About the Honoree
Dr. Violet Patton is an artist, educator, and philanthropist who has dedicated her life to education. She translated a background in the arts to a series of spelling, arithmetic, and etiquette textbooks for elementary school children that became the national standards and were adopted by many states. Violet also developed training programs for art teachers while at the Alliance and Wapakoneta school districts in Ohio, where one of her students was Neil Armstrong.
In 2010, she announced a $13.3 million gift to benefit arts education at Ohio University through the construction of a new Arts Education Center, as well as a $28 million gift to the College of Education, now named the The Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education. It was the largest gift to any college of education in Ohio, and the second-largest single gift to any college of education in the U.S. In 2019, just as Violet was celebrating her 103rd birthday, she increased her gift commitment by an additional $22 million.
“Dr. Patton gave Ohio University the greatest gift by placing her legacy and her parents’ names in our hands—a gift that will inspire Ohio University students, faculty, and staff for generations,” said Nico Karagosian, vice president, university advancement at Ohio University. “Her overwhelming generosity has forever changed the face of Ohio University and its students. The scope of her impact is immeasurable.”
About the Award
The James L. Fisher Award for Distinguished Service to Education celebrates individuals, organizations, foundations, corporations or publications for their extraordinary impact on education nationally or globally, beyond service to a single institution or state. Presented for more than 60 years, the award was renamed in 1986 in honor of CASE’s second president.