State auditor receives award

Jo Ann Schultz and Jo Ann Schultz

Last night in the Lenhart Grand Ballroom, the University’s Women’s Center and Alumni Association presented the 2002 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Betty Montgomery, Ohio’s first female Auditor of State.

The theme this month for the Women’s Study Program is celebrating women’s triumphs and Betty Montgomery is no stranger to triumphs. She started off at the University by earning her Liberal Arts degree in 1970. She said, “I think the world of BGSU,” and the university reflects values. After BGSU she went on to the College of Law at the University of Toledo to earn her law degree in 1976.

In 1980 she made history for the first time in her career when she was elected as the only female prosecutor in the State of Ohio. She went on to become a state senator, which gave her authorization to give legislation to Ohio’s first living will law, its first brownsfields law and victims’ rights legislation.

Her history-making streak continued when she became the first female attorney general for the state of Ohio. Last fall, she became Ohio’s first female Auditor of State, which is her current position.

From her personal experiences, Montgomery has learned many lessons that have made her career as successful as it is. “

“Along the way, I’ve learned that tenacity, humor, never being afraid of working as hard as you can, never taking yourself too seriously is important, ” Montgomery said.

The philosophy Montgomery has gone by for so many years to help her achieve her many accomplishments is simple.

“Each of your obligations is to keep an open door behind you, because someone held the door for you,” she said.

Montgomery feels that right now we are going a little backward. The role of women legislators across the country has seen a decline compared to previous years.

Another thing Montgomery has also learned about women is that when they have gone to recruit women, the most common responses are, they are not qualified or they do not have the time.

Recognizing opportunity and taking the risk of seizing that opportunity when it knocks is what took Montgomery to where she is today, she explained.

She said, “If people have faith in you, you have to have faith in yourself. At some point, your job is to recognize an opportunity and as a woman, not be afraid to take it,” she said.

She also credits her family for giving her great balance and added, “I’ve been blessed of never having a job I didn’t love.”

When asked what she thought of the speech,Jill Brandt, senior, said, “I thought it was inspirational for women students.”