2023 Oxford Citizen of the Years: Dr. Ann Wengler

Dr. Ann Wengler, a Learning Disabilities Coordinator at Miami University, is recognized for many years of service to a variety of Oxford community activities. Her two most visible long-time community contributions are as Chair of the Education and Family/Community Involvement Committee of the Oxford Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and as a co-planner of Oxford’s annual Empty Bowls luncheon.

Dr. Wengler has served as co-planner of the annual Oxford Empty Bowls event for many years, along with Connie Malone and Alice Laatsch, who have both been recognized in previous years as Citizen of the Years. Oxford Empty Bowls is a benefit soup luncheon held annually to help fight hunger in the community through raising funds for local hunger relief and increasing awareness of food security issues.

Dr. Ann Fuehrer, who nominated Dr. Wengler, cited three specific contributions to the Oxford community through her leadership role at Oxford NAACP:

  • Planner and host of the celebration honoring the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which includes an exhibit of the visual and literary art work of hundreds of local children expressing their feelings about the inspiration of Dr. King, and other civil rights activists.
  • Recruitment of nominations for Diversity Educator of the Year in the Talawanda School District and McGuffey Montessori School; the award honors a school employee who promotes equality and fairness, demonstrates appreciation for diversity, exemplifies acceptance of all people, and challenges others to broaden their perspectives.
  • Coordination of youth activities at the annual UniDiversity Festival, in conjunction with the National Hispanic Latino American Heritage Month; the Uptown Oxford Festival offers Latin American culture, food and music.

Dr. Fuehrer writes, “Ann’s commitment to racial justice and diversity is clear in her planning of each of these three events each year.”

According to Dr. Fuehrer (recognized last year as Oxford Citizen of the Year), “The model I use for thinking about who might qualify for this award is someone who is likely accomplished in a professional setting, and then brings that expertise and personal commitment to volunteer roles in several organizations whose mission is to promote basic human rights and justice for the most vulnerable members of our community. This is a model that Ann [Wengler] does, indeed, exemplify.”

Dr. Wengler’s contribution to the Oxford community will be continuing. For example, in 2023 she joined the Oxford Area Solutions for Housing team, which is addressing resource gaps for individuals in the Oxford area who are unhoused.