes will be added to the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame. The Alumni Awards Gala will be held Friday, October 6, ahead of OHIO’s October 7 Homecoming Football game.

“The Ohio University community is invited to join the OUAA and Intercollegiate Athletics in Memorial Auditorium from 6-8 p.m. for the Awards Ceremony,” said Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving and Executive Director of the OUAA Jennifer Bowie, BSC ’94, MC ’99. “Each year, our award recipients talk about their Bobcat memories and the power of their OHIO experiences as they accept their awards. We welcome students and faculty to share these inspiring moments with the awardees and their families—and to stick around for a light dessert reception following the ceremony!”

The evening’s most prestigious award will go to Sook, who not only boasts an incredible professional legacy as Chairman and CEO of Nexstar Media Group, the largest local broadcast television operator in the United States, but also as an OHIO volunteer. Sook served The Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees for more than 20 years — eight of those as its chair. He stepped down from the post in June of this year. 

“Perry truly exemplifies this award, and I can’t think of a more fitting tribute of his service to his alma mater,” said Nico Karagosian, Vice President of Advancement at Ohio University and CEO of The Ohio University Foundation. “He is a husband and father to an amazing family, the leader of a broadcast powerhouse, and yet he has made time to faithfully share his time and talent with Ohio University for more than two decades. We are all so thankful to know Perry, and his wife Sandy.”

Sook earned his Bachelor of Science in Communication in 1980. In 1996 he founded Nexstar with one location television station in Scranton, Penn., and began building what would become one of the world’s leading broadcast and content companies. Following the acquisition of Tribune Media and later of Media General, Nexstar became the largest operator of local broadcast television stations in the U.S., reaching more than 68 percent of all television households. 

In June of this year, as Sook stepped down from his post as Chair of the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees, he was elected Chairman of the Joint Board of Directors of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Sook was nominated by Timothy Busch, BSC ‘85, who worked with him at Nexstar, most recently serving as President of Broadcasting. 

“You can go through 10 lifetimes and not work with somebody quite like Perry,” Busch said in a video message thanking Sook for his professional partnership and service to Ohio University. “I don’t think I would be on the Ohio University Foundation Board if it wasn’t for Perry. I certainly wouldn’t have had the professional career and the success that we have had. His leadership style is unparalleled.”

Busch said Sook has also been an inspirational leader when it comes to giving back to Ohio University as a donor. Sook served on the campaign committees for both the Bicentennial and Promise Lives Campaigns for Ohio University. He and Sandy Sook also gave a generous donation for the building of an athletics facility dedicated to providing student athletes with collaborative study space. The Perry and Sandy Sook Academic Center opened at Peden Stadium in 2018.

In addition, the OUAA and Intercollegiate Athletics will award the following honors at its Alumni Awards Ceremony:

Honorary Alumna
Honorary membership to Ohio University or to the Alumni Association is bestowed on non-alumni who have made a positive impact on OHIO’s students, faculty, staff, and community. This year’s recipient is:
•    Patricia Muck

Medal of Merit Award
Presented to alumni who have excelled in their chosen field, 2023 recipients are:
•    Ariel Armony, MA ’92 (Latin American Studies)
•    Larry Small, PhD ’84 (Hearing, Speech, and Language Science)
•    Brian Stultz, BFA ’83 (Graphic Design)  

Distinguished Service Award
Recognizing alumni who have supported Ohio University with their time, talents, or treasure, 2023 honorees are:
•    Yvette Alexander Slate, AB ’92 (Sociology/Criminology) 
•    R. Clark VanDervort, AB ’75 (Latin) 
•    Marty Wall, AB ’72 (Government) 

Charles J. and Claire O. Ping Recent Graduate Award
Presented to alumni who have excelled in their chosen field and in their service to Ohio University and their communities within 15 years of graduating, 2023 recipients are:
•    Michelle Connavino, BSEd ’09 (Middle Childhood Education)

The Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame
Honoring outstanding athletes, coaches, staff members and administrators who have brought recognition to Ohio University through their significant athletic achievements, 2023 inductees are:
•    Savannah Jo (Dorsey) Seigneur, BS ’17 (Biological Sciences), DO ’21 (Osteopathic Medicine)
•    Jack LeVeck, BSEd ’72 (Physical Education) 
•    Matt Engleka, BBA ’95 (Business Administration), MSA ’96 (Sports Administration) 

Nominations for the 2024 Alumni Awards are currently being accepted. Please see the awards nominations webpage for more details.

September 11, 2023
Staff reports