Year Inducted: 

Herbert OckermanHerbert Ockerman was born in Chaplin in 1932 and came to the University of Kentucky to play football under legendary coach Paul “Bear” Bryant in 1950. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for the world, an injury changed those plans.

Ockerman went on to receive his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science in the UK College of Agriculture and his doctorate from North Carolina State University. His professional career has been spent at Ohio State University where he continues to teach today. His alumni, scattered across every continent except Antarctica, include secretaries of agriculture, university presidents, deans, department chairs and directors of research institutes.

Ockerman introduces American students to diverse cultures through study abroad. He is also dedicated to helping international students and has been advisor to 95 graduate students from 35 counties and 86 post-doctorate and visiting scholars from 24 countries. Every Thanksgiving, Ockerman serves Thanksgiving meals to students who cannot go home; many are international students.  In 2010, he received the Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award from Ohio State.

During a trip to Brazil, he noticed something was missing from the classrooms – books. This began a philanthropic effort that continues today - the Frances J. Ockerman International Book Endowment. The endowment is named in honor of his late wife who introduced him to the concept that the world is your classroom.

Ockerman collects and distributes books to libraries throughout the world. To date those donations have an estimated value of more than $850 million and total more than 1,500 separate shipments to more than 350 global destinations. He began visiting three bookstores a day, purchasing mostly used books and ones that would fit into a school or university library. He also gets donations but buys many of them himself. The books include all scholarly areas.  He cleans and packs the books in this garage- a four hour a day labor of love.  To load the cargo containers he calls on students, neighbors and anyone willing to help. Cavite State University in the Philippines was so grateful for his gifts it named its library Ockerman Hall in 2008. He also donates to schools in the United States including Boone County High School in Kentucky.

Also in memory of his wife, Ockerman created the Frances J. Ockerman International Award at Ohio State and UK. The award is presented to the faculty or staff member, spouse or community member who has befriended international students.

Ockerman has more than 2,000 publications to his credit and consults in such far-away places as India, Poland, China and Argentina. He has received multiple state, national and international awards such as the Badge of Merit for Service in Agriculture from the Polish government, Professor Award from National Chung Hsing University and Pintung Agriculture College, Republic of China; Special Recognition from Spain and Argentina; Animal Science Award in International Agriculture from France; the American Society of Animal Science international Award  and UK Distinguished Alumnus.