Leadership Update

Dear Members of the University Community,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Ward as Kent State University’s next vice president for university communications and marketing. As a key member of the senior leadership team, he will lead the university’s overall communications, branding and marketing efforts and direct the Division of University Communications and Marketing (UCM). He joins Kent State on July 1, 2022.

Stephen WardStephen’s breadth of experience and impressive accomplishments, including most recently as vice president for communications and marketing at Hawaii Pacific University, demonstrate his impact as an innovative, collaborative leader. He has also served in university communication leadership roles at Grand Valley State University, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Among other roles, Stephen spent five years on Capitol Hill on the staffs of two U.S. representatives from Michigan. Throughout his career, he has led the development and execution of successful core messaging, branding and marketing strategies that have advanced institutional missions and priorities.

His appointment follows a national search chaired by Peggy Shadduck, Ph.D., vice president for Regional Campuses and dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies. Our thanks to the colleagues who served as members of the search committee and to the many staff, faculty and students who participated in campus interviews in December.

As a university community, we owe a debt of gratitude to Rebecca Murphy for her leadership and dedication as interim vice president since January 2020. She will continue to serve in this capacity through June 30, after which she will return to her position as senior associate vice president for strategic communications and external affairs. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Rebecca and the talented UCM team for providing effective, timely communications throughout the pandemic along with supporting the ongoing communications and marketing needs of a large, complex university system.

I look forward to working with all of you as we tell the many compelling stories of Kent State and enhance our effectiveness and profile as an award-winning, student-ready university dedicated to access and completion for all.


Todd Diacon

POSTED: Tuesday, January 11, 2022 - 3:03pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, January 12, 2022 - 2:18pm
Todd Diacon, President