KeyBank Foundation Gift to Support Programs to Increase the Recruitment, Retention and Graduation Rates of Underrepresented Students

KeyBank Foundation has granted $1 million to Kent State University to support programs to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students consistent with the university’s continued mission to help all students reach their full potential in earning a degree. 

Attention to academic quality and student success is a cornerstone of Kent State’s students-first commitment. This focus begins with the strategic recruitment of talented and diverse students, and continues with the commitment to support students as they learn to thrive in an academically challenging environment.

This laser focus on student success has already resulted in improvements in retention and graduation rates, as well as greater student engagement in high-impact experiences.

Dynamic Education and Engagement for Diverse Students (DEEDS) was launched by Kent State in September 2016 to provide increased levels of student support services, engagement that cuts across the entire university community, and support for the development of personalized success plans for students who are most likely to struggle to finish their degrees. This grant will support efforts for underrepresented students within the DEEDS initiative to engage, excel and graduate on time with their peers.

“We are grateful to KeyBank Foundation for its partnership with us to ensure that all students succeed and reach the ultimate goal of college degree,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren. “The funding provided by KeyBank Foundation will open doors for diverse students and will elevate Kent State as a national leader in student success initiatives.”

The DEEDS program affirms the university’s commitment to access and success for all students, and strives to close the graduation gap that exists for underrepresented students whose families are economically challenged.

“We recognize that the success of students entering the workforce depends not only on the quality of their education but the resources and support services available,” said Margot Copeland, chair and CEO of KeyBank Foundation and a Kent State trustee. “Through this grant, we are ensuring that students of all backgrounds receive the same opportunities, support and engagement as their peers – leveling the playing field upon graduation.” 

With this meaningful grant, KeyBank Foundation is making a difference in the lives of Kent State students by helping the university to provide greater levels of support for its students, including the development of personalized success plans for underrepresented students.

“The DEEDS program is our commitment to ensure that underrepresented students are supported and fully engaged in the Kent State experience,” said Eboni Pringle, dean of the University College at Kent State. “To accomplish this goal, we’re focused on providing a purposeful learning experience for our students that creates life-changing opportunities.”

“I was involved in the McNair Scholars Program, which is part of DEEDS,” said Isaac Floyd, a graduating senior in nutrition science who will be continuing his studies at Kent State for his postgraduate program. “It provided valuable experience and a vantage point in the process of applying for graduate school. It made me a very competitive candidate and made the transition from graduation to graduate school much easier.”

About KeyBank Foundation
KeyBank Foundation serves to fulfill KeyBank’s purpose “to help clients and communities thrive,” and its mission is “to support organizations and programs that prepare people for thriving futures.” The foundation’s mission is advanced through three funding priorities – neighbors, education, and workforce – and through community service. To provide meaningful philanthropy that transforms lives, KeyBank Foundation listens carefully to understand the unique characteristics and needs of its communities and then backs solutions with targeted philanthropic investments. KeyBank Foundation is a nonprofit charitable foundation, funded by KeyCorp. For more information about KeyBank Foundation, visit

About Kent State University 
Kent State University is one of 76 public higher-research universities, as categorized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and is ranked in the first-tier list of Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. With eight campuses spanning Northeast Ohio, a College of Podiatric Medicine, a Regional Academic Center, and academic sites in major world capitals such as New York City, Geneva and Florence, Kent State is one of Ohio’s leading public universities and a major educational, economic and cultural resource far beyond the Northeast Ohio region it has served since 1910. The student body comprises nearly 41,000 students, including nearly 3,000 international students from 109 countries, and the worldwide alumni family exceeds 235,000. The addition of new learning environments from the sciences to the arts and development of exciting new academic programs such as aerospace engineering, geographic information science and business analytics characterize Kent State’s focus on transformational educational experiences. For more information about Kent State, visit


POSTED: Thursday, May 25, 2017 08:28 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 10:06 PM
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