Dean Stocker Named 2018 Recipient of LEADERship Ashtabula County Excellence in Leadership Award
Kent State University at Ashtabula Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., was presented with the Marta K. Stone Excellence in Leadership Award from LEADERship Ashtabula County at the organization’s annual meeting that was held Aug. 1.
The Leadership in Excellence Award recognizes community leaders who demonstrate a unique ability to guide and inspire others, which in turn contributes to the growth of the community.
“A leader is someone who exemplifies every characteristic: ethics, values – they stand behind what they are going to do,” says Laura E. Jones, LEADERship Ashtabula County executive director, who presented the award. “They really listen and set an example to everyone in front of them. Susan Stocker is just that. How she is viewed and seen as a mentor to so many people in this community conveys leadership. The goals set by her are met, are achieved and are exceeded.”
Appointed to her current position in 2001, Dr. Stocker is the longest-tenured dean in the Kent State system. Locally, she is the only woman to have served as president of Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County and is a past chairperson of the Ashtabula County Medical Center Board of Trustees.
“People take on leadership roles for many different reasons – some do it to pad résumés, to network or to follow their own agenda,” Dr. Stocker says. “My reason for serving in leadership roles in the community is simply to make a difference.”
Dr. Stocker was the driving force behind the capital campaign that raised more than $6 million locally to help finance the Robert S. Morrison Health and Science Building (now Robert S. Morrison Hall), which opened its doors in 2009. In addition to that state-of-the-art facility, Dr. Stocker also has overseen a number of capital improvement projects in recent years. Those projects include a new bookstore and business services building; an updated Commons and new student lounge, Academic Affairs and Student Services offices and A-wing classrooms in Main Hall; and, most recently, the resurfacing of all parking areas and a new grand entrance into the heart of campus, completed in the summer of 2016.
“Her vision to grow the campus and her ability to rally the community and embark upon projects are incredible and are all things guided by her values and leadership,” Ms. Jones says.
Dr. Stocker served as president of the Ohio Nurses Association from 1997-2001, and she has filled interim roles within the Kent State system. She served as dean and chief administrative officer of the Geauga Campus and Regional Academic Center and dean of the Regional College and the College of Nursing.
Dr. Stocker is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Kent State Ashtabula 50 Years of Nursing Excellence Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of her contributions to the field of nursing and nursing education. In 2007, Dr. Stocker was inducted into the Madison High School Alumni Hall of Fame in 2007. In addition, she received the Roger T. Beitler Distinguished Former Student Award for the Ashtabula Campus of Kent State, received the President's Award from Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County, and was the first faculty member on the Ashtabula campus to receive the prestigious Kent State University Alumni Association Distinguished Teaching Award.
“I have learned leadership is something we practice,” Dr. Stocker says. “Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t – it’s so complex. It takes a collective vision. Leaders must be authentic and values-based, and never forfeit integrity. Being a leader takes courage. Leadership matters.
“Thank you to my family, my co-workers at Kent State Ashtabula, the Ashtabula Area College Committee, and our community for their continued support and LEADERship Ashtabula for this wonderful honor,” she continues.