Kent State Receives Best in Class and Hall of Fame Honors for Supplier Diversity

Kent State University has won a Best in Class award for supplier diversity from the Greater Cleveland Partnership. This marks the third time that the university has received this award. Kent State previously won the Best in Class award for supplier diversity in 2013 and 2017. 

As a multiyear winner of the Best in Class awards, Kent State is also named to the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Equity and Inclusion Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honor is awarded to member companies and organizations that have consistently demonstrated their commitment to workplace diversity and inclusion. 

The award follows last month’s recognition of Kent State as a recipient of the 2020 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which noted the university’s commitment to maintaining a diverse and inclusive campus for an eighth consecutive year. 

The university was recognized for its Best in Class and Hall of Fame honors during the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s annual meeting that was held virtually on Oct. 14.

“An achievement such as this reflects your commitment to making inclusion a priority in all aspects of your organization,” wrote Marci Blue, director of research and data initiatives with the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Equity and Inclusion Division, in the award notification to the university. “Kent State University serves as an exemplary model for other businesses and institutions to follow.”

Kent State’s Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration Mark Polatajko, Ph.D., recognized Veronica Cook-Euell, the university’s former supplier diversity program manager, during his acceptance speech.

“Kent State University empowers individuals, expands opportunities and meaningfully honors all voices,” Polatajko said. “Ms. Veronica Cook-Euell turned this vision into reality through her commitment and engagement with diverse businesses by enhancing and expanding their ability to compete for and secure contracts, always emphasizing inclusion and outreach in alignment with our university values. Through her and others’ visionary leadership, we have moved the needle in every aspect of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Polatajko also said that Kent State will always ensure that diverse suppliers have equitable opportunities to partner with the institution on contracts. 

“We aspire to grow that even more in the future, together,” he added.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Equity and Inclusion Division works with Northeast Ohio employers to make diversity a source of economic strength. Its goal is to ensure that employees of color and entrepreneurs of color benefit in the prosperity of the region. The division’s work is fueled by the belief that businesses and the region are stronger with greater equity and inclusion. For more information about the Greater Cleveland Partnership’s Equity and Inclusion Division, visit

For more information about Kent State’s Supplier Diversity program in the Procurement Department, visit

Supplier diversity is just one of the many ways Kent State has shown its commitment to driving diversity, equity and inclusion systemwide. For more information about Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit

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

POSTED: Monday, October 19, 2020 - 11:38am
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 28, 2020 - 9:33am
Emily Vincent