Kent State University students walk through Florence, Italy, as they receive a tour.
Prioritizing Student Success

Student Success Priority Exceeds Goal

Kent State University will be equipped to offer more financial assistance to students in need thanks to donor support within a key area of the university’s ongoing comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The Forever Brighter campaign includes a scholarship support component, Prioritizing Student Success, that now stands at $142 million, surpassing the $100 million goal set at the campaign’s outset in October 2021. The overall campaign goal is $350 million. The other two priority areas, Expanding University Initiatives and Building the Future, include projects, programs and initiatives to enhance student experiences and elevate Kent State’s reputation as a leader in student support, athletics, research and innovation – both nationally and internationally.

“This campaign was the most ambitious and aggressive ever undertaken by the university, but that lofty goal was set with the intention of meeting current needs and setting a strong foundation for the future of Kent State,” said Lawrence R. Armstrong, ’79, ’80, campaign co-chair. “The tremendous generosity toward scholarships has shown us that this community believes in our students, and we look forward to continuing to raise funds to support as many students as possible.”

Prioritizing Student Success remains the most important campaign priority to achieve the university’s goal of enhancing access, experiences and degree completion for students.

Student success is impacted by every aspect of the collegiate experience, and the university is dedicated to providing transformational opportunities that enrich the education of all students, such as studying abroad. Global education is an area of distinction for Kent State, as it is the sole university in the United States to receive the prestigious 2022 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization from NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The honor recognizes Kent State for overall excellence in integrating international education throughout all facets of the university and its campuses.

“The Simon Award is a richly deserved honor that highlights our excellent education abroad programs and our ongoing success in enrolling and graduating international students,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon. “A global education expands academic, professional and personal horizons and leads to greater employment opportunities – and it is imperative that every Kent State student accesses a global education.”

Education abroad offers more students a chance to learn beyond the walls of traditional classrooms and broaden their perspectives. The recently created Global Education Endowment, established with a lead gift from Valoree Vargo, Kent State’s vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement, aims to provide every incoming undergraduate student with financial support to engage in an education abroad experience.

“Studying abroad in Florence as an undergrad was a very interesting experience for me because I had never left the United States before,” said Andy Wyatt, ’16. “Like a lot of the students who come to this program, I had no experience traveling. I described the experience as being like breathing air for the first time, and the program was so well run that it was very easy for me to get into the culture of Florence and take away as much as I could.”

Reaching an initial goal of $20 million would provide a scholarship of approximately $1,000 per student for the number of Kent State students who currently study abroad (about 25 percent). However, the ultimate goal of the endowment is offering an education abroad scholarship to every student. This will differentiate Kent State among public higher education institutions, attracting more students to the university and enriching their experiences. With the collective support of donors, undergraduate students from every major and every college at any Kent State campus will be eligible to receive a scholarship from this fund once during their undergraduate career.

“At Kent State, we believe that exploring new places is vital to a greater understanding of the world around us,” said Marcello Fantoni, Ph.D., vice president for global education at Kent State. “We know that an international experience is one of the most direct and effective ways to change the life of a student for the better.”