Communication Studies to Honor Fifth Third Bank Vice President at Homecoming

Fifth Third Bank Vice President Louise Gissendaner will receive The Distinguished Alumni Award from Kent State University School of Communication Studies at Homecoming. The award, which celebrates alumni who have made a significant contribution to the field of communication, will be presented during the School's Homecoming Centennial Awards and Reception to be held Oct. 17 at 5 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony.

"I am humbled and honored to receive this award," Gissendaner said. "The institution as a whole made a big difference in my life. The professors were fabulous and very understanding; they provided a lot of encouragement and helped me develop myself as an individual. I still highly applaud what Kent State does."

Gissendaner, Bancorp director of outreach and strategic initiatives at Fifth Third Bank, focuses on helping people manage their finances. "I enjoy bringing financial literacy to so many people by developing programs, helping others with their financial crises and improving their lives by being able to manage their money."

Gissendaner, named the 2009 Black Professional of the Year by the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation, graduated from Kent State in 1981 with a degree in Rhetoric and Communication and a minor in Business Administration. The Philadelphia native says she loved the camaraderie, the students, and the education she received from the School of Communication Studies.

"Three words that I would use to describe Kent State would be 'Beacon of Hope,'" Gissendaner said. "Going to an institution like Kent State helps people to reimagine themselves, think outside of the box and gives them hope and opportunities to see their future like they've never seen it before."

Gissendaner encourages Communication Studies students to be creative in their search for employment. "Everyone can use someone who has great communication skills. Believe it or not, those skills learned though communication courses are a strong component around most people's success. There are so many jobs and opportunities out there for young people today who majored in any kind of Communications. It's a phenomenal field and opens up the door to so many other kinds of opportunities that you can be exposed to that you never would think of."

If you plan to attend the Homecoming Centennial Awards and Reception, please R.S.V.P. to or by phone at 330-672-2659.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 8, 2014 04:32 PM
UPDATED: Thursday, June 13, 2024 12:12 AM
Shannon French

Strong written and oral communication skills are essential to the practice of law. Communication Studies is one of several majors that students at Kent State can choose for the university’s 3+3 partnership with area law schools. We caught up with three alumni from the School of Communication Studies to explore how an undergraduate communication studies major prepared them for the study and practice of law.

The class, Global Perspectives Book Club, has become a refreshing classroom experience for students; it’s structured as a student-led, seminar-style class, so the students have an important role in deciding the course content and discussions. In addition to expanding their reading library, they’re gaining exposure to new cultures and learning how to empathize with those they are reading about through a storytelling and communication lens.  

As a Kent State student, Michael J. Houser, ’11, learned the value of good communication, and those lessons have propelled him throughout his career.

"From the first class to the last," he says, "you are assisted in learning the necessary skills to advocate and organize."