A former president and an author are the newest Great Ohioans.

Former President William McKinley and Virginia Hamilton, an author, educator and philanthropist, were selected Thursday for the Great Ohioan Award by the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board and the Capitol Square Foundation.

They join 39 others who have been honored since 2003. The honorees must have lived in Ohio for five years and have had a significant impact on Ohio, American or world history.

"Through their accomplishments, each Great Ohioan has changed the trajectory of the state of Ohio, the United States and the world. We hope that every Statehouse visitor is inspired by the life and accomplishments of each one of the men and women who have been recognized with this honor," Capitol Square Foundation Chairman Charles Moses said in a statement.

McKinley was born in Niles in 1843. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a private and climbed to the rank of brevet major by the time the war ended. He was elected to Congress at age 34 and in a 14-year career became the leading Republican expert on the tariff.

In 1891, he was elected Ohio governor and won the presidency in 1896. He led the nation into war with Spain in the Philippines and Cuba. McKinley was assassinated in 1901 and succeeded by his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt

Virginia Hamilton was born in 1934 in Yellow Springs in southwestern Ohio, a region to which her grandfather came as an infant on the Underground Railroad.

Hamilton wrote in a variety of genres, but she was "America's most honored writer of children's literature," a website devoted to her work says. She died of breast cancer in 2002.

Marty Schladen is a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch.