Alumni Life

2020 Alumni Awards


Sponsored by Kent State Alumni Association, the Alumni Awards are the university’s most prestigious honors given to alumni. The association is proud to recognize this year’s esteemed recipients.

Judge Annalisa Stubbs Williams, BA ’77, Akron, Ohio

Distinguished Alumni Award

Judge Annalisa Stubbs Williams, BA ’77, Akron, Ohio 

Akron Municipal Court Judge

In her role as the administrative judge of the Akron Municipal Mental Health Court, Judge Williams shows compassion and provides encouragement for people with mental health issues. In 2015, she created the Peace of Mind program, which helps female defendants dealing with trauma.

“If you want to live a positive life, you can’t have a negative mindset. I have learned that you can always achieve more than you believe is possible.”

Nicholas E. PhillipsDistinguished Citizen Award 

Nicholas E. Phillips, BA ’70, North Royalton, Ohio

Attorney and Colonel USAF/JAG (Ret.)

Following active service with the Air Force, Phillips opened a private law practice in North Royalton. He has held presidential positions with his local Bar Association and Chamber of Commerce and has served his local school board for 12 years. One of his greatest accomplishments was founding the North Royalton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a group of volunteers trained and equipped to assist local police and fire departments in case of a large-scale emergency.

“With the leadership skills that I learned at Kent State, I was able to make myself useful to our community throughout my career.”

Timothy F. Feltes, MD,  BS ’77, Asheville, NC

Professional Achievement Award 

Timothy F. Feltes, MD,  BS ’77, Asheville, NC

Former Pediatric Professor and Senior Vice Chair, The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Dr. Feltes has been a pioneer in advances in pediatric cardiology, a visiting professor and lecturer in more than 30 countries, and he has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts and chapters. For nearly 20 years, he was a pediatric professor and senior vice chair at The Ohio State University and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, prior to his retirement in July.

“I was able to pursue my passion at Kent State, and my educators supported me at a time that I questioned my own abilities.”

Terese Volk Tuohey, PhD ’93,

Professional Achievement Award

Terese Volk Tuohey, PhD ’93, White Lake, Mich.

Associate Professor Emerita, Music Education, Wayne State University

Dr. Tuohey taught both graduate and undergraduate courses in instrumental music teacher education at Wayne State; prior to that she taught instrumental music education at public schools and other colleges.  Her Kent State dissertation, A History of Multicultural Music Education in the United States, 1900-1990, is still a benchmark for educators studying multiculturalism, world music and diversity in the music classroom. She has written several books and published papers on historical research and ethnomusicology, which she has presented at state, national and international conferences. 

“[Having a PhD] gave me a lot of credence. It helped a lot at the many conferences I attended.”

Stephanie Sweany, BS ’05,

Kent State Advocacy Award 2020

Stephanie Sweany, BS ’05, Canton, Ohio

Assistant Director, Stark County Hunger Task Force

In addition to her full-time job fighting hunger, Sweany also volunteers with many organizations. She is the vice president of Kent State’s Stark County Alumni Chapter and one of her favorite chapter events is the Stark County Clothing Drive, which collects professional clothing for students to wear for interviews and internships. She started the Canton Kindness Coalition in November 2018 and plans to start other chapters across the state to “make the world a kinder place, one community at a time.”

“There is no limit to how much you can give back to your community. Lifting up the folks in your community who need it the most makes your community stronger.”

Justin Rudy Gleason, BS ’16, MBA ’18, MArc ’18,

Outstanding New Professional Award

Justin Rudy Gleason, BS ’16, MBA ’18, MArc ’18, Lakewood, Ohio

Director of Operations, DS Architecture

In his full-time role at DS Architecture, Gleason oversees five studio directors and six production staff and facilitates continued growth of the firm. In addition, he serves as the Chief Design Officer for a medical device startup, Case.MD, and volunteers with the Kent Junior Chamber of Commerce. 

“The business strategy class I took with Dr. Ilgaz Arikan changed my life and the way I think about things. His class is probably why I’m in the business position I am today.”

Kayla Marker, BA ’21, MPH ’22, Palmyra, NY

Golden Flash Award

Kayla Marker, BA ’21, MPH ’22, Palmyra, NY 

Bachelor of Arts in Criminology & Justice Studies and Psychology, minor in Forensic Anthropology; Master of Public Health in health policy and management

After her graduation, she hopes to work for Child Protective Services and start a nonprofit in mental health or go into mental health legislation. She is also a Kent State of Wellness Student Ambassador, leader of the Student Mental Health Coalition and undergraduate research assistant in the Center for Public Policy and Health. At Kent State she started a chapter of Active Minds, a nonprofit national organization dedicated to raising mental health awareness among college students.

“It’s important to understand your opinions, stick to your morals and stay true to yourself. Find something you truly believe in and advocate for that.”

See full bios and videos of the 2020 Alumni Award recipients.

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POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2020 11:31 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2023 04:43 PM