To recognize outstanding achievement and vision in electronic communications technology

2003-carol-ratza-scholarshipKevin Bennardo, a senior at Miami University of Ohio, is the recipient of the 2003 Carol A. Ratza Memorial Scholarship. Bennardo is pursuing a dual major in mass communications and political science.

His winning essay addressed the alteration and destruction of sand dunes along the shores of the Great Lakes. “I believe that a lot of the damage to dunes is due to people not fully understanding the damage they’re causing,” Bennardo wrote.

Michigan, for example, has more than 275,000 acres of sand dunes on the shores of lakes Michigan, Superior, Huron and Erie, but only 70,000 of the acres are protected as designated critical areas. Bennardo proposed ways of using current communications technologies to enumerate the many attributes of dunes, educate the public on ways to minimize damage, and create a coalition to advocate for dunes preservation.

Bennardo’s post-graduation plans include pursuing an advanced degree in mass communications, furthering research in the field and teaching.

About the Carol A. Ratza Memorial Scholarship 
The scholarship is in memory of Carol A. Ratza, a veteran employee of the Great Lakes Commission and a dedicated advocate for the protection of the Great Lakes. With unique vision, Carol created and led numerous influential communications projects, the most notable being the Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) and the Great Lakes Regional Air Toxic Emissions Inventory. These groundbreaking initiatives applied the latest information technology to Commission priorities, changing forever the way our region communicates and does business.

Although Carol’s career was cut short by her death in 1997, the Great Lakes Commission, and the region as a whole, continues to benefit from her creative thinking, high standards and human grace.

Questions and comments about the Carol A. Ratza Memorial Scholarship can be directed to Commission President/CEO Michael J. Donahue at