2014 President’s Excellence Award Recipients Announced

Eight Employees Receive President’s Excellence Award

Eight Kent State University employees were recipients of the 2014 President’s Excellence Award. Earlier this month, Kent State President Beverly Warren dropped in on the workplaces of each of the recipients to notify them of their honor and present them with a check for $1,000.

The President’s Excellence Award was implemented in 2009 to recognize Kent State staff members who have demonstrated exceptional performance in advancing one of the strategic goals of the university during the previous fiscal year. There were 156 nominations from employees’ supervisors, peers and colleagues throughout Kent State’s eight campuses. 

A nominee must demonstrate exceptional performance in advancing one of the following criteria that are aligned with the university’s strategic goals. This includes actions, initiatives or projects related to the following: 

  1. Ensure a “Students First” focus.
  2. Enhance the distinction of Kent State University as “One University.”
  3. Increase the university’s global competitiveness.
  4. Demonstrate the spirit of collaboration to leverage Kent State’s global reach for local impact.
  5. Build commitment and loyalty to Kent State among constituents.
  6. Support a commitment to diversity as an institutional asset.
  7. Display a commitment to operational efficiency to enhance and expand it for the next generation of academically motivated students. 

The President’s Excellence Award recipients are listed below. Photographs of the employees receiving their award also may be viewed on the Office of the President’s website.

Barbara Boltz

Project Director for Enrollment Data and Systems Support
Office of the Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

Nominated for:
Demonstrating the spirit of collaboration to leverage Kent State’s global reach for local impact

Barb Boltz is actively involved with many divisional and cross-divisional committees, but also serves and volunteers in areas beyond her position here at Kent State. Boltz is actively involved with the Women in Business, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs’ Quality Service and Professional Development Committee, serving as a Student Conduct hearing officer, working with the Peace Basket Project and with the United Way.  

Boltz has faithfully served on the Kent State United Way Steering Committee and is the United Way leader for the Division of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. She also coordinates the many United Way programs on campus, including “Cornhole for a Cause,” “Day of Caring” and the “Big Red Bookshelf Project,” to name a few. Boltz holds the position of leadership giver with United Way of Portage County and is the humble recipient of the United Way of Portage County’s 2014 Volunteer of the Year Award.  

Simply stated by Barb’s nominator, “Her commitment and dedication goes above and beyond the division and her position description. It encompasses Kent State University and the community as a whole.”

Meghan Cisar 

Assistant Director of Student Success Programs
Academic Affairs

Nominated for:
Ensuring a “Students First” focus 
Meghan Cisar has a way of connecting. “Whether she is personally interacting with a student on probation, a high-achieving student leader, a first-time faculty member teaching the First-Year Experience freshman orientation course or a parent seeing their only child leave for college, each person is positively impacted by Meghan’s concern and support for them,” says a colleague.  

Cisar possesses the ability to exercise empathy and make connections to put others at ease. “She pulls from a toolkit of personal and professional experiences,” wrote one of her nominators. As a Kent State alumna who has walked the walk, she is not afraid to share her journey with others. Cisar freely speaks of times where she may have struggled and the steps and decisions she had to make to overcome obstacles.  

Cisar and her team are focused on students first.  An example of this is the approximately 165,000 touch points with last year’s freshmen alone. “Through Meghan’s direct interactions, the programs she coordinates and the programs coordinated by those she supervises, she reached out to each new freshman an average of 40 times last year.”  

Terri Harmon

Administrative Secretary
Management and Information Systems in the College of Business Administration
Academic Affairs 

Nominated for:
Ensuring a “Students First” focus, building commitment and loyalty to Kent State among constituents and displaying a commitment to operational efficiency  

Terri Harmon knows how to create an inviting atmosphere for all. As her nominators can attest, Harmon does not back away from a challenge, and she seeks to assist students through empowerment. A fellow faculty member describes Harmon as “perpetually upbeat, smiling and cheerful, which creates a wonderful working environment and a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Terri is always willing to provide assistance and eager to help. When asked to do something new, she treats it like a puzzle to solve, laughs at the challenge, takes the initiative (with determination!) to figure it out, and then does it perfectly.”

Harmon ensures that colleagues and students experience that “welcome” feeling and cannot be easily flustered. “No matter what task she is asked to perform, however simple or challenging, Terri does it promptly, cheerfully, with her own flair and to perfection,” says a colleague.  

Harmon’s commitment to treating internal and external customers with care, compassion and character has built a following of “loyal, committed members who regularly participate in the Center for Information Systems activities.”  

Scott Manzo

Building Maintenance Supervisor
Recreational Services
Enrollment Management and Student Affairs

Nominated for: 
Displaying a commitment to operational efficiency to enhance and expand it for the next generation of academically motivated students and building commitment and loyalty to Kent State among constituents

Scott Manzo shares a unique passion for his job and Kent State. His dedication is evident to his peers, and he serves as a great role model for student employees. Manzo’s dedication has not gone unnoticed by his peers and supervisors.  

One of those supervisors had this to say about Manzo. “Scott shows his commitment to Kent State University by working alongside his team during day, night or weekend shifts. His sacrifice to Kent State has often meant leaving family gatherings, weekend BBQs or a Sunday morning sleep-in to attend to any issue that may have arisen.”

Manzo’s customers are many: users of the ice rink, Student Recreation and Wellness Center, Allerton Sports Complex and the soccer fields. Access to these facilities and situations that may arise can happen any day of the week, including holidays. Another supervisor writes about Manzo’s commitment to operational efficiency and loyalty, stating, “Scott truly demonstrates a passion for Kent State that would normally only be found with a business owner. Scott’s dedication and “run it like I own it” attitude has earned him the respect of both established and new constituents/peers. He wears his pride in the oil, paint, dust and dirt that can often be found on his Kent State uniform.”

Scott McKinney 

Director, Stewardship and Fund Administration
Institutional Advancement

Nominated for:
Building commitment and loyalty to Kent State among constituents 

Since 2008, Scott McKinney and his team have developed programs to connect donors with the impact of their philanthropy. Nominated by a fellow colleague who states, “He has built a team of professionals that are dedicated to developing programs and outreach initiatives that recognize our donors in very personal and meaningful ways. These donor experiences have fostered additional gifts from established donors and have motivated new donors to give gifts.”  

Some examples of projects McKinney and his team have accomplished are Donor-Student Connections, ThanKS2U Video Program and the ThanKS2U Portfolio Program.  

McKinney’s efforts have directly and positively strengthened Kent State’s donor relationships and have built commitment and loyalty among donors and scholarship recipients.

April Miller 

Delivery Worker 
Mail Services 
Business and Finance 

Nominated for: 
Displaying a commitment to operational efficiency to enhance and expand it for the next generation of academically motivated students

Efficient, dedicated, aware, our “go-to” person – these are just some of the words used to describe April Miller. As a delivery worker for Mail Services, Miller is extremely conscientious. Being cognizant of the many postal regulations while sorting, scanning in packages and prepping outgoing mail, Miller is on the lookout for efficiency and accuracy. Her supervisor described a recent situation where her knowledge and commitment to operational efficiency contributed to cost savings of $2,900 for one department.

In a deadline-driven environment, Miller manages to keep her focus and also serves as a role model for student workers. As stated by her supervisor, “Students look to her for guidance and mentoring.” They have an appreciation for her work ethic but also appreciate her commitment to education as she completes her master’s degree.  

Miller provides excellent customer service, and her department has received many complimentary calls and emails as a result. Many of those compliments are directly attributable to Miller, says her supervisor.  

Cassandra Pegg-Kirby

Assistant Director, Women’s Center 
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Nominated for: 
Displaying a commitment to operational efficiency to enhance and expand it for the next generation of academically motivated students and supporting a commitment to diversity as an institutional asset

Described as an individual “who cares deeply about the people in her life more than herself,” Cassandra Pegg-Kirby strives to help others to succeed and make advancements in their lives. She does so with a caring commitment to growth, inclusiveness and success.

Pegg-Kirby does not hesitate to volunteer to help create opportunities and advance programming. As stated by a fellow colleague, “I’ve always been able to count on Mrs. Pegg-Kirby as she has volunteered to assist with the planning and staffing of multiple programs and events, even ones outside of her own department.”  

As the assistant director for the Women’s Center, Pegg-Kirby strives to make each event memorable, inclusive and sustainable for generations to come. These traits are recognized by her superiors in their statements regarding Pegg-Kirby’s trademark of “putting more than is needed into everything so that the outcome is memorable.” In addition, “Cassie has a way of bringing interest and participation in those programs to many more. Her efforts have brought awareness to the diverse nature of women’s issues throughout the Kent State community and to the outside community.”  

Joseph Walker

University Facilities Management 
Business and Finance

Nominated for:
Ensuring a “Students First” focus

Joseph Walker is a proud Kent State employee and alumnus. Walker serves as a compassionate and caring role model to everyone who is fortunate to know him. Moreover, he goes out of his way to assist students, whether lending a caring ear or using his talents in other ways to support student success.  

Walker’s supervisor says, “He has been here at Kent State University; he has gotten his degree and graduated from Kent State. Joe is always talking to young people about life and making sure they understand how important getting a college education is, as well as how much he enjoys working here and being a student here.”

Always looking for an opportunity to assist others, Walker had a unique opportunity to lend a helping hand and never hesitated. Walker’s supervisor shared this experience when he wrote, “I remember one time last summer, a student in a wheelchair had a problem with his chair. One of the power wheels had fallen off. Joe came to that student’s rescue by fixing the power wheel. I have seen this student every now and then this summer and he always asks me how Joe is doing.”

Walker took the time, again, to ensure student success!

POSTED: Monday, March 30, 2015 10:32 AM
Updated: Thursday, December 8, 2022 02:10 PM
Kim Hauge