Muskingum University celebrated the personal and professional achievements of three of its most accomplished alumni in a ceremony on campus, Saturday, June 17, part of 2017 Alumni Weekend. Bill P. Lovejoy '51, Benjamin O. Shaver '50 and James R. Woolard '64 were presented Distinguished Service Awards, the University’s highest alumni honor.
Sponsored by the Muskingum University Alumni Council, the Muskingum University Distinguished Service Award recognizes and honors alumni who have distinguished themselves through their professional endeavors and exemplary services to society. Any living Muskingum graduate or former student is eligible to receive this award.
Bill P. Lovejoy '51
Bill Lovejoy graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. He was Sports Editor for The Black & Magenta and a member of the varsity football and baseball teams during his Muskie years. Born into a four-generation family of Ohio coal-miners, he became the first in his family to graduate from college. He enrolled at Muskingum following his World War II service in the United States Navy.
He completed a Master of Science degree in Geology at the University of New Mexico in 1958. His early career as a geologist for Shell Oil Company took him to New Mexico, Texas, and Oregon.
In 1972, Bill earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Zoology from Oregon State University and joined the faculty of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. After a distinguished 19-year teaching career, he retired from Georgia Southern as Professor Emeritus of Biology.
His late wife, Martha Johnson Lovejoy ’52, earned her Muskingum Bachelor of Science degree in Education and taught in the classrooms of New Mexico, Texas, Oregon, and Georgia. Bill and Martha’s impact as educators extends to their alma mater through their creation of Muskingum’s John Glenn Distinguished Lecture Series in Earth and Planetary Sciences, the Bill and Martha Johnson Lovejoy Endowed Chair in Biology, and the Bill and Martha Lovejoy Studio in Walter Hall.
Bill resides in Brevard, North Carolina and enjoys traveling, photography, and bird-watching.
Benjamin O. Shaver '50
Ben Shaver graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree and certification to teach Physical Education, Biology, and History. A World War II U.S. Army Medical Corps veteran, he spent 30 months overseas before enrolling at Muskingum. He also earned a Master of Education degree from Ohio University.
Ben began his career as a high school biology and history teacher before becoming Superintendent of four successively larger school districts including Alvordton, Millcreek-West Unity, Hillsdale Local, and Ashland County. Ben co-founded and served as President of the Ohio Association of Local School Superintendents and was also President of the Ohio County Superintendents Association. In each community, he coached basketball and baseball and was an active church and civic leader.
He later served for 10 years as Director of Member Services for Firelands Electric Cooperative, where he authored many articles of local interest, won multiple state awards, and became a charter member of the Washington, D.C.-based National Rural Electric Communicators Association.
Ben resides in Perrysburg, Ohio. He was married for more than 61 years to Alyce Cowan Shaver '49 (1926-2011) and are the parents of Karen Shaver Swinehart '73 and Barbara Shaver Christensen. Ben and Alyce traveled extensively, visiting six continents. They dedicated the Ben O. and Alyce Cowan Shaver Seminar Room in the Roberta A. Smith Library in honor of the “Muskingum family of professors, staff, and fellow students” and also created a named Muskingum scholarship.
James R. Woolard '64
Jim graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. He played basketball for the Muskies and was the first in his family to attend college. He earned a Master of Arts degree in History (1967) and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in History (1975) from The Ohio State University.
He served for three decades as the Director of Facilities Planning and Operations for the Newark, Ohio campus of The Ohio State University and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). He oversaw the construction of multiple buildings on the Newark campus as well as three COTC extended campuses.
A noted historian and author, Jim has published ten historical fiction novels, with many portraying life on the Ohio frontier. His work Thunder in the Valley was recognized by the Western Writers of America with the 1996 Medicine Pipe Award for Best First Novel and the 1996 Golden Spur Award for Best Original Paperback Novel. Several of his books, Ozark Red and Colorado Sam, were created for young teen readers. He also co-authored the 40th anniversary history of Central Ohio Technical College Celebrating the Journey: Central Ohio Technical College 1971-2011.
Jim resides in Newark, Ohio with his wife Nancy Messimer Woolard, a retired school teacher. They are the parents of James M. Woolard ’89 and Jason R. Woolard. He is active in his church, his community, and multiple historical societies.
IN THE PHOTO: Pictured from left to right are: Bill P. Lovejoy '51, James R. Woolard '64, President Susan Hasseler, and Benjamin O. Shaver '50.