ST. CLAIRSVILLE - The Eastern Ohio Alumni Chapter of Ohio University has chosen Denise M. Penz as the 2017 Austin C. Furbee Award honoree, in recognition of her dedication and contribution to Ohio University and the community. An award dinner will be held in her honor on Wednesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at Belmont Hills Country Club in St. Clairsville. A reception will precede the award dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Denise began her banking career in 1996 after serving with distinction in the United States Navy. She started at Belmont National Bank, gaining experience in trust administration and trust audit before she was provided the opportunity to lead the trust and investment division for BNB.

Through two acquisitions, Denise continued to lead the regional wealth division for Sky Bank and Huntington Bank until 2008. She then became a principal with a private equity group, and subsequently raised $17.5 million to acquire a controlling interest in Ohio Legacy Corporation and Ohio Legacy Bank, which became Premier Bank & Trust.

In February 2010, Denise was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Premier Bank & Trust. In this position, she led all areas of wealth management including trust, private banking, retirement plan services, and brokerage and investment services. She also oversaw retail banking, mortgage lending, marketing, human resources, and the sales support areas of the bank. Recently, Premier merged with Home Savings Bank and Denise was named the Director of Wealth Management.

Denise is very active in the banking industry and in the local community. She is a member of the board of MainStreet Advisors, and Ohio Bankers League. She also serves as a member of the board of trustees of the YWCA, member of The Women's Giving Circle, member of Women's Impact, board member of the Development Advisory Board for Ohio University Eastern, and as President of the Ohio Valley Chapter of A Special Wish Foundation. She is past president of the Wheeling Country Day School Board of Trustees, having served in that office for eight years.

According to Eastern Campus Dean Paul Abraham, Denise has been a key contributor to the success of OUE's recent development initiatives. "Denise has been a champion on our community foundation board for the last several years and has played a significant role in the development of our 60th Anniversary Campaign and upcoming Gala. Through her leadership, Home Savings provided a significant early scholarship donation for our 60th Anniversary Fund that will benefit local students for many years to come. Needless to say, her selection for the Austin C. Furbee Award is a well-deserved recognition of her many contributions to Ohio University, the community, and region."

Denise and her husband Karl reside in Wheeling, WV and enjoy volunteering and outdoor activities. Their daughter Alexis attended Wheeling Country Day School and graduated from the Linsly School. She attended Winthrop University and achieved her BA in Early intervention. She resides in Rock Hill, SC. and works as the Special Development Coordinator and Head Lead pre-school teacher at Kids Are Kids Academy.

Austin C. Furbee, for whom the award is named, played a key role in the formation of the Ohio University Eastern Campus. While serving as a Belmont County Commissioner, Furbee realized that there were limited opportunities for higher education in the Ohio Valley. As a result, he became instrumental in the commission's acquisition of the former Belmont County Experimental Station farmland, which was to become a regional campus of Ohio University.

Furbee's involvement with Ohio University grew throughout the years. He was a long-time member of the Ohio University Eastern Regional Coordinating Council, and also presided as chairman of the council when Shannon Hall, the first building on the St. Clairsville campus, was dedicated in 1967. As a result of Furbee's efforts, the Eastern Campus has continued to grow, and serve the needs of the community. Ohio University's Eastern Campus stands as a tribute to his vision, determination and hard work.

The Austin C. Furbee award was first given in 1981 after Furbee's wife, Gladys, established an endowed fund in memory of her husband. The award is given annually to recognize an individual who has shown dedication, commitment and service to Ohio University and to the community.

Previous Austin C. Furbee Award Recipients: Mary J. Poston, Dr. Robert J. Parrish, Carole A. Mitchell, Thomas W. Dunlap, Robert Crum, Roger W. Stewart, James Kacsmar, Charles Wilson, Karen Nichols, Robert W. Ney, Dr. E.R. Bovenizer, Marshall Piccin, William L. Toothman, Elizabeth Sproull, Harry W. White, Michael Jamison, George A. Carroll, Jr., James W. Newton, Jr., Daniel L. Frizzi, Jr., Michael McTeague, MaryLou Goodman, John Bisbocci, Terry A. Lee, Dama Burkhart, Dennis Fox, David Brooks, Keith A. Sommer, Richard W. Greenlee, Dr. John S. Mattox.

Alumni and friends are invited to attend the Austin C. Furbee Award Dinner in Denise Penz's honor on Wednesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at Belmont Hills Country Club. A reception will precede the award dinner at 6:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $40 per person, and reservations are required by May 10 by calling 740-699-2494.