The Tressel family will have something to look forward to amidst the dark cloud that surrounds Ohio State coach Jim Tressel’s five-game suspension this football season.
The coach’s wife, Ellen Tressel, was recognized for an OSU honor on Sunday during the university’s winter commencement.
Ellen was presented with a Distinguished Service Award for her work within the university and in the community.
The announcement came on Thursday, the same day Jim asked OSU for an increased suspension to equal his players’ violations, moving his suspended game total from two to five.
According to OSU’s University Awards and Recognitions website, the Distinguished Service Award was established to honor individuals who provide outstanding service to the university.
The Board of Trustees, who presented the award to Ellen, makes the approval on who wins the honor.
Ellen was approved for the award one year ago, assistant director of media relations Liz Cook said in an e-mail.
Ellen had a powerful role in the renovations of the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, by working as co-chair with her husband, according to a press release from OSU.
Cory Wechter, a second-year in graphic design, said he enjoys seeing the Tressels create a bridge between athletics and other parts of the university.
“You don’t hear about too many other coaches and their wives giving that kind of support to their university,” Wechter said.
Ellen also supported the James Cancer Center and Solove Research Insitute, where she is on the board of The Tressel Family Fund.
Exectutive Director of The James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute Steve Chaykowski said he believes Ellen’s work with the foundation contributed to her nomination for the award.
“She’s a great board member and really wants to help us win this war on cancer,” Chaykowski said.
The Tressel Family Fund supports cancer education and fundraising for the new cancer hospital. The foundation was set up to raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it, Chaykowski said.
Anthony Camela, a first-year in biology, said he is glad Ellen received an award on behalf of her help with cancer awareness and said he finds the James to be an excellent area of support at OSU.
“I’ve had a lot of relatives that have had cancer,” Camela said. “It is great that she helps with awareness and prevention.”
Ellen raises cancer awareness, educates the community on cancer screenings and helps fundraising, Chaykowski said.
“She’s been a wonderful volunteer for the James. She’s helping out in a variety of ways,” Chaykowski said. “From accepting checks for people who want to donate to the James, to introducing us to people, to talking about Tressel Fund and the difference that it makes.”
The OSU Board of Trustees established The Distinguished Service Award in 1952, and honors are given out at every commencement.
Ellen was the only recipient of this award at Winter Commencement.
“It’s great that we can see amazing things from both coach Tressel and Mrs. Tressel,” said Jon Brown, a second-year in classics. “It’s nice she is doing great things at the hospital and in the community.”
Neither Ellen nor Jim Tressel was available for comment.