Kent State Ashtabula to Establish Susan J. Stocker Nursing Scholarship
Kent State University at Ashtabula and the Ashtabula Area College Committee, Inc. are establishing a scholarship fund to be endowed in celebration of Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., and her historic leadership tenure on campus. The Susan J. Stocker Nursing Scholarship will support her two greatest passions by providing financial support for students in Kent State Ashtabula’s nursing program and ensuring her legacy will impact future generations of students.
To be eligible, students must be in their second year in the nursing program with a grade point average of at least 3.0 in six or more credit hours at the Ashtabula campus and have demonstrated leadership through campus, clinical and outside opportunities and organizations.
Stocker is set to retire on June 30, 2022, following 21 years as dean and 32 years in positions of leadership on the Ashtabula Campus and within the university. A 1984 graduate of the Ashtabula nursing program, Stocker was like many of the Ashtabula students. She was married with two young children and she worked part time. As a registered nurse working in maternal-child nursing, she served locally in both hospital and home health care settings while earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree from Villa Maria College in Erie, Pa. She returned to Kent State Ashtabula in 1990 as an instructor and earned tenure in 1997, rising to the rank of associate professor in 1999. She then assumed the role of Director of Nursing, which she held before being named interim dean. In 2003, Stocker was appointed as the fifth dean of the campus.
During her tenure, Stocker shepherded the construction of Robert S. Morrison Hall, the campus’s 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 and the Kent State Ashtabula Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award. She was also the first member of the Ashtabula faculty to win the prestigious Kent State Distinguished Teaching Award. She received the LEADERship Ashtabula County Excellence in Leadership award and the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni award. She served as the President of the Ohio Nurses Association from 1997 to 2001 and as the Chair of the Ohio Nurses Foundation from 2017 to 2021. She was awarded the ONA Gingy Harshey Meade Leadership Award in 2019.
“Dean Stocker did what she preached — to work hard and to advance as a leader in her community and at Kent State University,” said Pamela Hetrick, MBA, APRN-CNM, assistant director of midwifery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and assistant clinical professor in reproductive biology at Case Western Reserve University. “She has been an instrumental figure in enhancing a nursing program that produces strong nurses who blossom into leaders — just like the person who taught us how to do bed baths, hang IV piggybacks, to not sweat the small stuff and enjoy every step of the way. I remember vividly sitting in front of this kind, laid-back instructor 30 years ago, teaching us the bread and butter of nursing, having the compassion and kindness to push all of us to the finish line. At the same time she was pushing herself to finish her master’s degree. She has become a top mentor for me and so many other graduates, and she is the reason I have never stopped reaching for the top.”
To donate to the Susan J. Stocker Nursing Scholarship, visit the scholarship donation page or make a check out to "Kent State University Foundation", indicating “Susan Stocker Scholarship” on the memo line. Checks can be mailed to Kent State University at Ashtabula, Attention: Rebecca Harvey, 3300 Lake Road West, Ashtabula, OH 44004.