Statehouse News

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board and Capitol Square Foundation are seeking nominations for the 2017 class of “Great Ohioans.” The award celebrates Ohioans who have played a significant role in an event, or series of events, of lasting significance in world, American or Ohio history. Additional criteria include being born in Ohio or lived in Ohio for a minimum of five years. At least 25 years must have passed since the commemorated event, in which the nominee participated. 


This award is an opportunity to recognize Ohioans who have made an impact in a number of important areas. A complete explanation of the nomination process and nomination forms can be found online at


All Ohioans, including teachers and students, are encouraged to participate in the nomination process.


Great Ohioan nomination categories include:

  • inventions/medicine/science
  • literature/journalism/history
  • academics
  • communications/education
  • entertainment/sports
  • government/military/public service/religion


Deadline for nominations is Monday, December 12, 2016. The Capitol Square Foundation may select up to three nominees to submit for selection to the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board, the administrative agency of the Ohio Statehouse. The Great Ohioan Award recipients will be announced and recognized in early 2017.


Since 2003, 30 Great Ohioans have been recognized with the award for the special roles they played in history.  The Great Ohioans include;


2003 Class: Orville and Wilbur Wright, inventors; John Glenn, first American to orbit the earth; and Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon;


2008 Class: Jesse Owens, Olympic track and field star; Thomas Edison, inventor; Harriet Beecher Stowe, author; James Thurber, journalist and author; Colonel Charles Young, military leader; and Dr. George Crile, founder of the Cleveland Clinic;


2009 Class: Catherine Nelson Black, health care humanitarian; Salmon P. Chase, Ohio Governor, Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice; Paul Laurence Dunbar, poet and author; Charles F. Kettering, inventor; Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I fighter ace; and Denton T. “Cy” Young, baseball legend.


2010 Class: James M. Cox, journalist, member of the United States House of Representatives, Ohio Governor; Florence Ellinwood Allen, first woman Ohio Supreme Court Justice; Bob Feller, baseball legend; and Bill Willis, National Football League hall of famer.


2011 Class: Ulysses S. Grant, Civil War General and U.S. President; William Moore McCulloch, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, U.S. Congressman and civil rights advocate; William Howard Taft, U.S. President and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice; and Harriet Taylor Upton, women’s rights advocate and author.


2012 Class: Gordon Battelle, philanthropist and researcher; Dominic Salavtore “Don” Gentile, World War II fighter pilot; Washington Gladden, clergyman and social reformer; Albert Belmont Graham, founder of the 4-H program; Albert Sabin, medical researcher best known for the oral polio vaccine; and William T. Sherman, Civil War general.


2013 Class: James Abram Garfield, scholar, Civil War General and U.S. President; Granville T. Wood, entrepreneur and inventor; Paul Brown, professional football innovator, coach and executive.    


2014 Class: Annie Oakley, superstar sharpshooter and educator, and Jerri Mock, first woman to fly around the world.


2015 Class: Agnes Meyer Driscoll, groundbreaking cryptographer and leader in the field of intelligence and national security; Rufus Putnam, American Revolutionary War General, surveyor and co-founder of the Ohio Company.


2016 Class: Jack William Nicklaus, retired American professional golfer; John Davison Rockefeller Sr., American industrialist and philanthropist; Potter Stewart, U.S. Supreme Court justice.


A special exhibit in the Ohio Statehouse Museum pays tribute to all Great Ohioan Award recipients. On a large touch screen, a host of options are available for visitors to explore the life and accomplishments of each recipient. While countless Ohioans have performed great actions for their community and beyond, only a select few have been named a “Great Ohioan.” The exhibit allows visitors to have a greater understanding of the recipients of the Great Ohioan award and discover how they affected local, national and world history.




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