Gabrielle Davis, James R. Findlay and Dr. Richard Ruppert received Jefferson Awards earlier this month in honor of their community work.
They will be the city of Toledo’s nominees for the national award. Their names will be sent to the American Institute for Public Services, and one will be invited to the National Jefferson Awards dinner in Washington, D.C.
Davis, UT clinical professor of law, is the director of the College of Law’s Domestic Violence Clinic, which offers legal assistance to low-income and minority victims of intimate partner violence. She has secured civil protection orders, provided pro bono legal representation in court, conducted safety planning and advocacy, and led a number of community and court-based research projects.
In 2006, Davis and the Domestic Violence Clinic received a $197,446 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a yearlong study on domestic violence-related deaths in the region. The research revealed deaths from domestic violence tripled in northwest Ohio from 2003 to 2006, and domestic violence was the No. 1 cause of local murders in 2007.
Her published research has been cited in journals, law texts and government reports. Her grant proposals have raised funds to maintain operations at the Domestic Violence Clinic and research victim access to the local court system.
As a member of various boards, Davis has provided leadership to other anti-violence initiatives, including the Bethany House in Lucas County, the Cocoon Shelter in Wood County and the Take Back the Night Collective.
Findlay is the founder of Findlay Family Limited Partnership and Ad Sensations, and the co-founder of Impact Products, Canberra Corp. and Fresh Products. He graduated from UT’s College of Business Administration in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management. He received an honorary doctorate from UT in 2002.
The well-known philanthropist co-chaired a capital campaign that raised $3 million for the Flower Hospital Hickman Cancer Center, and he has supported dozens of local organizations, including Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Mom’s House, United Way and the Toledo Museum of Art.
Findlay is a longtime supporter of UT, particularly in the areas of athletics and the College of Business Administration. He and his late wife, Celia Koontz Findlay, created endowed scholarships for UT business and education students.
His University affiliations have included former member and chair of the UT Foundation Board of Trustees, former member and president of the UT Alumni Association, advisory committee member and chairman emeritus for the UT Center for Family Business, board member of the UT National Center for Parents, and member and past president of UT Downtown Coaches.
Findlay is a past recipient of the UT Alumni Association’s Gold “T” Award as well as the Blue “T” Award, Pacemaker of the Year Award, Mayor’s Community Award and Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Ruppert, a native of Franklin, Ohio, served as the third president of the former Medical College of Ohio from 1977 until his retirement in 1993, the longest tenure of any MCO president. Before that, he was vice chancellor for health affairs of the Ohio Board of Regents.
He is credited with completing the MCO campus master plan of buildings and with growing and strengthening the college’s health education, research and patient-care programs.
A past president of the Ohio Society of Internal Medicine, Ruppert later served as president of the 26,000-member American Society of Internal Medicine.
In 1993, MCO named its $11 million outpatient facility after him, and he received an honorary degree of science that year from Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Rootstown. He was awarded an honorary degree from MCO in 1998.
Ruppert did not confine his interests to medicine and medical education. He was a leader in civic activities in Toledo. In 1991, he was chairman of the United Way of Greater Toledo fund drive and was a member of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority from 1989 to 1999. He served as president of the Ohio Historical Society from 2006 to 2008. And he supervised development of the International Park Rotary Trail along the Maumee River and led the charge to raise state and private funds to build the Fort Meigs Visitor Center.
Two of the city of Toledo’s finalists for the Jefferson Award were from UT: Dr. Richard Baron, assistant professor of psychiatry, and Dr. David Krol, associate professor and chair of pediatrics.