Kent State Announces 2021 Alumni Awards Recipients

Seven alumni and one student receive prestigious honors

Each year, hundreds of nominations are submitted to Kent State University, showcasing some of the best and brightest alumni and students who excel in their fields and communities. This year, seven alumni and one student will be honored as 2021 Alumni Awards recipients. Recipients are chosen based on their exceptional contributions to their profession, communities and to Kent State. Sponsored by the Kent State Alumni Association, the Alumni Awards are the university’s most prestigious honors given to alumni. 

“The nominations we received were truly impressive and represented the diversity and success of our graduates,” said Barbara Smith, a 1984 Kent State graduate who serves as president of the Kent State Alumni Association’s National Board of Directors. “These eight award recipients epitomize the Golden Flashes spirit, and each one has made a profound impact at Kent State and in their communities.” 

The following seven alumni and one student are being recognized in six award categories: 

Beverley Laubert, state long-term care ombudsman at the Ohio Department of Aging, has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. Laubert graduated from Kent State in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in gerontology. The Distinguished Alumni Award honors a Kent State graduate who has made outstanding contributions in their chosen profession, demonstrating extraordinary service to Kent State as well as their community, state and nation. 

James Luther Raper, CRNP, Ph.D., J.D., director of the 1917 Clinic at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been awarded the Distinguished Citizen Award. Raper graduated in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The Distinguished Citizen Award honors a Kent State graduate who demonstrates extraordinary service to the public. This award recognizes individuals who have unselfishly and generously contributed their time and talents for the enrichment of others and betterment of their community. 

Retired Col. David H. Carstens, U.S. counterintelligence special agent, veteran Army colonel and military intelligence officer, has been awarded the Professional Achievement Award. Carstens graduated from Kent State in 1988, earning a Bachelor of Arts in political science. The Professional Achievement Award pays tribute to the superior achievements of alumni in their chosen profession. This award showcases a record of distinguished career achievements, complemented by a history of outstanding contributions.

Richard E. Breedon, Ph.D., experimental high energy particle physicist, has also been awarded the Professional Achievement Award. Breedon graduated from Kent State in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in physics. 

Michael John Gallagher II, a vibrant, creative and kind young individual, has been posthumously awarded the Kent State Advocacy Award. Gallagher graduated from Kent State in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications with a concentration in global communications studies. The Kent State Advocacy Award honors Kent State graduates who have contributed significant time and talent to Kent State on a consistent basis, bringing favorable attention to the university. 

Robert E. Ross, financial services industry professional and member of the Kent State University Foundation Board, has also been awarded the Kent State Advocacy Award. Ross graduated from Kent State in 1970 with a Bachelor of Business Administration. 

Gordon Stumpo, technical designer and patternmaker for Proper Cloth in New York, has been awarded the Outstanding New Professional Award. Stumpo received his Master of Arts in fashion design from Kent State in 2016. The Outstanding New Professional Award honors a recent Kent State graduate who shows outstanding achievement in their chosen profession and their community. This award spotlights future leaders who show continued dedication to their community, profession and the university. 

Tiarra Monae’ Reddick, a newly graduated Kent State fashion merchandising and marketing student, has been awarded the Golden Flash Award. She received a Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising from Kent State in August 2021. The Golden Flash Award honors a Kent State student who promotes Kent State spirit, pride and tradition. 

A special reception honoring the award recipients will be held at the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center on Sept. 30. 

For more information on each of this year’s recipients, visit

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Media Contact:
Melanie Secre,, 330-672-8057

POSTED: Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 11:49am
UPDATED: Thursday, September 23, 2021 - 11:50am
Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement