B.F.A., Denison University
Citation awarded May, 2015
Nancy Petro had a career as richly varied as a Denison liberal arts education. Yet in retirement she believes she’s discovered her most rewarding work, as a writer and advocate.
Nancy taught both junior high and undergraduate art; operated a graphic design firm in Cleveland for nearly 20 years; founded and published All-Stater Sports, a national high school sports magazine; and, served as CEO of sports statistics company Digital Scout before retiring in 2006.
She was also active in the political career of her husband Jim Petro ’70. His service as Ohio Attorney General introduced the Petros to the tragedy of wrongful conviction, which prompted Nancy to research and write about miscarriages of justice.
Nancy and Jim co-authored False Justice: Eight Myths that Convict the Innocent (Kaplan 2011), which garnered a Constitutional Commentary Award (The Constitution Project) and the Justice for All Media Award (Northern California Innocence Project). Peking University Press published the book in Chinese in 2012 and textbook publisher Routledge released a revised edition in 2014.
The Petros advocate rethinking criminal justice in print, online, and in presentations. They’ve presented at the Denison gathering in Naples, Florida, and on Denison’s campus. Nancy is a contributing editor of “The Wrongful Convictions Blog,” edited by University of Cincinnati Law Professor, Ohio Innocence Project Director Mark Godsey. She serves on the advisory board of the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan School of Law. The Registry “provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989.”
At Denison, Nancy was a junior advisor, president of Mortar Board, a Delta Gamma, and a Phi Beta Kappa. She cherishes Denison friends including her enduring friendship with her design instructor, the late Mary K Campbell ’36, Professor of Art.
Nancy has been a volunteer for Denison, her church, and her community. She served on the Denison Alumni Council, as an alumni-nominated member of the Board of Trustees, on Annual Fund campaigns, reunion committees, and as an Organizational Studies presenter.
Nancy and Jim are parents of John Petro ’99 and Corbin Petro- Gelman and grandparents of toddlers Joshua Petro and Rees Petro-Gelman.