The College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University has presented Gwendolyn S. O’Neal, of Greensboro, N.C., with the 2014 Alumni Award of Distinction.
O’Neal is professor and chair of the Department of Consumer, Apparel and Retail Studies (CARS) at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She received a PhD in textiles and clothing from Ohio State in 1977. O’Neal will be retiring from UNCG this year.
The Award of Distinction is presented to alumni who made a difference in the lives of others through outstanding professional, personal or community contributions.
A nominator wrote, “She has never been afraid to move the discipline forward, such as addressing the gap in our knowledge of dress and aesthetics among African-Americans, as well as being among the first to employ interpretive research methods.”
At a time when women of color faced resistance, O’Neal built a brilliant academic career. She was the first African American to be tenured in human ecology at Ohio State and the first to head a department at Kansas State University.