Campus and Community Come Together to Formally Dedicate Susan J. Stocker Hall

Kent State President Todd Diacon, Glen and Nancy Warner, former Ashtabula dean Susan Stocker, James Mayer and Ashtabula dean Bill Ayres at the Susan J. Stocker Hall Dedication

First stepping on campus nearly 40 years ago as a student in the associate degree in nursing program, Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., established a legacy of service, drive, dedication and leadership to Kent State University at Ashtabula and the community. That legacy is now marked in perpetuity following the formal dedication of Susan J. Stocker Hall.

Former colleagues, friends, family, campus supporters, community leaders, local dignitaries and Kent State administrators filled the Blue & Gold Room for the celebratory event on April 12, honoring the campus’s trailblazing former dean and chief administrative officer.

“The fact that there are so many people here today is a visible sign of the enormous impact that Sue Stocker has had on this community,” said current dean and chief administrative officer R. William Ayres IV, Ph.D. “She touched so many lives. Kent State Ashtabula, the county and the communities around us would not be the same wonderful places they are if it were not for her leadership over many years.”

The naming of the hall recognizes the generosity and commitment of James E. Mayer Jr. and Glen and Nancy Warner for their gifts leading the $500,000 endowment toward the Susan J. Stocker Ashtabula Campus Development Fund.

The gifts supporting the campus honor Stocker’s service and contributions to the university and the Ashtabula community.

“As I got to know Sue Stocker and watch her work her magic in the community, this campus has bloomed and become what I feel is the heart of our county,” Mayer said. “She was always involved and impacted so many people. I’m excited to see her recognized for her efforts and hope her legacy continues to inspire other people in this community to do the same.”

Stocker retired from Kent State Ashtabula in 2022 after more than 30 years of service to the university. She led the campus as dean and chief administrative officer for 21 years and was the longest-serving dean in Kent State’s history at the time of her retirement. In addition to her career at the Ashtabula Campus, she served in several leadership roles at Kent State, including interim dean of the College of Nursing from 2013 to 2014; interim dean of Kent State University at Geauga from 2016 to 2018; and two periods as interim dean of the Regional College, now known as the College of Applied and Technical Studies, from 2015 to 2016 and again from 2019 to 2021.

Ashtabula Dean Bill Ayres unveils a plaque with former dean Susan Stocker at the dedication of Susan J. Stocker Hall

During her tenure, Stocker shepherded the construction of Robert S. Morrison Hall, the campus’ state-of-the-art health and science building, along with several major renovations and improvements to the campus infrastructure. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kent State Ashtabula Roger T. Beitler Distinguished Former Student Award; the Kent State Ashtabula Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award; and was the first member of the Ashtabula faculty to win the prestigious Kent State Distinguished Teaching Award. Additionally, she was honored as a pillar of the community and for being a statewide leader in the nursing profession.

“It is difficult to adequately express my appreciation to those who made the building naming possible, it is a tremendous honor,” Stocker said. “I wish I could put the names of all the members of the faculty and staff on the signage, too. Anything I accomplished here was because of the support I received from dedicated faculty, staff and generous community members.” 

The event also featured remarks from Kent State President Todd Diacon, Ph.D., and Valoree Vargo, vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement and CEO of the Kent State Foundation, as well as the unveiling of a marker to be placed at the entrance to Stocker Hall commemorating the dedication.




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POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2024 01:44 PM
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2024 08:34 AM
Kent State Ashtabula Communications & Marketing
Andrea Hallgren