2015 Generosity Report Cover Image

The Critical Importance of Private Support

President Beverly WarrenYour giving, through the Kent State University Foundation, provides support that not only sustains but elevates us.

We are extraordinarily gratified that you not only believe in our community, but have invested in it. In the past year, your new commitments to our students, faculty and staff have reached almost $30 million — with a significant portion dedicated to student scholarships.

Student success continues to drive our work as the top priority for Kent State — and your contributions help us achieve our goals in this area. We are now focused on executing our new university vision, which states we will be "a community of change agents whose collective commitment to learning sparks epic thinking, meaningful voice, and invaluable outcomes to better our society."

You — our supporters — are essential to helping us achieve our vision. It is no secret that in this time of reduced public support, philanthropy support plays a critical role. Your gifts have funded scholarships, professorships, leading-edge academic and athletic programs and 21st-century learning facilities — allowing us to achieve excellence and impact every aspect of the education of our students.

Thanks to your generosity, our students are dreaming about and attaining greatness. I am deeply grateful for your continued involvement in the life of Kent State University.

Beverly J. Warren
President, Kent State University

Building A Bold Future

Gary BrahlerHigher education is society’s greatest transformation agent, and the Kent State University Foundation is the way we build and sustain a vibrant future for our students. To ensure financial stability and long-term growth, the Foundation is committed to supporting scholarships, programs and capital projects that lead to successful academic progress, and expand our outreach as a destination university for the next generation of students.

In 2015, the Foundation is celebrating 50 years of service to Kent State, supporting the university’s mission and vision of excellence, enriching the learning experience and ensuring success for every student. Your gifts make that possible.

I’m proud to be able to play a role in the future of this great university, and you should be as well. Thank you.

Gary L. Brahler, ’89
Chair, Kent State University Foundation Board




Our ongoing capital campaign, Foundations of Excellence – Building the Future, has resulted in one of the most exciting transformations in university history. Thanks to your commitment and support, the construction of new buildings, upgrades to facilities, and the establishment of dynamic, new spaces are in progress that will create the most outstanding academic experience for the entire Kent State community.

Aeronautics and Technology Building

Already completed as part of this vision for the future is the Aeronautics and Technology Building, a new facility for the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology that opened this year.



Center for Visual ArtsThe finishing touches are being completed on a new Center for the Visual Arts.




Center for Architecture and Environmental DesignIn addition, the spectacular Center for Architecture and Environmental Design is well underway along the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade, located prominently at the main entrance to campus.


Ground has also been broken for the Integrated Sciences Building, which is part of a comprehensive Science Mall installation — a corridor of facilities that will bring new energy to our science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, sparking new educational and research achievements.


Porthouse TheatreFor many in Northeast Ohio, summer wouldn’t be complete without taking in the season at Porthouse Theatre, the region’s premier outdoor theatre. It’s also fertile training ground for students studying in the School of Theatre and Dance. For the acclaimed program’s 50th anniversary, The Gregory Hackett Family Foundation has provided seed money for a matching gift toward a $1 million campaign that will support renovations and new construction at Porthouse to expand patron services. This year, audience members experienced a new, upgraded box office provided by the campaign, with more innovations to come.



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Study AbroadSpecial purpose gifts add to the richness of students' experience at Kent State. Fulfilling our donors' philanthropic visions, these gifts provide research funding, visiting artist and lecture experiences and study-abroad opportunities, among others. Our donors' dreams soon become our students' realities.




Great Lakes College Ready GrantThe insurance industry is poised for strong growth in Ohio and across the country, offering graduates in the field healthy employment opportunities. A gift from Westfield Insurance has established an insurance education endowment that supports the Bachelor of Science in Insurance Studies degree program at the Salem Campus, and helps promote careers within the industry. The Westfield Insurance Campus Tour Center, named as part of the gift, is located in the Kent Student Center and hosts potential students, parents and other visitors to the Kent Campus, making their first impression of Kent State an enjoyable and memorable one.

At-risk high school students can thrive at Kent State — but first, some need help preparing for the rigors of a university education. Through the College Ready Grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp., these students will receive extra educational services to help them reach college readiness benchmarks in math and English, and earn college credit over the course of their junior and senior years in high school. 

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Students First Scholarships ImageAs a key component of the university's "student's first" focus, scholarships are a top priority to ensure that students have access to the high-impact teaching and learning opportunities they need to graduate and enter into post-graduate work or meaningful careers. In the past year, donor support allowed the university to award deserving students more than $3 million in privately funded scholarship.

Kent State's top priority is to ensure that our students have the education, experience, inclusive environment and resources that they need to graduate and be successful in their work, and engaged in their communities as informed leaders.

One part of this goal is to focus on improving retention and graduation rates. Contributions from donors like you provide the financial means for more students to complete their education, preparing them for meaningful lives--and to change the world.


Richard and Karen Bobcheck believe the best goal to have is to finish one’s education, obtain a degree and become successful. That’s why they have created The Finish Line Achievement Grant (F.L.A.G.) for the College of Business Administration. The name of their scholarship not only signifies their chance to repay what they say the university gave them, but also represents the help they’re giving to students in order to reach the important milestone of graduation. 

Army Specialist Adam S. Hamilton excelled in football, hockey and lacrosse as a star at Kent Roosevelt High School. Sadly, he was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 at age 22 while serving his country in Operation Enduring Freedom. Adam’s parents, Scott and Connie Hamilton, have made a heartfelt gift to fund an endowed field hockey scholarship in his name, as well as the lead gift for the football locker room renovations. The Adam S. Hamilton West Entrance at Dix Stadium has been named in his memory. 

The university received a wonderful and unexpected gift from the estate of Wallace J. Hagedorn, who attended Kent State’s Short Course in News Photography in 1941. He was so impressed with the class that he made a $3 million bequest — the largest single gift ever made to Kent State University to fund only scholarships, benefitting the photojournalism and photo illustration programs in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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Changing the Future, One Student At A Time

Donors choose exactly where they want their contributions to go; these donations can enhance buildings, upgrade programs or provide exciting new enrichment opportunities. Where donations have the biggest impact, however, is on the lives of students and their families.

In this section, you will read about just a few of the scholarship recipients whose lives were changed by generous Kent State University donors.


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Gary L. Brahler, '89
First Vice President - Investments
Polcar Brahler Heil Belden Wealth
Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisor

F. Carl Walter, Jr., '73
Clair-Elect and Treasurer
Chair, Committee on Finance

Chairman (retired), Chess Financial Corporation

Lawrence R. Armstrong, '79, '80
Immediate Past Chair
CEO, Ware Malcomb

Dr. Linda M. Neiheiser, '90, '00
Manager of Psychological Services
Cleveland Municipal School District

Stephen G. Sokany, MBA, '96
Executive Director, KSU Foundation
Vice President, Institutional Advancement
Kent State University


James W. Arthur, '62
Property Manager, TransOhio Properties

Harvey J. Bazaar, '62
Caldwell, New Jersey

Christopher P. Bray, '89
Managing Director - Florida, Ariel Capital Advisers, LLC

Edmund D. Cooke Jr., '65
Partner, Law Offices of Cooke Robotham LLC

R. Douglas Cowan, '64
Chairman of the Board (retired)
The Davey Tree Expert Company

Robert J. DiDiano, '87
Senior Vice President and Senior Director of Banking
Wachovia Wealth Management, Northeast Region

Barbara A. Donaho
President and CEO (retired)
St. Anthony's Hospital

Timothy D. Eippert, '92
President, MC Sign Company

John R. Elliot, '70

Barry E. Fetterman, '74, '76
Chair, Committee on Institutional Advancement
Principal (retired)
Sirach Capital Management Inc.

Richard J. Frenchie, MBA, FACHE
Chief Development and Community Relations Officer for the Eastern Region (retired)
University Hospitals Health System

Cathy D. Hemming, '70
Cathy D. Hemming Literary Agency LLC 

Peter M. Holway, '82
Chair, Committee on Investments
Investment Director
Hirtle, Callaghan & Company 

Dr. Candice A. Hughes, '70, '72
Associate Professor, Department of School Psychology, 
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

Nora Conway Jacobs, '73
Chair, Committee on Grants
Vice President, Crisis Communications
Hennes Paynter Communications

Steffany Matticola Larkins, '92
Chief of Staff
Chief Diversity Officer
Medical Mutual 

Judie Fall Lasser, '00
Hudson, Ohio

James M. Pazderak, '74
President, Covenant Financial Group Ltd.

Joseph F. Rich
Senior Director, North America Sales & Marketing
Danfoss Power Electronics

Robert G. Risman
President and CEO
Burton Carol Management LLC

Robert E. Ross, ’70
Director, Private Asset Management (retired)
Robert W. Baird & Co.

Richard D. Selip
Grand River Rubber & Plastics Co.

David J. Sibits, ’72
Chair, Committee on Membership
Senior Vice President, Strategic Development
CBIZ, Inc.

Buzz Starner, '67
President and Owner (retired)
Starner Sales & Marketing

Robert W. Woolf, '65
Chairman and President (retired),
Chemi-Trol Chemical Company


Brian M. Marino, '01
Financial Advisor and Special Care Planner, Skylight Financial Group

Maria E. Schneider, '86
Managing Consultant, Premier Segment, Institutional Relationships, TIAA-CREF

EX officio MEMBERS

Trustee Representative
Richard Marsh, '73
First Energy Solutions Corp. (retired)

Assistant Vice President, Kent State University Alumni Association
Lori A. Randorf, '99


Dr. Beverly J. Warren

Dr. Todd A. Diacon
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

Stephen G. Sokany, MBA, '96
Executive Director, KSU Foundation; Vice President, Institutional Advancement

Gregory S. Floyd
Vice President for Finance and Administration


Dr. Daniel F. Mahony
Dean, College and Graduate School of Education, Health & Human Services

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