Unsung Hero awards were presented to 25 people who work to create a welcoming community.
Unsung Hero awards were presented to 25 people who work to create a welcoming community.

Unsung heroes recognized at Unity in the Community

Twenty-five members of the Miami University-Oxford-Butler County community were recognized at Miami’s Unity in the Community event Sept. 14.

They were presented with Unsung Hero awards to recognize their “tireless efforts on behalf of Miami students and Oxford that continuously make and help foster community at Miami.”

Unsung Hero awards were presented to officers, students and other members of the Miami community. The award recognized “officers working 40-hour weeks responding day in and day out providing safety and resources; students who cross the room to meet someone new and make them feel welcome; and staff, faculty and others who create a welcoming community,” said Coates.

Award recipients:

Law enforcement officers

  • Officer Pete Durkin, Oxford Police
  • Officer David Geiger, Oxford Township
  • Deputy Jody Green, Butler Co. Sheriff
  • Det. Michelle Hercules, MUPD
  • Dispatcher Kaitlyn Nethers, Butler Co. Sheriff’s Office
  • Corrections Sgt. Carol Seals, Butler Co. Sheriff’s Office

Faculty and Staff

  • Mary Jane Berman, CAWC
  • Jane Goettsch, women’s center
  • Janet Mullen, Student Success Center
  • Mike Curme, student affairs
  • Jenny Levering, student affairs
  • Jacqueline Rioja Velarde, CAWC
  • Ron Scott, institutional diversity
  • Buffy Stoll, new student programs
  • Cheryl Young, Global Initiatives


  • Chelsea Appiah
  • Chatrice Barnes
  • Christine Broda
  • Phillip Carr
  • Cecilia Minniear
  • Ifeolu Claytor
  • Tay Johnson
  • Chanell Upshaw
  • Penghui Xue
  • Jiajun Ye 

Rodney Coates, professor of global and intercultural studies and organizer of the event, presented the awards. Recipients were nominated by others in the community. “We should be convening these conversations as often as possible,” said Miami President Gregory Crawford, who addressed award recipients and attendees. “You are a positive catalyst for change in the world, and I appreciate your global mindset. Thank you on behalf of the university.”

More than 150 people attended. Representatives came from Miami, Oxford and Oxford Township police departments, the Butler County Sheriff’s office, Oxford city officials, the Oxford NAACP, and the League of Women Voters.

Students associated with the women's center, Global Initiatives, Panhellenic Association, National Pan-Hellenic Council, the Confucius Institute, Next Gen, Spectrum, first-year students, off-campus students, student athletes, the Black Student Action Association and student veteran groups, among others, were among those who attended.