Fall 2016: 1980s


Alumni Association MemberElizabeth Bartz-Chames, BA, MA ’82, Akron, Ohio, President and CEO of State and Federal Communications, endowed a scholarship for graduating seniors from Howland High School who will attend Kent State University at Trumbull in Warren, Ohio. She also received the 2016 PLEN (Public Leadership Education Network) Mentor Award in honor of her commitment to train the next generation of women leaders in public policy careers.

G. Patrick Kelley, BS, Canton, Ohio, was named the 2015 Stark County Hunger Task Force Volunteer of the Year. Kelley oversees the Backpack for Kids program, which provides weekend breakfasts, lunches and snacks for about 600 children who receive free or reduced lunches at school.


Jill Byers, BS, MEd ’88, Wooster, Ohio, wrote: “In April I completed my year as president of the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling. My admissions career traces back to my Kent State Honors College years. During dinners at Dean Ottavio Casale’s house, his wife, Linda, inspired me by telling about her admissions career. Years later I earned an admissions position at Kent State while completing my master’s degree, and I’ve been teaching students across Ohio about college options and opportunities ever since.”

Rebecca (Wolking) Sims, MLS, Papillion, Neb., has accepted the position of library director at Sump Memorial Library in Papillion Nebraska, after 16 years as the director of the Thomas S. Power Library at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Since 2005, Papillion has been listed five times in Money Magazine’s Top 10 Best Places to Live.


Alumni Association MemberKaren (Jones) Bankston, BSN, MSN ’90, Cincinnati, Ohio, has been recognized by the American Nurses Association as a recipient of one of its 2016 National Awards. Bankston, associate dean for clinical practice, partnership and community engagement for the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing, received the Mary Mahoney Award, which recognizes significant contributions to integration within the nursing profession. Bankston also received the 2016 KSU Alumni Association Professional Achievement Award (read more).

Bruce Sekanick, BS, Youngstown, Ohio, was elected to serve as the 2017-2018 secretary of the American Institute of Architects at the 2016 AIA National Convention in Philadelphia in May. He also is the president of the 2016 AIA Ohio Foundation Board of Directors and architect and corporate secretary-treasurer at Phillips/Sekanick Architects Inc. in Warren, Ohio.


Gregory Crawford, BS, MA ’88, PhD ’91, Oxford, Ohio, was named the 22nd president of Miami University, effective July 1, 2016. Formerly he was vice president and associate provost (2015-2016) and dean of the College of Science (2008-2015) at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to Notre Dame, he was dean of engineering (2006-2008) and professor of engineering and physics (1996-2008) at Brown University.

Beth Graham, PhD, Cleveland, Ohio, became the new director of Kent State University’s School of Communication Studies, effective July 1, 2016. Graham recently served as a professor for The University of Akron’s School of Communication; she was the school’s director from 2010-2014.