School of Communication Studies To Honor Distinguished Alumni at Annual Homecoming Awards

KENT, OH – The School of Communication Studies will recognize three alumni for their contributions to the field of communication and bestow the Dominic Infante Scholarship during its annual Homecoming Awards and Reception Friday, Oct. 17, beginning at 5 p.m. in the Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony.

The school will present the Centennial Award to Messiah College President Kim S. Phipps, Ph.D.; the Distinguished Alumni Award to Fifth Third Bank Vice President Louise Gissendaner, and the Outstanding Young Professional Award to Cogswell Hall Marketing Assistant Katie Ramunni.

Phipps is the president of Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pa., and the first woman president in Messiah College's history. Before her appointment as president, she served as Messiah's interim president, provost and academic dean. The Centennial Award is the highest honor given by the School of Communication Studies and honors those associated with the school who are recognized nationally or internationally for their preeminent contributions to their profession.

Gissendaner is vice president and director of Bancorp community outreach and strategic initiatives at Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati. She is responsible for managing the bank's partnership development, community outreach and foundation grant opportunities, including financial literacy, affordable housing and multicultural initiatives throughout Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The Distinguished Alumni Award honors alumni with more than 15 years of demonstrated success in their chosen career.

Ramunni is a marketing assistant at Cogswell Hall, a Cleveland nonprofit that fights against the isolation of poverty by providing a warm home and supportive service to individuals with disabilities. She is also a committee member for The Warren A. Sill Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the establishment and continuation of scholarship at Kent State University. She formerly served as AmeriCorps VISTA and ReStore program specialist at Habitat for Humanity MidOhio in Columbus. The Outstanding Young Professional Award honors alumni with more than five years of demonstrated success in their field since graduation.

R.S.V.P. to the School of Communication Studies by Monday, October 13 at (330) 672-2659 or by email at Please provide the number of guests attending and their names.

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The School of Communication Studies at Kent State University offers bachelor's degrees in communication with majors in global, organizational, health, public, interpersonal and applied communication. The school also grants master's degrees and participates in a college-wide doctoral degree program. The school is recognized nationally for its scholarship, and its students have received national recognition for their academic and professional accomplishments. The Ohio Communication Association has recognized the school as Ohio's distinguished program in communication.

POSTED: Thursday, September 18, 2014 04:32 PM
UPDATED: Friday, July 12, 2024 01:06 AM
School of Communication Studies

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."