Swoboda, Leedy Recognized with Top Awards
Kent State University at East Liverpool presented Kathy Swoboda with the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and Dr. Charles Leedy received the Friends of Kent State University at East Liverpool Award.
Additionally, Heritage Thermal Services received the Community Partner Award, recognizing its support of academic success and community outreach.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Kent State graduates for their professional accomplishments and community involvement, while the Friends of Kent State University at East Liverpool Award honors individuals who work tirelessly to improve the community and support the university’s mission to provide quality education to the tri-state area.
Swoboda is the academic program director and instructor for the occupational therapy assistant (OTA) program on the East Liverpool Campus. She began her journey as an adult learner on this campus in 1997, earning her associate degree in OTA in 1999.
After working for nearly six years as a certified occupational therapy assistant, Swoboda earned a bachelor’s degree from Penn State and became a registered occupational therapist in 2005. Not long after that, she was hired as an adjunct instructor to teach kinesiology for the OTA program at Kent State East Liverpool and then became a fulltime faculty member in 2008.
Swoboda earned a master’s degree from Kent State University in 2011 and, in 2018, she was named the academic program director for the OTA program at Kent State East Liverpool. Aside from teaching and overseeing the OTA program, Swoboda is active with employee wellness initiatives, community service projects and campus activities. Her entire career has focused on occupation therapy and helping not only patients, but influencing dozens of students who are now serving in that field.
She lives in Poland with her husband, Barry. Their family includes their late son, Joe; son Michael (Christine); and daughter Sarah Landherr (Zach), and two grandsons.
Leedy also has a strong connection to Kent State University and the field of education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Kent in 1959; his masters in educational administration in 1966; and a doctorate degree in educational administration in 1975.
He spent 17 years at what was then known as Stanton High School where he taught math and physics, and advanced to become the assistant principal and then principal. He also was a professor at the University of Dayton, where he taught graduate courses.
Prior to becoming a teacher, however, Leedy joined the Air Force after earning his first degree and served three years. During that time, he was stationed at Cape Canaveral in Florida where he participated in the Project Mercury space missions.
Leedy later co-founded Network One, a telecommunications company in Akron that later became known as First Communications. After a 25-year career with that venture, he sold his share and retired in 2006.
Leedy was an active member of the Kent State East Liverpool Campus advisory board for many years. He established the Dixie Leedy Scholarship in memory of his late wife, Dixie, who had also earned her education degree from Kent State University. She was a teacher and principal for several years for the Edison Local School District. The scholarship is awarded to a student majoring in education.
In recent years, Leedy has supported the Rising Scholars program on the East Liverpool and Salem campuses and helped secure significant funding for the program.
Leedy lives in Hammondsville and keeps busy teaching Sunday school classes and playing the organ at his church, while also volunteering at area nursing homes by playing music for the residents.
Aside from his late wife, Leedy’s family includes his son Michael (Karilynn), a granddaughter and two great-grandchildren, as well as his late son, Christopher.
Heritage Thermal Services has provided substantial funding over the years to the campus that helped purchase laptop computers and carts for nursing students to learn point-of-care documentation practices; a medication dispensing system for the nursing lab; technology for the virtual reality classroom; and grants for environmental projects. Representatives from the company also serve on the campus advisory board.
Cutline A: Kathy Swoboda is flanked by former student Dustin Lewis, who introduced her, and Interim Dean Dr. Brad Bielski after she received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Cutline B: Dr. Charles Leedy with Ohio Rep. Tim Ginter who introduced him and presented him with the Friend of the Campus Award.
Cutline C: Master of Ceremonies Donald Bean (left) with Steve Lorah representing Heritage Thermal Services.