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Brett Ellman, Kent State University physics professor and planetarium director, wants to create an appreciation for the universe, which he does through hosting free shows at Kent State’s planetarium.

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Helping Students Achieve Their Dreams at Regional Campuses

Posted April 18, 2011

Bookstore Manager Kathy Madison's connections to Kent State University at Ashtabula run deep.

regional feature Kathy Madison inside
Kathy Madison

Her grandfather laid bricks to help construct the building in which she's worked for 23 years. She and her husband, Richard, grew up down the street. And both she and her husband earned their associate degrees at Kent State Ashtabula.

Their education story echoes the experience of many Kent State students today. He worked at Reliance Electric while she worked at Rockwell International, and both were helped with financial support. For Richard, that was the G.I. Bill; for Kathy, it was tuition reimbursement from her employer.

"Like so many students I see every day, we struggled with working all day and attending classes in the evening," she says. "It took a while, but we both graduated with our degrees."

The financial assistance she received and her belief that education is the stepping stone for the many unemployed workers in the region are what drive her giving to the university's Faculty and Staff Campaign. Over the past five years, she's given nearly $1,500 to the campus' building fund through regular payroll deductions.

"This is why I give, because I see so much of my younger self — working, trying to study — with financial help from others to achieve my goal of a degree," she says. "As across Northeast Ohio, when our manufacturing companies closed, we were both prepared to get new jobs with our associate degrees from Kent State Ashtabula."

Kathy sees the university community as a family, and each day, in her role as bookstore manager, she works to keep students on track toward achieving their dream of graduating with a degree.

"For me, that is what giving is all about: Helping students to get jobs so they can continue the process of working and helping others," she says.

Join nearly 2,000 of your colleagues with a contribution to the Faculty and Staff Campaign, which continues through May 6. Like Kathy, you can make regular payroll deduction gifts that add up to significant yearly support. And you can direct your contribution to any campus, school, department or program at the university.

"There are different ways to give," Kathy says. "You can give of yourself, and you can give financially as a way of paying it forward. It is very rewarding to see how even a small contribution helps students succeed."

For more information or to make your gift or pledge, visit the campaign website at www.kent.edu/annualfund/facultystaff/.