OWU senior earns Ping Award


Ohio Wesleyan University senior Graham Steed of Marion, Ohio, is one of 13 students statewide being honored with a 2023 Charles J. Ping Student Service Award in recognition of his “outstanding leadership and contributions to community service.”

The Ohio Campus Compact, a consortium of 34 higher education institutions statewide, bestows the Ping Award each year to undergraduate students deemed to represent “the next generation of civic leaders and problem-solvers.”

In announcing the 2023 awards, Stephanie Dodd, executive director of the Ohio Campus Compact, said Steed and his fellow Ping Award recipients represent “future leaders in our communities and exemplify social responsibility and commitment to improvement of campus and community life.”

An Environmental Studies major, Steed was nominated for the award by Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D.

“This award was meant for students like Graham Steed,” Jones said. “Graham is committed to making a positive difference in everything he does,” Jones said. “He is an engaged leader, a creative and proactive problem-solver, and, notably, one who leads graciously by example and with humility. His passion, focus, sustained leadership, and achievements provide ample evidence of a trajectory toward a lifetime of engaged civic leadership. Graham exemplifies the Ping Award and serves as a powerful role model for all of us.”

During his time at Ohio Wesleyan, Steed founded the OWU Environmental Welcome Center, served as the university’s sustainability coordinator intern, participated with Regional Ohio Action for Resilience (ROAR), and worked as a water quality intern with Del-Co Water Company Inc.

Steed also is the current moderator of Ohio Wesleyan’s Service, Engagement, and Leadership House (SEAL), a small living unit that houses up to a dozen students all interested in civic engagement. In 2022, he headed a spring break service team that traveled to Houston, Texas, to help rebuild a home damaged by Hurricane Harvey. While at Ohio Wesleyan, Steed also has volunteered with numerous service organizations, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, Stratford Ecological Center, Turning Point, and Seminary Hill Farm, part of the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

As he prepares to graduate in May, Steed, a first-generation college student, hopes to continue his civic and community engagement throughout his life and career. (He attended Pleasant High School.)

“I aspire to become a sustainability director, an individual who creates and monitors different initiatives that impact the environment, the economy, and, most importantly, the community,” he said. “Although my time at Ohio Wesleyan is coming to a close, I am thankful that I finally found a place that not only granted me access to knowledge, but also expanded my understanding of the community and the needs that exist around me.”

The Charles J. Ping Student Service Award is named in honor of Ping, who served as president of Ohio University from 1975-1994. An early supporter and board member of the Ohio Campus Compact, Ping is remembered as a “tireless advocate for campus-community partnerships and increased opportunities for students.”

Based in Newark, Ohio, the nonprofit Ohio Campus Compact works to strengthen the capacity of the schools “to educate students for civic and social responsibility and to improve community life.” Learn more about the compact and the Ping Award at www.ohiocampuscompact.org and more about Ohio Wesleyan’s commitment to community service at www.owu.edu/service.

Submitted by Ohio Wesleyan University.

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