May 31, 2012

Ohio Association of Community Colleges Honors Owens Alumnus Walter Celley With State Award

OACC Alumnus Award

Owens Board of Trustees member Dr. Ronald McMaster (L to R), Owens Interim President John Satkowski, Walter Celley and Owens Board of Trustees Chair Dee Talmage pose for photo following OACC's annual Excellence Awards Gala.

PERRYSBURG TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Owens Community College alumnus Walter Celley of Perrysburg has been chosen by the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his outstanding commitment to the local community and higher education.

Celley was recently honored for his exemplary efforts to Ohio’s community colleges during the OACC’s annual Excellence Awards Gala in Columbus. The Excellence Awards were established by the OACC with the overall goal of providing an opportunity for the state’s 23 community colleges to honor individuals and organizations for their exemplary contributions.

“As an alumnus of Owens Community College, Walter Celley personifies the level of excellence associated with the OACC’s Distinguished Alumnus Award,” said Dr. Ronald Abrams, President of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, which presents the annual award as part of the organization’s Excellence Awards. “Walter followed up stellar academic careers at Owens and Bowling Green State University to go on and graduate from the University of Toledo’s law school magna cum laude before pursuing a distinguished career in the law and exemplary service to the community.”

The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented annually to a deserving alumnus of one of Ohio’s 23 community colleges who has, throughout the course of their life, demonstrated a passionate level of commitment to the local community and higher education. Since first being presented in 1995, numerous individuals who embody the core principles of this award have been recognized for their ongoing efforts to advance the mission of community colleges. These recipients are passionate about their work, and give generously of both their time and resources.

Celley earned his associate’s degree in agri-business management from Owens in 1976. Prior to obtaining his associate’s degree, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University. In 1987, Celley received his juris doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law.

His professional achievements include a longstanding career of over 25 years as a practicing attorney representing several communities in Northwest Ohio. Following graduation from law school, Celley served as a Judicial Law Clerk to U.S. District Judge John W. Potter before entering private practice in 1989. He is a member of the Federal Bar Association, Ohio State Bar Association, the Toledo Bar Association and the Wood County Bar Association. Celley also holds appointments as Law Director for Waterville and Monclova townships in Lucas County and Perrysburg Township in Wood County.

Active in community and civic affairs, Celley has been a member with the Perrysburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Perrysburg Rotary Club for nearly 20 years. He has held numerous leadership positions in the Perrysburg Rotary Club to include chairing the organization’s STRIVE (Students Taking a Renewed Interest in the Value of Education) scholarship program. In 2009, Celley was instrumental in establishing the Perrysburg Rotary Service Foundation Endowed Scholarship Fund through the Owens Community College Foundation. He is also a serves as an Owens Alumni Association Board Director.

His past community service involvement includes serving as a Trustee of the Perrysburg Schools Foundation, a Perrysburg Schools volunteer, a former Director of the Wood County Regional Airport Authority and Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 101 in Waterville.

In 2010, Celley was named of the recipient of the Friend of Education Award from the Ohio Chapter of the National School Public Relations Association, an honor for which he was nominated by Penta Career Center.

The OACC was founded with the overall mission of advancing and implementing initiatives that work to ensure the success of the more than 300,000 community college students in Ohio. Rooted in the belief that every person should have access to a high quality college education, the OACC supports the mission of the state’s 23 community colleges to provide programming in technical education, lower-division baccalaureate education, developmental education and continuing education in the local communities.

Owens Community College is an accredited two-year, state-assisted institution of higher education that has served Northwest Ohio since 1965. With a commitment to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability, the College serves the diverse academic needs of credit and non-credit students on the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, as well as at the Arrowhead Park Learning Center in Maumee and the Learning Center at The Source in downtown Toledo. Owens offers associate degrees that transfer to baccalaureate degrees in the Arts and Sciences and over 130 technical program areas in Agriculture, Business, Health Sciences, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Skilled Trades, and Engineering and Transportation Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor’s degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university. For more information, visit