COLUMBUS – The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Society of The Ohio State University announced that Larry Lokai will receive its 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award at an Alumni Awards Luncheon on March 5.
Lokai started his teaching career at Northwestern-Clark High School in Springfield in 1967. In 1985 he was recognized as Ohio Vocational Teacher of the Year. For the 1989-1990 school year he taught at EHOVE Career Center in Milan and was named Ohio Agri-Business Teacher of the Year. The following year he moved to Keystone High School in LaGrange, where he stayed until retirement. While teaching he also served as a field inspector for the Ohio Seed Improvement Association and an instructor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife, both positions continuing beyond his retirement from teaching. After retirement he spent time as an adjunct instructor at Ohio State coaching the poultry team and as an adjunct instructor at Clark State Community College.
Since 1998 many people have come to know Lokai as his alter-ego “Buckeyeman.” Donning a wig, face paint, OSU apparel and multiple buckeye necklaces, he averages over 100 days involved with events and activities. He has given away over 1,300,000 buckeyes, 36,000 buckeye necklaces and 1,200 buckeye seedlings.
Lokai earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio State in Agricultural Education. He holds membership in five OSU Alumni Clubs and Societies – Farm Science Review Society, CFAES Alumni Society, Greater Detroit Alumni Club, Champaign County Alumni Club, Greene County Alumni Club (on the scholarship committee since 2009) and the Franklin County Alumni Club (president in 2003 and made Honorary Life Member in 2010). He is a life member of the OSU Alumni Association.
In 2003 he was elected to the Urbana City Council and was re-elected twice. He retired from the council in June of 2013.
Lokai and his wife, Elaine Caldwell-Lokai, live in Urbana. They are the parents of Shelly Gier, Susan Farr, Brad Lokai and Amy Denlinger.