Kent State Stark Provides Students with 'Hometown Advantage'

The College Credit Plus program introduces students to transformational power of higher education.

Marlington Dukes’ star forward Alivia Lepley knows what it means to have the home-court advantage: everyone is rooting for you. That’s why Lepley’s No. 1 choice for college is Kent State University at Stark, where she’ll have the hometown advantage.
A top-rated, competitive nursing program right in her own backyard? The exceptional program at Kent State Stark will be a win-win for this 2019 Marlington High School graduate, who is used to finishing the season strong. As she begins the next leg of her academic journey, the Marlboro Township athlete says she knows she has found a university where she can develop her purpose and claim her future.
She’ll follow in the footsteps of her sister-in-law, Sierra Lepley, who is a recent graduate of the Stark Campus nursing program. Sierra is now working as a nurse practitioner. 

Alivia Lepley also is sure to meet fellow nursing students like Isabelle Cullen, who traveled to Rwanda this spring as part of faculty-led study abroad. And Lepley says she’s ready for such opportunity, whether that means visiting a foreign country or traveling to America’s Last Frontier, where recent nursing graduate Joel Hukill is making his mark in Alaska as a flight nurse.

Home and away, Kent State Stark provides students the keys to drive their collegiate journey and make it their own. That’s thanks to a world-class education right in Stark County. 
“There are so many opportunities Kent State Stark provides,” Lepley said. “I cannot wait to get started this fall.”

Lepley, who was awarded the university’s Hometown Flash award at the 2019 Best of Stark Preps, is used to juggling rigorous academics; earning college credits while still in high school through the College Credit Plus (CCP) program. 

She was one of the numerous area students taking part in the popular program. This fall, the CCP program at Kent State Stark will enroll more than 900 students – with upward of 600 taking approved courses at their local high schools; nearly 300 will take classes on the Stark Campus.

At 18, Lepley is both an example of ingenuity and perseverance, overcoming an injury – a calcifying bone bruise – to lead the Marlington Dukes during her senior year.

“Experiencing an injury and recovering from that has really inspired me to become a nurse,” she said. “I’d like to go into the orthopedic field and help people get better and be their best selves.”


For more than 70 years, that has been the goal of Kent State Stark – Your Hometown University – providing the community with the education necessary to meet their dreams head-on. 

“We work to change lives through the education we provide. After all, we are Kent State University,” said Dean Denise A. Seachrist, Ph.D. “We are part of a large research institution with world-class faculty and state-of-the-art facilities. We provide the immeasurable value of an affordable, quality education where students can earn a Kent State degree at a fraction of the cost.”

From its humble beginnings in the basement of McKinley High School to a campus with 200 beautiful acres and seven buildings in Jackson Township, Kent State Stark remains deeply committed to all who work, live, learn and play here. 

The transformational power of Kent State has its most significant impact on its students, who can earn a Kent State degree in Stark County.

And the power of a Kent State University degree cannot be denied. Just ask any of the more than 17,000 Kent State alumni who live in Stark County what their degree has meant to them personally and professionally. 
For Lepley, she’s looking forward to earning a Kent State degree while staying home with mom and dad, Brian and Darleen Lepley. As the youngest of three children, she said she knows an advantage when she sees it.

“Kent State Stark gives local students an edge,” Lepley said. “It’s very nice to go to college and still get to stay at home. It really helps that it’s just minutes away and the cost is just so affordable.”

This basketball standout said it’s more than a home-court advantage; it is her hometown advantage.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 10:41 AM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 07:56 AM
Melissa Griffy Seeton