Alumni Life

Spring/Summer 2018

Dorn Wenninger, BA ’91, began the 2018 World Challenge Marathon in Novo, Antarctica, on Jan. 30, 2018. Photo Credit: World Marathon Challenge

Going the Distance

Running long distances is nothing new for Dorn Wenninger, BA ’91. His parents worked on the Kent Campus and would bring him to the track, where he developed a love of running that has taken him all over the world. 

After finishing first place in the 14th Annual North Pole Marathon in 2016, he recently completed the 2018 World Marathon Challenge, running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. 

From January 30 to February 5, he spent 52.25 hours flying by charter plane and 31 hours running full marathons for a total of 183.4 miles in Novo (Antarctica), Cape Town (Africa), Perth (Australia), Dubai (Asia), Lisbon (Europe), Cartagena (South America) and Miami (North America). He finished ninth among the 35 men competing in the challenge (12 women also competed).

Currently the vice president of perishables for Walmart Mexico, he says he was inspired to run the marathons by his desire to explore the world and to raise money and awareness for Amigos de las Américas (AMIGOS), an international nonprofit that develops young leaders through volunteer abroad programs in Latin America.

Mr. Wenninger — who majored in Spanish and international relations, and also served as president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the Interfraternity Council — credits Kent State for influencing his life and helping his career. “I speak Spanish all day at work and couldn’t do my job without it.” 

During his junior year, he received the Time and Volkswagen College Achievement award and a $3,000 scholarship as one of 20 outstanding collegians nationwide, recognized for community work, university service and academic record. In high school and college, he volunteered as a staff member of AMIGOS (which has an Ohio chapter in Kent), helping direct programs in Mexico, Ecuador and Costa Rica. He attended graduate school in Mexico and has lived, worked and traveled in 99 countries. 

“My two daughters are being raised in a global environment,” he says. “I like that they see the world as a place to be explored.”

—Adapted from a story by Hannah Coleman, BS 18

Black Alumni Chapter members pose for a group photo at their meet & greet.

Central Ohio Alumni Chapter members enjoy a tailgate before a Kent State vs Ohio State baseball game in Columbus.

5 Things to Know About Alumni Chapters

Thousands of students leave Kent State with a high-quality education and the tools to build a successful future. Some graduates stay in Northeast Ohio, while others pursue their careers worldwide. As alumni move all over, you can easily lose contact with your classmates and the university. But thanks to 11 alumni chapters—both regional and interest-based—you can keep connected to each other and Kent State. 

Interested? Here’s more information: 

1. You don’t have to live near Kent to be a part of an alumni chapter. Chapters exist all over Ohio and out of state, too. One of our newest alumni chapters is in Cleveland, and there are also chapters in Arizona, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Southern California.  

2. You can participate in a variety of fun chapter events. From watch parties to behind-the-scenes tours, alumni chapters host some of the best events. For example, the Central Ohio Alumni Chapter hosts alumni and friends at a KSU vs OSU baseball game every spring. The group tailgates before heading into the stadium for the ball game. Such events are a great way to meet and reminisce with fellow graduates.  

3. You can help provide scholarships for students. Many chapters have created their own scholarships. Last year, alumni chapters gave out a total of $16,250 in scholarships to help students earn their degrees and achieve their dreams. 

4. You will have great volunteer opportunities. Alumni volunteers are proud graduates! Volunteering is a chance to give back to your alma mater and show your Kent State pride. Chapters offer alumni volunteers—local and worldwide—opportunities to connect with KSU current students and fellow alumni who are committed to supporting the university.

5. You can connect online. Social media is a great way to connect with chapters. Most chapters have Facebook pages so you can stay current on chapter news and events. 

—Ashley Whaley, BS ’06, MEd ‘12 

To learn more about alumni chapters, visit or call the Kent State University Alumni Association at 888-320-KENT (5368).  

Bonnie Beachy, BS ’82

A Golden Legacy

In the Memorial Athletic Conference Center (MAC Center) on February 24, 1982, Bonnie Beachy, BS ’82 became the first basketball player at Kent State University to have a jersey retired. The ceremony took place following the last game of her senior year among a crowd of more than 4,000 attendees. It was an appropriate homage for the Golden Flash legend, whose coach, Laurel Wartluft, described her as “the finest woman basketball player in Kent State history.” She still holds the Kent State basketball all-time leading scorer record (2,071 points)—among both men and women—more than 35 years after she set it. 

Being the first basketball player to have her number retired was just one of many firsts Ms. Beachy brought to Kent State. She led the Lady Flashes to a MAC Championship title in 1981 and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in basketball in 1982—both new accomplishments for the university.  

Her jersey number was the foreboding 13, but her athletic career was anything but unlucky. During her time at Kent State University, the star forward held or shared an astounding 23 school records. 

Although well known for her basketball talent, her athletic prowess was not limited to one sport. The Golden Flash was a rare two-sport Division I athlete, and she earned seven varsity letters, including four for basketball and three for tennis. She was also inducted into the Kent State Varsity “K” Hall of Fame in 1988. 

After graduating from Kent State in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, Ms. Beachy went on to become a teacher and coach in Texas. She was devoted to her students and players, and she was an advocate for rescue animals.  

In 2013, she returned to Kent State University as a speaker for the 12th annual Starner Distinguished Speaker Series and shared a message with current student-athletes on lessons learned through her life and athletic career. In her keynote address—“The Fight”—she explained that moments we view as a win or a loss in our early lives are preparing us to overcome challenges we may face later. It was a powerful lesson, one she put into practice as she battled ovarian cancer for more than 12 years. 

Ms. Beachy passed away on October 13, 2017, but her legacy lives on at Kent State University. Her retired jersey remains in the rafters of the MAC Center, a symbol of the pioneering female student-athlete who championed a golden age of basketball for the Golden Flashes. 

—Bethany Sava, BS ’12

Send Us Your Class Note

We’d love to hear from you! 

To share your news, complete the form at (you may include an image in JPEG, GIF or PNG format) or write Kent State University Alumni Association, Center for Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242.

Limit your notes to 100 words or less and include your class year, city, state and degree(s). Notes may be edited for length or clarity and published as space allows.

Deadlines for submissions:
Fall: March 31
Winter: July 31
Spring/Summer: November 30

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UPDATED: Sunday, June 23, 2024 10:25 AM
POSTED: Tuesday, May 29, 2018 03:48 PM