Kent State President Todd Diacon Announces Annual Faculty, Staff Award Recipients

They have gone above and beyond to keep Kent State University moving forward during the pandemic, and now they are being honored for their dedication and hard work.

Kent State President Todd Diacon recently notified nine faculty members and 14 staff members that they have received special awards for their work and service.

The faculty members were recognized with the President’s Faculty Excellence Award, which recognizes exceptional performance that leads to the achievement of national or international recognition in the faculty member’s discipline.

The staff members are the recipients of the President’s Award of Distinction, which was created to recognize and reward staff members who have demonstrated outstanding achievements, service, leadership and dedication in advancing the university’s strategic priorities and core values. 

Diacon congratulated this year’s award recipients upon their selection. 
“Our faculty and staff are the backbone of all that we do in providing a world-class education to our students, and it gives me great joy to recognize these members who have excelled in their areas of expertise,” Diacon said. “These dedicated employees put students first and consistently inspire our students to succeed in the classroom and beyond, and they did so by overcoming the many obstacles presented during the pandemic.” 

Faculty Excellence Award

Tenured and tenure-track faculty members in all disciplines and from all campuses were eligible based on recommendations to department chairs and deans. The awards program also represents an investment in the university’s vision and aspirations.

Nearly 50 nominations and self-nominations were received, and nine were recommended by the provost and approved by the president.

The 2021-22 President’s Faculty Excellence Award recipients are listed below.

Reid Coffman, College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Diane Davis-Sikora, College of Architecture and Environmental Design
Metin Eren, Department of Anthropology
Mietek Jaroniec, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Deric Kenne, College of Public Health
Yuko Kurahashi, School of Theatre and Dance
Andrew Lepp, School of Foundations, Leadership and Administration
Angela Neal-Barnett, Department of Psychological Sciences
Tara Smith, College of Public Health

To learn more about the 2021-22 recipients and their outstanding contributions, as well as past recipients, visit

Award of Distinction

Full-time classified and unclassified employees at all campuses who have been employed by the university for a minimum of three years and are in good standing with the university were eligible to be nominated for the President’s Award of Distinction. Staff members had to demonstrate exceptional performance in living the university’s core values and/or advancing one of the priorities of A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State. Recipients of this recognition also receive a $1,500 award.

There were nearly 200 eligible nominations received from peers, supervisors or other divisional leaders, faculty and students across Kent State’s eight campuses, and 14 staff members were approved by the president.

The 2021-22 President’s Award of Distinction recipients are listed below.

Walt Bainey, Information Technology
Bill Buckbee, Public Safety
Mary Collins, Communications/Marketing and Development Offices, Ashtabula Campus
Karla Dohse, Custodial Services
Amanda Avery Dolan, Information Technology
Elizabeth Henry, University Communications and Marketing
Emily Hermon, Finance and Administration
Scott Imhoff, University Culinary Services
Jill Jenkins, Student Affairs
Nicole Kotlan, University College
Shana Lee, Student Affairs
Kevin McCreary, Research and Sponsored Programs
Tina McLeary, Custodial Services
Daniel Ridgway, College of Podiatric Medicine

To learn more about the 2021-22 recipients and the positive impact each has made on the Kent State community, visit

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Friday, June 10, 2022 09:45 AM
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 16, 2024 12:42 AM
Eric Mansfield