CSRAB announces 2020 Great Ohioan award winners

COLUMBUS — The Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board and the Capitol Square Foundation have announced the recipients of the 2020 “Great Ohioan Award.”

The 2020 honorees were presented by the Capitol Square Foundation and unanimously approved by the CSRAB recently at the Board’s first meeting of 2020, according to a release from the CSRAB. The individuals were selected from nominations submitted by citizens and organizations from across Ohio, the release states.

The 2020 Great Ohioan awardees are Ephraim Cutler and the first women elected to the Ohio legislature, it states.

Cutler, an early Ohio political leader opposing slavery and favoring state schools, was a pioneer and the first librarian of the Coonskin Library.

Ohio’s first women legislators, elected in 1922, include these Ohio Representatives, according to the release: Nettie McKenzie Clapp from Cuyahoga County, the first woman legislator to sponsor a bill that was enacted into law; Lulu Thomas Gleason from Lucas County, most noted for her campaign being managed entirely by women and being backed by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union; Adelaide Sterling Ott from Mahoning County, who served three terms in the Ohio House and was the first woman member of the House to preside over that body when she asked by the Speaker to occupy temporarily the chair during a session; and May Martin Van Wye, a member of the House and Senate from Hamilton County who served in the House for three terms and in the Senate for one term.

Serving in the Ohio Senate were Nettie Bromley Loughead of Hamilton County, the first woman to receive a nomination to run for state Senate and the first to introduce a bill, and Maude Comstock Waitt, a Cuyahoga County resident who served four terms in the Ohio Senate, the release states.

“In recognition of the Centennial of the Women’s Suffrage movement we honor the first six women elected to the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate in 1922,” Capitol Square Foundation Chairman Charles Moses is quoted saying in the release. “These groundbreaking women set an example for women everywhere to be truly part of representative government.”

Moses added in the release, “Ephraim Cutler’s role in shaping Ohio’s Constitution in 1802 set the course for the prohibition of slavery in the United States. Among his many accomplishments, through his work, Ohio became the first state to prohibit slavery.”

The Great Ohioan Award commemorates Ohioans who have played a significant role in an event or series of events of lasting significance in world, American or Ohio history, the release states. To be selected for the Great Ohioan Award, the nominee must have resided in Ohio for a minimum of five years, it states. In addition, at least 25 years must have passed since the event in which the nominee participated is being commemorated, it states.

Since 2003, 51 Great Ohioans have been recognized with the award for the special roles they played in history, according to the release.

Great Ohioan honorees and their achievements are archived in a permanent Great Ohioan exhibit, which is part of the Ohio Statehouse Museum, the release states. This 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, it states. The exhibit uses videos, photos, facts and web based technology to explore the life and legacy of each Great Ohioan, it states.