Susan Stocker Receives Distinguished Alumni Award


Kent State University at Ashtabula Dean and Chief Administrative Officer Susan J. Stocker, Ph.D., has been named the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award winner at Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.  Stocker will receive the award at the school’s annual alumni celebration Friday, Oct. 22.

“Receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing will be remembered as one of the highlights of my career,” said Stocker, who graduated from the school with a Master of Science in Nursing in 1992. “Although I have not been working directly in nursing for several years now, my passion will always be for the profession of nursing.

“While attending Frances Payne Bolton, I made many professional connections and I continue to network with other Nursing leaders who are also associated with the school.”

The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated continuous, outstanding, creative and exemplary contributions to the disciplines of nursing and health care or have made noteworthy contributions in related fields throughout their careers.

It is the highest honor given to graduates of the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

“As an alum, Susan demonstrates the mission of Frances Payne Bolton,” said Rebecca M. Patton, DNP, RN, CNOR, FAAN, Lucy Jo Atkinson perioperative nursing professor at the school. “As an empowered nurse leader, she makes a difference in the health of individuals and communities. While others qualify for this honor, Susan’s lifelong commitment and accomplishment stand out about her passion, character and leadership. If anyone is deserving of this recognition, it is certainly her.”

In addition to her role on the Kent State Asthabula Campus, Stocker has been a leader in local, regional, state and national nursing efforts and provided service to many healthcare associated organizations. The senior dean in the Kent State system, she also serves as the chair of the Ohio Nurses Foundation Board of Directors and has a past tenure as president of the Ohio Nurses Association.

During her time as ONA president, Stocker oversaw the organization’s efforts to secure passage of several legislative initiatives to improve the work environment for nurses and the establishment of the Ohio Nurses Foundation. 

“Amid the changes and challenges in healthcare and education the next generation of nurses, Susan has been a steady and strategic leader, guiding others to look beyond the obvious,” noted Patton. “Two things about her career are certain. First, her passion for nursing has remained consistent and obvious throughout her career and her leadership and service are at the core of all she does.” 

Stocker has been the recipient of numerous honors recognizing her leadership.  She was awarded the ONA Gingy Harshey Meade Leadership Award in 2019; the Excellence in Leadership Award from Leadership Ashtabula County in 2018; the President’s Award from Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County – an organization for which she was the first woman to serve as president; and, in 2016, was the first honoree of the Kent State Ashtabula Associate Degree in Nursing program Distinguished Alumni Award.  She is also a past recipient of the Kent State Ashtabula Roger T. Beitler Distinguished Former Student Award and was the first member of the Ashtabula faculty to win the prestigious Kent State Distinguished Teaching Award.

The first nurse to sit on the board of Ashtabula County Medical Center, Stocker served as chair of that board and is a longtime member of the American Heart Association® Ashtabula County Heart Walk leadership team.

Stocker earned her associate degree in nursing from Kent State Ashtabula in 1984 and joined the campus faculty in 1990 as an instructor, eventually rising to the rank of associate professor.  She served as the director of nursing at Kent State Ashtabula from 1999 to 2001 before being appointed dean in 2001.  After earning her MSN in psychiatric and mental health from Frances Payne Bolton, she went on to complete her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Kent State in 2007.

During several years in the late 1990s, she was a clinical instructor for Frances Payne Bolton, serving as a preceptor for MSN students, several of whom were graduates from Kent State Ashtabula.

“Along the way, Susan has stayed true to her FPB roots.  In some cases, guiding or mentoring students that continued their education at FPB,” said Patton.

“I am so proud that many of our Associate Degree in Nursing graduates have, like I did, go on to earn an advanced degree at Frances Payne Bolton,” Stocker said. Pam Hetrick, is the assistant director of Nurse Midwifery for University Hospitals; Erin Long is director of Advanced Practice Nursing for UH; Loretta Jacob, is an adult nurse practitioner; and current Kent State Ashtabula faculty member Stacy Rose.” 

Stocker has also been called upon to serve in leadership roles at Kent State including interim dean of the College of Nursing (2013-2014); interim dean of the Geauga Campus (2016-2018); and two stints as the interim dean of the Regional College, now named the College of Applied and Technical Studies (2015-2016, 2019-2021).

POSTED: Monday, October 25, 2021 - 3:09pm
UPDATED: Friday, October 22, 2021 - 3:16pm