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Grassbaugh wins diversity award for service to veterans

April 24, 2014 | Students

3L Jenna Grassbaugh was honored with the university’s Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award. The award recognizes three to five faculty, students, or staff from across the university who demonstrate a significant commitment to enhancing diversity at The Ohio State University.

Grassbaugh founded the Jonathan D. Grassbaugh Veterans Project in honor of her late husband.  Read more about Jenna and Jon and the Grassbaugh Project here.

“To each of us, this is a stirring story. But it is so much more,” said Professor Arthur Greenbaum in his nomination letter. “First, the project – and Jenna’s infectiously upbeat personality and commitment to it – has inspired her fellow law students to focus their efforts and talents to serve those persons with military and veteran status as part of the college’s diversity initiatives. The project “buzz” permeates the law school building, such that those Moritz law students who are themselves military veterans have experienced a heightened sense of respect, admiration, and gratitude from fellow students.”

Through the Grassbaugh Veterans Project, Moritz law students, under supervision from local attorneys, provide legal services to Central Ohio veterans.

“Captain Jenna Grassbaugh brought to this situation a unique combination of will, empathy and resources,” said Colonel Duncan D. Aukland, Ohio State Judge Advocate. “She saw a problem and had the will to lead others toward a solution. As a servicemember, military widow and law student, she empathized with the needs of servicemembers and veterans and their families. She synergized that empathy with the quite-practical desire of law students to get their hands around clients’ legal problems.”

This is the fifth year in a  row that the Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award has celebrated the Moritz community. In 2013, Nikki Trautman Baszynski ’13 was honored for her role in leading the initiative for the student group SPEAK.  In 2012, the student-led group OutLaws was recognized for its efforts in promoting awareness and understanding of legal issues affecting the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Professor Vincene Verdun was recognized in 2011, and Professor Kathy Northern in 2010. Previous winners include Professor Deborah Merritt (2004), the Black Law Students Association (2003), Professor Ruth Colker (2002), and the college itself in 1983.