While Kent State graduates leave the university well-prepared to work in their fields nationally and internationally, their impact across the Northeast Ohio region—and the entire state—cannot be understated.
Fall 2016: 1960s
Janet Snyder Matthews, BS, Sarasota, Fla., received the Senator Bob Williams Award from Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner in May. The award recognizes one public employee each year who has provided exceptional service in historic preservation in the state. Matthews served as the National Park Service’s associate director for cultural resources in Washington, D.C. from 2004-2009. She currently teaches at the University of Florida as the associate scholar in the university’s historic preservation program.
Stephen Hanzely, BS, Youngstown, Ohio, received Youngstown State University’s Heritage Award, which recognizes former faculty and professional/administrative staff who have made major contributions to the university during their years of service.
Thomas Lower, BS, Mentor, Ohio, was the first recipient of Kent State’s G. Harry Wright Scholarship Award for excellence in theatre in 1966. He went on to earn a master’s degree in speech/theatre from DePauw University, and he was the chair of the Speech and Theatre Department at Lakeland Community College from 1968 to 1995. He continues to teach at Lakeland Community College, Lake Erie College, Palm Beach State and Broward College.
Peter Foley, BS, Framingham, Mass., recently was selected to serve a third term on the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. Foley retired from Weston High School (Mass.) in 2007, where he served as athletic director for 26 years and swimming coach for 35 years.
Fall 2016: 1970s
Thomas Grace, BA, Buffalo, NY, is the author of Kent State: Death and Dissent in the Long Sixties, published by the University of Massachusetts Press. The book chronicles the history of the campus antiwar movement, including a chapter on the shootings that claimed four lives in May 1970. Nine students were wounded, including the author. Now an adjunct professor of history in western New York, Grace appeared at recent May 4th commemoration events.
Mark Graeser, BA, Travelers Rest, SC, retired after a career in architecture, sales and marketing. He recently was inducted into the Archbishop Alter High School (Dayton, Ohio) Athletic Hall of Fame.
Estella Hyde, AA, Linesville, Pa., received a national humanitarian award from the National Association of Black Veterans in February. She was honored for multiple endeavors that enabled AARP to enhance inclusion to veterans, especially those from Vietnam and the more recent wars against terrorism. Hyde—a retired professor emeritus from the department of nursing at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a retired major in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps—recently served as AARP’s Regional Volunteer Director and was previously the AARP State President in Pennsylvania.
Roberta Newcomer, MA, PhD ’76, Copley, Ohio, was the 2016 recipient of the Ohio Music Education Association’s Distinguished Service Award, given in January at the Annual OMEA Conference in Cincinnati. This award is the highest honor given by OMEA. Newcomer’s work over the past 25 years with the Ohio Department of Education and OMEA has impacted the lives of countless students and music education professionals.
Carter Strang, BS, MEd ’79, Cleveland, Ohio, received the 2016 Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Alumni Association Outstanding Alumni Award. He is a partner with Tucker Ellis LLP in Cleveland, Ohio. At KSU, Strang was a member of the football and ice hockey teams as well as the Honors College. In 2014 he received the KSU Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award and is a member of the KSU Honors College Advisory Board.
James Wallace, MA ’73, PhD ’74, Canton, N.Y., associate professor of psychology at St. Lawrence University, will retire in 2017, after 40-plus years of teaching developmental psychology. To honor him, one of his former students contributed $2.5 million to establish a professorship in his name.
Richard Breedon, BS, Davis, Calif., wrote: “After working 24 years on the CMS [Compact Muon Solenoid] Experiment at CERN, [the European Organization for Nuclear Research], in Geneva, Switzerland, which announced the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012, I am retiring from UC Davis at the end of June. Next, I will teach physics at Yale-NUS College in Singapore.”
John Martin, BA, London, Ohio, retired from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in 2010 with 30 years’ service. He returned to active duty for five years, then retired from the U.S. Navy in February 2015 after 24 years as an intelligence officer (two jobs overlapped for several years). Martin started a new position with the Village of Mount Sterling [Ohio] as village manager on March 1, 2016.
Sylvia Moore-Davis, BS, Cleveland, Ohio, received a Master of Science in Health Communications from Boston University.
Bryce Wilson, BS, Naples, Fla., was promoted to director of operations for the North Carolina News Network, a division of Curtis Media Group (CMG) based in Raleigh, NC. The network serves 80 radio stations across the Tar Heel State. Wilson has been with CMG since 1984. He was news director for WKSU and WKSR at Kent State from 1975-76.
Fall 2016: 1980s
Elizabeth 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.
Karen (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.
Fall 2016: 1990s
Michael Lanstrum, BS, AS ’88, Cleveland, Ohio, published “Revisiting Equal Sums” in the Ohio Journal of School Mathematics (Spring 2016).
Lynn (Wideman) Eastep, BA, Olmsted Twp., Ohio, was named president of consumer brands for Fathom, a digital marketing agency.
Richard Fabritius, BBA, Smyrna, Ga., was inducted into the 2016 Phi Delta Theta Georgia Alumni Hall of Fame. Fabritius is managing director of Brunner Inc. and serves as Phi Delta Theta General Council President.
Karen Adinolfi, MA, Akron, Ohio, partner at Roetzel & Andress LPA, was elected chair of the Board of Trustees of the Akron Blind Center, a nonprofit organization committed to serving the visually impaired of Summit County and the greater Akron area. Adinolfi also was nominated to the Board of Trustees of the Ohio Women’s Bar Association.
Anita Bradley, BA, Strongsville, Ohio, founder and executive director of the Cleveland-based Northern Ohio Recovery Association, was honored in April by the Obama administration as a “Champion of Change” for her community-and peer-based work in drug and alcohol prevention, treatment and recovery. She also was named a winner of the 2015 Women Who Excel Entrepreneur Award from Smart Business magazine (see feature: Overcoming Addiction).
Todd Brown, BBA, Kent, Ohio, was promoted to vice president of finance by Wayne Homes, an Ohio-based custom home builder that specializes in affordable on-your-lot homes.
Catherine Cardwell, MLS, Youngstown, Ohio, was appointed dean of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She previously served as director of libraries at Ohio Wesleyan University, and before that was a librarian and administrator at Bowling Green State University.
Ted Traut, BS, Copley, Ohio, was elected a shareholder of Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co., LPA, a full-service creditors’ rights law firm. He focuses his practice on general consumer collection matters, with an emphasis on insurance subrogation services, for which he has been recognized in the 2010-11 editions of Ohio Rising Stars.
Kevin Smith, MLS, Lawrence, Kan., was appointed dean for KU Libraries at the University of Kansas, effective May 1, 2016.
Tracy van der Kuil, BA, Ravenna, Ohio, has joined Cleveland-based design firm Richardson Design as a senior designer.
Paul Taylor, BS, BArch, Chagrin Falls, Ohio, has been promoted to principal at Bialosky Cleveland and continues to be one of the architectural firm’s key design leads. His workplace design for MarshBerry Corporation was honored with an IIDA Award for Best Small Corporate Office at the 2015 AIA/IIDA Cleveland Design Awards.
Joseph Salem Jr., MLS, MA ’05, PhD ’14, Akron, Ohio, associate dean for Learning, Undergraduate Services and Commonwealth Campus Libraries, Pennsylvania State University, was one of 28 people selected to participate in the 2016–2017 Leadership Fellows program by the Association of Research Libraries. The program facilitates the development of senior-level leaders in large research libraries and archives.
Fall 2016: 2000s
Marcia Ballinger, MBA, North Ridgeville, Ohio, provost and vice president for learner services at Lorain County Community College, has been named president of the two-year school.
David Dees, PhD, Youngstown, Ohio, has been appointed interim dean and chief administrative officer of the Kent State University Columbiana County campuses, effective July 1. Dees joined Kent State in 1991 and has served as director of Kent State’s Center for Teaching and Learning since 2013.
Brian Meng, BS, BArch ’01, Lakewood, Ohio, has been promoted to senior associate at Bialosky & Partners Architects, where he has been a leading project manager for mixed-use projects such as the award-winning Crocker Park and newly-completed Portage Crossing.
Justin Weese, BS, Landisville, Pa., has joined Godfrey, a nationally ranked business-to-business marketing communications agency, as associate creative director.
Liz Opsitnik, BS, Arlington, Va., is now managing editor, advice products, at U.S. News & World Report. Previously she was deputy managing editor, autos, U.S. News & World Report, and has been with the company since 2011.
Jill Christoff, BA, Lakewood, Ohio, has been promoted to associate at Bialosky Cleveland. She received AIA Cleveland’s Emerging Professional Award in 2013.
Crystal Davis, BA, Twinsburg, Ohio, was hired as the new Cleveland-based policy director for the nonprofit Alliance for the Great Lakes, based in Chicago. She will lead the alliance’s policy and advocacy efforts related to Lake Erie and will manage the Ohio office. Davis spent eight years in government relations with Kent State University, recently serving as the federal relations director for the university’s Office of Government and Community Relations.
Kelly (Sweeney) Stephens, BBA, AA ’01, North Olmsted, Ohio, has been named to the new position of business development director by Sweeney, a leading full-service agency.
Kira Kittoe-Krivosh, BA, Bay Village, Ohio, an assistant prosecuting attorney for the Cuyahoga County Office of the Prosecutor, received the 2016 Northeast Ohio Top 25 Under 35 Movers & Shakers Award from the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club, the longest-running young professional group in Northeast Ohio.
Steven Oluic, PhD, Chardon, Ohio, retired dean of arts and sciences at Lakeland Community College, received a Fulbright Community College Administrators Seminar Award in Russia, as announced by the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.
Janet Gbur, BS, Canfield, Ohio, doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University, co-authored a paper, “Fatigue and Fracture of Wires and Cables for Biomedical Applications,” in International Materials Reviews.
David Berlekamp, BS, MUD and MArch ’09, Cleveland, Ohio, has been promoted to associate at Bialosky Cleveland.
Philip Erb, BS, MUD and MArch ’11, Cleveland, Ohio, has been promoted to associate at Bialosky Cleveland.
Christina (Mastrangelo) Haas, MEd, and John Haas, BA ’05, MEd ’10, Newport, R.I., announce the birth of their son, James Thomas Haas, on March 21, 2016.
Ashley Altiero, BA, Columbus, Ohio, graduated with a master’s degree in counseling from Youngstown State University in 2011. She is employed by Capital University in Bexley, Ohio, where she works as the director of student success and as an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. She is pursuing her Juris Doctor at Capital University Law School and will be getting married in December.
Alan Hipps, BS, MArch ’09, Northfield, Ohio, has been promoted to associate at Bialosky Cleveland. Hipps was named to the 2016 Top 25 Under 35 by the Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club.
Elena Long, MA, PhD ’12, Dover, N.H., is one of the executive committee members on the American Physical Society’s ad hoc committee on LGBT issues. They assembled a new report, “LGBT Climate in Physics,” the first rigorous study of its kind to look at LGBT issues and demographics in the field.
Daniel Alcorn, BGS, AA ’08, Rutland, Vt., wrote: “I was recently promoted to assistant director of enrollment advising for Norwich University’s College of Graduate and Continuing Studies (CGCS). I was also promoted to senior instructor at CGCS, and I have been teaching at Norwich since 2012.”
Tyler Sullivan, BBA, Pewaukee, Wisc., founded Badger CrossFit in 2011, which has become one of the most successful CrossFit gyms in Wisconsin, with over 10,000 square feet, 300-plus members and 10 coaches. The gym earned recognition from Reebok International in 2012 and sent a team to the CrossFit Regionals in 2015.
Fall 2016: 2010s
Anthony Lange, BS, Cleveland, Ohio, sports editor for the Chagrin Valley Times, won first place for sports coverage in the 2016 Hooper Awards contest announced during the annual Ohio Newspaper Association convention in Columbus. He previously took first place for both sports coverage and feature writing in 2014. His father, David Lange, BA ’75, Malvern, Ohio, editor emeritus for the Chagrin Valley Times, won first place for editorial writing in the 2016 Hooper contest—the 16th time that his editorials were judged best among Ohio’s weekly newspapers.
Keirston Swope, BGS, MLIS ’15, Louisville, Ohio, accepted a position in the adult and teen services department at the Louisville Public Library in October 2015.
Amy Alexy, MBA, Akron, Ohio, was promoted to vice president of global talent at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., where she has worked since 2011. She also serves on the board of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and is the 2016 Goodyear United Way chairperson.
Simonne Ronk, MLIS, Dorchester Center, Mass., wrote: “I am employed as an archivist and professor of African American genealogy at the John D. O’Bryant African American Institute at Northeastern University and as generalist librarian at the Boston Public Library.”
Megan Gaffney, MEd, Hudson, Ohio, is the new assistant principal at Saint Joseph Academy, Cleveland, effective July 1, 2016.
Brittany Kinney, BBA, MSA ’13, Kent, Ohio, was promoted to supervisor by Walthall CPAs, a leading regional certified public accounting and business advisory firm.
Cassandra (Beck) Holloway, BS ’12, Willoughby, Ohio, married Adrian (“AJ”) Holloway, BA ’13, on August 29, 2015. Several Kent State grads were in the bridal party. Pictured (front row): Melissa Ludwig, BSN ’13, Emily Horwatt, Katie Taylor, Cassandra (Beck) Holloway, Gia Mauer, Rachael Lyons, BS ’12, Nicole Slat; (back row): Michael Richardson, BBA ’11, John Wheeler, Bob Peternel, AJ Holloway, Vince Hug, Zach Schleyer, Brian Zoeckler, BS ’12.
Timothy Novotny, MA, Coos Bay, Ore., spent 25 years on the journalism side, in broadcast and print, but began putting his new public relations master’s degree to work as communications coordinator at Bay Area Hospital (Coos Bay, Ore.) in September 2015.
Carissa Klein, BBA, Canton, Ohio, is the new recruiting coordinator for Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A.
Stephanie Rex, MA, Pittsburgh, Pa., was hired as vice president of marketing, public relations and social media for Z Brand Group, an award-winning advertising and marketing agency located in downtown Pittsburgh.
Clayton Ruminski, MLIS, Hubbard, Ohio, wrote: “I will be releasing my first book, Iron Valley: The Transformation of the Iron Industry in Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, 1802-1913, with The Ohio State University Press in spring 2017. Also, I accepted an archives specialist position at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware, starting in April 2016.”
Kaila Unger, BBA, Lakewood, Ohio, joined as an associate at the Cleveland office of Walthall CPAs, a leading regional certified public accounting and business advisory firm.
Fall 2016: In Memory
The little sunburst denotes an Alumni Association member. For a list of life members, visit www.ksualumni.org/lifemembers.
Marjorie Corell ’38, October 25, 2015
Helen Greene ’42, July 25, 2015
James Carson ’43, March 29, 2016
Lorin Correll ’45, July 1, 2015
S. Lee Hope ’47, January 31, 2016
Robert Bader ’48, January 30, 2016
William Cady ’48, January 4, 2015
Audrie La Towsky ’48, December 30, 2015
George Davis ’49, March 29, 2016
Robert Evans ’49, January 27, 2016
Paul Watson ’49, August 11, 2014
Irene Cross ’50, August 25, 2015
George Hettinger ’50, November 9, 2014
William Shie ’50, August 16, 2014
Theodore Sudia ’50, April 15, 2015
Rose Beck ’52, March 31, 2014
Edward Bednarz ’52, July 11, 2015
J. Quentin Jones ’52, March 9, 2016
Mae (Scheuffler) Otting ’52, March 15, 2016
George Weiss ’52, February 11, 2016
Leslie Zorge ’52, April 17, 2016
Edwin Bonebrake ’53, October 25, 2014
Albert Hales ’53, July 14, 2014
John Shaheen ’53, January 7, 2016
Clyde Slyman ’54, June 26, 2014
Irwin Solomon ’54, June 1, 2014
Yvonne Thomas Ezzie ’54, MEd ’72, December 19, 2014
Steve Turchik ’54, December 30, 2015
Patricia Belaney ’55, April 26, 2016
Roger Vinck ’55, November 19, 2014
Robert Knapp ’56, November 9, 2015
Richard Velzy ’56, December 21, 2015
Lee Aldrich ’57, April 26, 2015
John Jackson ’57, April 5, 2014
Michael McDonnell ’57, March 5, 2016
Patricia Stimac ’57, March 30, 2016
Edward Galloway ’59, February 27, 2016
Blanford Fuller ’58, MA ’68, October 30, 2012
Joyce Flowers ’60, September 6, 2015
Linda Klein ’61, September 13, 2015
David Meeker ’61, May 23, 2016
Fred Di Lullo ’62, November 16, 2015
Edward Zawada ’62, December 17, 2015
John Bianchi ’63, August 1, 2015
Jean Herritt ’63, February 15, 2016
Robert Householder ’63, November 30, 2014
Gerald Nowak ’63, April 26, 2016
Sigrid Wagner ’63, February 26, 2016
John Batchelor ’64, January 10, 2016
Margaret Comrie ’64, January 20, 2016
Ruth Paton ’64, April 20, 2016
David Scullin ’64, December 25, 2015
Alba Urban ’64, February 1, 2015
Franklin De Marco ’65, March 13, 2016
Ava La Rocca ’65, April 1, 2014
Dorothy Mansfield ’65, September 27, 2014
James Price ’65, January 15, 2015
Ronald Deibel ’66, January 8, 2016
Veronica Turner ’66, December 26, 2014
Ralph Gordon ’66, August 31, 2015
Anton Habenschuss ’66, October 26, 2015
Ellen Kidder ’66, January 28, 2016
Eugene Landis ’66, March 17, 2016
Byron Worster ’66, February 12, 2016
Frederick Albrecht ’67, February 5, 2016
Dorothy Cliffel ’67, May 23, 2015
Jacalyn Dann ’68, March 14, 2016
Robert Kimmell ’68, October 23, 2015
Carol Kuhaneck ’68, March 30, 2016
Harry Ferares ’70, February 12, 2015
Donald Kaminski ’70, July 12, 2015
Marilyn Rosenstein ’70, February 2, 2015
Joyce Whalen ’70, May 17, 2015
William Wright ’70, June 8, 2015
Gerald Hannum ’71, January 9, 2016
Charles Berty ’72, June 21, 2015
Ernestine Lee ’72, February 8, 2016
Warren Mason ’72, November 24, 2014
Richard Marsh ’73, March 24, 2016
Patrick Mastrangelo ’73, August 9, 2014
Gary Raber ’73, December 26, 2015
William Spaninger ’73, April 13, 2015
Kathryn (Lewis) Walker, MEd ’73, December 16, 2015
Sharon Farley ’74, September 26, 2015
John Payak ’74, October 2, 2015
Everett Dennison ’75, January 22, 2016
Teddy Eagon ’75, March 29, 2014
James Lieteau ’75, November 7, 2015
Sharan Mansfield ’75, September 25, 2015
Frederick Rubin ’76, October 6, 2015
Thomas Berg ’77, June 10, 2014
Barbara Hawkins ’77, March 8, 2016
James Hildebrand ’77, July 4, 2015
Raymond Kujala ’77, June 8, 2015
Charles Lewis ’77, March 11, 2014
Maxine Seibel ’77, February 29, 2016
Denise Roggenbuck ’78, January 19, 2016
Russell Pry ’80, July 31, 2016
Krissann Torok ’80, January 29, 2016
Carol Cornell ’81, January 7, 2016
Martha Meekins ’81, January 28, 2016
Mary Ann Hays ’82, March 4, 2016
Nancy Tasseff ’82, August 29, 2015
Betty Kisel ’83, June 1, 2014
Bradley Eppinger ’84, January 17, 2014
Todd Aughinbaugh ’85, October 1, 2014
Ronald Brown ’86, January 5, 2015
Tammi Siss ’86, November 26, 2015
John Kraig ’87, August 10, 2015
Paul Zoller ’87, February 13, 2016
N. Russel Blosser ’88, February 20, 2016
Debbie Gass ’88, September 21, 2015
Pamela Slater ’88, January 21, 2015
Charlotte Douglas ’89, February 29, 2016
Kathleen Hogan ’89, June 3, 2015
Jerry Snyder ’89, December 17, 2014
Mary Sealy ’92, March 2, 2016
Kelly Thomas ’92, April 4, 2015
Diane Nims ’93, December 12, 2014
David Gonzalez ’94, July 7, 2014
Randall Chapman ’95, January 5, 2015
Keven Hutner ’96, November 27, 2014
Teresa Davies Johns ’96, March 12, 2015
Renee Richards ’96, August 1, 2015
Andrea Rakocy Burton ’98, October 27, 2015
Debra McFadden ’98, December 30, 2015
Kenneth Howard ’99, March 23, 2016
Brad Forster ’00, March 24, 2016
Tiffany Gerber ’00, April 2, 2016
Martha Morgan ’00, December 3, 2015
Linda Robertson ’05, April 8, 2016
Christine Campbell ’07, December 2, 2015
Kelli Cwiklinski ’11, November 25, 2015
Nicholas Limpose ’11, December 14, 2014
Benjamin Rizzo ’14, March 11, 2016
Brian Petras ’15, January 23, 2016
James Smith ’15, February 18, 2016
Andreas Diamantopoulos ’17, February 28, 2016
Dylan Stone ’19, March 11, 2016
H. David Mohan, MA ’94, former dean of the Geauga Campus and Twinsburg Academic Center, November 22, 2015
Rozell Duncan, PhD ’96, assistant professor at KSU’s School of Communication Studies, August 15, 2016
Ted Rounds, associate professor at KSU’s School of Music, August 24, 2016
Sharing the Love
Meet the 7 winners of the 2016 Kent State Alumni Award.
Josh Cribbs, BS ’10
North Royalton, Ohio
Former Cleveland Browns receiver and returner
Josh Cribbs wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Marine or a police officer when he grew up. Instead, he became what many consider one of the greatest return specialists in NFL history.
A four-year starter as quarterback for the Kent State University Golden Flashes, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns in 2005 and earned the team’s MVP title in 2009. He went on to play for the Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts, and he is a 3x NFL Pro Bowler. Inducted into the Kent State Varsity “K” Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011, he returned to Kent State this October as the 2016 Homecoming Parade Grand Marshal.
“I became who I am as an adult through Kent State,” Cribbs says. “I was honored to be the Grand Marshal and represent the university in this fashion.”
He met his wife, Maria, at Kent State’s annual Renaissance Ball and married her eight months later, in 2002. They have two children and go back to Kent as much as possible for Homecoming, basketball games and other events. He claims his family as his greatest life accomplishment.
Cribbs started a flag football league in spring 2016, to give kids another outlet besides playing contact football and risking concussions at a young age. “I’m trying to teach them to be student athletes and have motivation,” he says. “That is rewarding for me.”
We asked him to share some lessons he learned while at Kent State.
To make the most of life:
Be diligent. Don’t take life for granted. My coach at Kent State, Mike Drake, passed away in 2005. He had a passion for the game of football, and his coaching inspired me to do better and want to do better.
Take advantage of opportunities. [Civil rights activist] Whitney M. Young said, “It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” I trained all the time like I was getting drafted—I wasn’t drafted, but I was able to be selected as a free agent in the Browns minicamp, and I took full advantage of that opportunity.”
Finish what you start. I went back to Kent, took the three classes I had left and graduated. Now I talk to kids in the community about being a student athlete and finishing what they start.
Jennifer Coken, BA ’85, MA ’87
Author, life coach, speaker, voice-over talent, CEO of Embrace the Ridiculousness of Life!
Jen Coken spent six years on the stand-up comedy circuit in Denver, but even her sense of humor was challenged when her mother, Jan Storti, PhD ’99, was dying from ovarian cancer in 2011. That same year Coken’s marriage ended, and she lost 11 other people in her life. Death forced her to face a harsh reality: So often you want to control life, and the truth is you can’t.
“To find true peace, you must come to terms with people and situations as they are, not as you wish them to be,” says Coken. “I learned how to laugh and love myself no matter how dark things seem.”
She writes about coping with her mother’s diagnosis and death in her first book, When I Die, Take My Panties: Turning Your Darkest Moments Into Your Greatest Gifts (2016), fulfilling a promise she’d made to her mom that her death would make as big a difference as her life. Besides educating women about the early signs of ovarian cancer, Coken hopes her message helps people keep their sense of humor and sense of self, no matter what.
For the past 20 years—while she also worked as a political activist—her coaching seminars have helped thousands of people break through their self-made limitations. With the launch of her book and her new company, Embrace the Ridiculousness of Life!, Coken continues to help others navigate challenging times through workshops, coaching and other events.
We asked her how to keep moving forward despite life’s roadblocks.
To transform tragedy:
Face the hard stuff. Experience your emotions instead of numbing yourself with shopping, drinking, drugs, isolating, burying yourself in work, etc. If you don’t deal with what is happening now, you will have to deal with it at some point.
Create community. We usually don’t want to burden anyone, but it’s okay to ask a friend to tell you a silly joke or remind you of how much you are loved and appreciated.
Take back your power. Don’t be a victim. Blaming yourself, someone else or your circumstances will leave you powerless. Instead, ask yourself: “What am I holding on to that I am willing to let go of?”
Move past “why me?” Have it over for a drink or dinner, but don’t let “why me?” spend the night or you will regret it in the morning. A better question is: “What can I learn from what is happening around me?”
Send Us Your Class Note
We’d love to hear from you!
To share your news, complete the form at www.ksualumni.org/classnotes (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: May 30
Spring: September 30
Summer: January 31
While Kent State graduates leave the university well-prepared to work in their fields nationally and internationally, their impact across the Northeast Ohio region—and the entire state—cannot be understated.
For nearly 15 years, alumni and friends have come together to uplift their local communities and those in our Golden Flash family during a day of service. Kent State has since transformed that one-day tradition into a weeklong initiative called Flashes Give Back Week.
Working It: Each year, Kent State graduates more than 10,000 students with degrees that empower them to become productive members of the workforce or find career enhancement with an advanced degree.
An Open Door to Health and Well-Being
Choosing among the many m
The Future of Aviation
There was a time when small passenger air vehicles, or sky taxis, as depicted in the popular 1962 cartoon show The Jetsons, were a concept far in the future. However, in 2023 Kent State is taking a leading role in Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), a system of highly automated electric vehicles that transport people or cargo with an emphasis on safety and sustainability.
A shared passion for aviation has led both a daughter and her dad to enroll at Kent State’s College of Aeronautics and Engineering