Briefing Room


Remembering Voinovich ’61

June 13, 2016 | Alumni

Former U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich ’61 passed away on June 12. He was 79. Over the course of his long and successful career, Voinovich served two terms as governor of Ohio and two terms as a member of the United States Senate representing the State of Ohio. He was mayor of Cleveland during a tumultuous time for the city, and served in the Ohio House of Representatives, as Cuyahoga County auditor, and a Cuyahoga County commissioner. His 46 years in public service began in 1963 when he joined the office of the Ohio Attorney General.

“Senator Voinovich was an extraordinary public servant who made our law school so very proud over the course of his remarkable career,” said Alan C. Michaels, dean and the Edwin M. Cooperman Chair in Law at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. “He often told me that he went into public service to make a difference, and he never lost that focus. He believed that listening, compromise, and treating others with respect were critical to success in making that difference, and his conduct always backed up those words. All of us at Ohio State are deeply saddened by his passing and so grateful for his many decades of service.”

In his 2004 reelection to the Senate, Voinovich won the largest amount of votes of any Ohio Senate race in history, capturing all 88 Ohio counties and 64 percent of the votes.

“Senator Voinovich advanced the cause of good government through his decades of elected service and his support of higher education for civil servants,” said Trevor Brown, dean of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State.  “The Voinovich School Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University is a lasting legacy of Senator Voinovich’s commitment to professionalizing and educating public leaders and servants.”

Throughout his public service, Voinovich was well-known as a fiscal conservative, balancing budgets at multiple levels of government. He also consistently crossed the aisle to work with democrats on environmental issues affecting the Great Lakes, LGBTQ rights, and gun control.

“[Voinovich] was a unifier who thought outside the box, never gave up and worked hard for the ideas he believed in up until the very end of his life. Thanks to that leadership he saved Cleveland, governed Ohio compassionately and responsibly, and was a candid voice for reason in the U.S. Senate. I am proud to have known him and grateful for what he did for our state and nation,” said current Ohio Gov. John Kasich in a statement on Voinovich’s passing.

Voinovich sat down with All Rise in 2011 for an in-depth interview about his long and successful career. To read more about the life of the former governor, click here.

To read more about reactions of fellow politicians and leaders throughout the state on the news of his sudden passing, see The Columbus Dispatch’s article here.