Rio Honors Alumni

The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are proud to announce the winners for the 2018 Alumni Awards. Clockwise, the winners are (top left) Chad Lambert, ’94, Distinguished Alumnus Award; Jessica Wickline Lawhon, ’12, Atwood Achievement Award; Vicki Crabtree, University of Rio Grande Faculty/Staff Recognition Award; and Ellen Brasel, ’93, University of Rio Grande Alumni Award.

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 family, friends, coworkers, or former professors of Rio graduates. The awards are presented to three outstanding alumni and one member of Rio’s faculty and staff. Director of Alumni Relations Delyssa Edwards said she feels it is important for Rio to continue supporting alumni after graduation.

“It is so important to stay involved with our alumni, and one way we do that is to recognize their accomplishments with these awards. We’re very proud of all of our alumni. We have graduates all over the world doing incredible things in their fields, and we want to stay engaged and continue to support them on their journeys,” Edwards said. “We really encourage our alumni’s friends and family to nominate their graduate for these awards because we want to celebrate their successes after Rio. As a graduate myself, I feel it’s so important to stay connected to Rio, and I want other alumni to have that same feeling that Rio is part of their home.”

The awards were first presented in 1967 and have varied over the years. Rio now presents four unique awards designed to honor specific achievements. The Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award is presented to alumni who have brought honor to the University through significant personal achievement. The University of Rio Grande Alumni Award is given for meritorious service to the University or to the Alumni Association, to a recipient who is active in serving to benefit the welfare of the University. The Atwood Achievement Award is presented to 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 final award, the University of Rio Grande Faculty/Staff Recognition Award, is given to outstanding long-time members of the University’s faculty or staff, and who are recognized as leaders in their particular area.

The winners for this year are Chad Lambert, ’94, Distinguished Alumnus Award; Jessica Wickline Lawhon, ’12, Atwood Achievement Award; Ellen Brasel, ’93, University of Rio Grande Alumni Award; and Vicki Crabtree, University of Rio Grande Faculty/Staff Recognition Award. Rio Interim President Dr. Catherine Clark, class of 1968, won the Citation of Appreciation Award in 1984. While the honor she received is no longer presented, Clark said she is proud to see Rio graduates continuing to succeed professionally.

“Students, faculty and staff are proud of the accomplishments of our alumni, and I congratulate this year’s winners on their successes,” Clark said. “As an alumna of Rio, I have always felt encouraged knowing Rio still cares about the students even after we earned our diplomas. It’s a reflection of how much our faculty and staff value student success.”

Lambert, a native of Jackson, received his Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications in 1994. Now living in Cincinnati with his wife and children, Lambert is a two-time Harvey Award winner, comic book writer and former radio show producer for the “Gary Burbank Show.” While at Rio, he served as an editor for the student newspaper and worked outside of school as a part-time production assistant at WKOV radio, now Mix 96 FM, in Jackson.

Lawhon, originally from Gallipolis, graduated summa cum laude in 2012 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. Shortly after, she began working at Elemental’s precious metal refinery in Jackson as an accountant. She relocated to the company’s Dallas, Texas headquarters, where she has since transitioned to a controller for the company’s precious metals bullion entity. While at Rio, she was president of the American Marketing Association and earned the Overall Outstanding Student Award from the School of Business.

Brasel, of Worthington, OH, earned her Bachelor’s Degree in History in 1993 as a non-traditional student. She went on to earn her master’s degree from Ohio University, and then returned to Rio as a member of the History Department’s faculty in 2001. She retired from her position in 2014.

Crabtree, a native of Carrollton, KY, works as an assistant professor of office technology and serves as the co-chair of the School of Health and Behavioral Sciences. During her time at Rio, she has been a member of several different committees across campus and has won numerous Rio and national awards.

The awards will be presented to the recipients during the Founders Day celebration in September. Nominations for the 2019 Alumni Awards are open and can be submitted through February 1, 2019. For information on how to nominate an alumnus for the awards, contact Delyssa Edwards at

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