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Strategic Plan News and Accomplishments

Cleveland Attorney Appointed Kent State President’s Ambassador

Posted Oct. 8, 2012

Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton has appointed Cleveland-area trial lawyer José C. Feliciano as the 2012-2013 President’s Ambassador. The President’s Ambassadorship, a one-year, part-time appointment beginning fall 2012, is designed to bring distinguished local minority professionals to share their professional knowledge and experience with the Kent State community. Sponsored by Kent State's Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the President’s Ambassador is expected to help promote pluralistic understanding and mutual respect among diverse constituencies of students, staff, faculty and administrators at Kent State University; help address diversity challenges; implement diversity initiatives; engage students and assist with other responsibilities that advance universitywide goals.

Photo of José C. Feliciano“Mr. Feliciano is a well-known, well-respected attorney who has done a great deal to advance his profession and his community,” Lefton said. “I am confident in his ability to represent Kent State, further promote our diversity initiatives and help us build stronger ties between our university and communities in Northeast Ohio. It is indeed an honor to have him serve in this position.”

A respected attorney, Feliciano has more than 35 years’ experience in complex commercial and employment litigation, including business litigation, products liability, construction, shareholders’ derivative suits, contracts, eminent domain, and commercial and personal torts.  He has considerable experience as a first chair litigator in jury trials, having tried to verdict more than 70 civil and criminal trials in state and federal courts, and he has handled cases in many different jurisdictions and forums, including domestic and international arbitration tribunals and administrative bodies. He is a past president of the Cleveland Bar Association, and he was also named one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in America by the U.S. Jaycees in 1985, an award that had been given to President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Feliciano, who was born in Puerto Rico, became the first Hispanic public official in the history of Cleveland when he was named chief prosecuting attorney for the city in 1980. In 1984, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as a White House Fellow. He was recently inducted into the Cleveland Hall of Fame and also was recently named to Crain’s Cleveland Business’ “Who's Who: 150 names to know in Northeast Ohio” list.

Feliciano is the founder and chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable. He is former chairman of the Hispanic Leadership Development Program and founder of the Hispanic Community Forum, for which he also served as president. He also was a founder of the Ohio Hispanic Bar Association and served as its vice president. As chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable, Feliciano is the host of a monthly talk show on El Sol Television, produced by El Sol de Cleveland Hispanic newspaper. He has received many recognitions and awards throughout the course of his career, including the 2008 Legacy Award for service and leadership by the Hispanic Business Association.

As President’s Ambassador, Feliciano plans to educate students on the importance of community service and help motivate them to get involved.

“I’m privileged and humbled to have had this invitation extended to me,” Feliciano said. “I think that the notion of an ambassador for Kent State University to the broader community, especially to the minority community, is an important outreach effort by the university. Through my participation in the program, I’m hopeful that I can help advance the mission of the university, at the same time, motivate minority students to attend Kent State. I am interested in sharing my perspective on leadership in business and the civic community.”

For more information about the Kent State President’s Ambassador, visit www.kent.edu/diversity.

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Media Contact:
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595