Kent State Holds Spring Commencement Ceremonies on May 13, 14 and 20
Kent State University held its Spring 2016 Commencement ceremonies for the Kent Campus on Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation (MAC) Center. The final ceremony will be held Friday, May 20, at Cartwright Hall. Kent State will confer 4,210 degrees, including 3,067 bachelor’s degrees, 968 master’s degrees, 169 doctoral degrees and six educational specialist degrees.
Across the university’s eight-campus system, 5,226 students will graduate from Kent State this spring, including those receiving associate degrees.
Friday, May 13, at 6 p.m.
The 6 p.m. ceremony on Friday, May 13, recognized graduates receiving their master’s, doctoral and educational specialist degrees. The speaker for this ceremony was Kent State alumnus Dario D. D. DiMare, president of Dario Designs Inc. DiMare is an award-winning architect who has designed media projects all over the world and has been published in countless professional journals. As founder and president of Dario Designs in Northborough, Massachusetts, DiMare is responsible for the supervision, coordination and implementation of programming, preliminary design and architectural activities. His creativity and passion for efficiency has been credited with saving companies millions of dollars annually in operating expenses.
DiMare has worked on more than 300 media projects varying in size from under 10,000 to more than eight million in circulation. He also has designed for the largest media companies in the United States, as well as some of the largest in China, India, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. DiMare has been published more than 50 times and has had numerous articles written about his company and his work. He is the recipient of ING’s Ozzie Newspaper Award. His company, Dario Designs, is ranked by Beldon Research as the world’s best newspaper and media designer/consultant. Prior to forming Dario Designs, DiMare won a competition to design the eastern district headquarters for his employer, the Austin Company, a design-build firm with more than 2,000 employees. More recently, he was responsible for master planning a $4 billion, 30-million-square-foot resort in South Vietnam.
DiMare received a Bachelor of Science cum laude and a Bachelor of Architecture magna cum laude from Kent State. He is a registered architect in 49 U.S. states and is the author of a soon-to-be-published book, “Architecture With Integrity.”
Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m.
The 9 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 14, recognized graduates receiving baccalaureate degrees from the College of Architecture and Environmental Design; College of the Arts; and College of Education, Health and Human Services. The speaker for this ceremony was Kent State alumna Christine A. Plonsky, athletic director for the University of Texas. Plonsky has worked in college athletics since 1976 and is in her 27th year at the University of Texas. Since 2001, she has served as the University of Texas’ third women’s athletics director. Since 1993, she has supervised men’s and women’s athletics revenue areas in sponsorships, TV and trademark licensing. University of Texas athletics supervisors in student services-academics and sports medicine/athletic training also report to her. Plonsky oversees the Longhorn Network, a linear channel collaboration between the University of Texas, multimedia rights agency IMG College and worldwide sports leader ESPN. The Longhorn Network, now in its fifth year, is available to 20 million homes nationwide and features 170 live events annually, including University of Texas academic content.
Plonsky is a USA Basketball board member and a board member emerita of the National Football Foundation/College Football Hall of Fame. She has served on the NCAA Committee on Academic Performance (CAP), the NCAA President’s Task Force on Commercialization and chaired the NCAA Division I Management Council. This summer, Plonsky will become president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. She previously served as NACWAA and NACMA president.
Plonsky also worked at Iowa State University and at the Big East Conference. Born in Pittsburgh and raised in both Greensburg, Pennsylvania, and in Northeast Ohio, Plonsky earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism in 1979 from Kent State, where she was a three-year basketball student-athlete.
Saturday, May 14, 1:30 p.m.
The 1:30 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 14, recognized graduates receiving baccalaureate degrees from the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology; College of Business Administration; and College of Communication and Information. The speaker for this ceremony was V. James DeVincentis, better known as Jim or Jimmy D, owner and managing partner of Pittsburgh-based Przyborski Production Inc., a commercial content production company that focuses primarily on television commercials. DeVincentis earned his Bachelor of Science degree cum laude in 1975 from Kent State with a telecommunications degree in the College of Fine and Professional Arts. After an All-American high school swimming career, he was awarded an athletic scholarship to join Kent State’s swim team. During his tenure, the team went on to win three Mid-American Conference (MAC) titles in 1972, 1973 and 1974. During that time, DeVincentis won a total of 14 MAC titles — seven relay and seven individual. He set seven Kent State school records, seven MAC records and was voted MAC MVP. Additionally, he qualified for the NCAA National Championships all four years. Upon graduation, no swimmer had won more titles in the history of the MAC.
DeVincentis started his career as an account executive for Gateway Broadcasting, selling radio advertising. Since then, he has spent the past 30 years as managing partner at Przyborski Productions, overseeing projects that aired nationally for the likes of AT&T Wireless, Auto Zone and Church’s Chicken. On a regional level, they have produced for Giant Eagle, Allegheny Health Network, Highmark Blue Cross and S&T Bank. Przyborski Productions also owns two U.S. patents on high-definition camera technology, and it stays on the cutting edge of commercial content production with license agreements with SONY, Panasonic and Cannon. DeVincentis has stayed very involved with Kent State since graduation. In 1984, he was inducted into the Kent State Athletic Hall of Fame. He created the “Big Ann” Football Fund athletic endowment to honor his mom, and he currently sits on the National Athletic Development Council board at the university.
His daughters also are carrying on the Golden Flashes tradition as Dina, ’11, and Maria, ’16, are both Kent State graduates. All that know DeVincentis say he bleeds blue and gold. He considers his time as a student-athlete at Kent State the foundation for any success he has achieved both personally and professionally. DeVincentis resides in Peters Township, Pennsylvania, and has been happily married to Georgia (Spanos) for 30 years.
Saturday, May 14, 5:30 p.m.
The 5:30 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 14, recognized graduates receiving baccalaureate degrees from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, College of Public Health and the School of Digital Sciences. The speaker for this ceremony was Earl K. Miller, Ph.D., Picower Professor of Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He received his Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Kent State in 1985 and his Ph.D. in psychology and neuroscience in 1990 from Princeton University. He has academic appointments in the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT.
Miller uses experimental and theoretical approaches to study the neural basis of high-level cognitive functions. His main interest is in executive control. This is the higher-order processing that comes into play when our behavior has to be guided by plans, thoughts and goals. Miller’s laboratory has provided insights into how categories, concepts and rules are learned, how attention is focused, and how the brain coordinates thought and action. This work has established a foundation upon which to construct more detailed, mechanistic accounts of how executive control is implemented in the brain and its dysfunction in conditions such as autism, schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder.
Miller is the recipient of many awards, including the Amar Bose Research Fellowship (2014), the National Institute of Mental Health MERIT Award (2010), the Mathilde Solowey Award in the Neurosciences (2007), election to the International Neuropsychological Symposium (2006), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005), the Picower Chair at MIT (2003), the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award (2000), the Society for Neuroscience Young Investigator Award (2000), the Pew Scholar Award (1996), the John Merck Scholar Award (1996) and the McKnight Scholar Award (1996). He has delivered numerous lectures worldwide, makes frequent media appearances, serves as editor and is on the editorial boards of major journals in neuroscience, as well as on several international advisory boards.
Friday, May 20, 1 p.m.
The ceremony on May 20 at 1 p.m. recognizes graduates receiving their doctoral degrees from the College of Podiatric Medicine. The speaker for the afternoon ceremony is Richard Derner, D.P.M. Derner received a Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine degree from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (now Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine) in 1987. Following graduation, he completed a three-year podiatric surgical residency at Highlands Center Hospital/Doctors Hospital in Denver, Colorado. Derner went on to complete a fellowship in traumatology at Saint Elizabethan Hospital in Ravensburg, Germany. He is board-certified in both foot surgery and reconstructive foot and ankle surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Derner’s research has been published in several podiatric medical and surgical journals, and he frequently lectures at foot and ankle surgery conferences nationwide. Derner also is a section editor for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons’ Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Derner has held various leadership positions in podiatric organizations, including past president of the Northern Virginia Podiatric Medical Association, past president of the Virginia Podiatric Medical Association and immediate past president of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. He is currently in private practice at Associated Foot and Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia.