Lindsay Zimmerman, Michael Wheeler named Kent State Stark Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Local philanthropist Lindsay Zimmerman and Michael Wheeler, president and chief legal officer of Patriot Software, were named Distinguished Alumni Award recipients at Kent State University at Stark’s recent 75th anniversary celebration.

“We are so proud of all that Lindsay and Mike have accomplished,” said Dean Denise A. Seachrist, Kent State Stark’s dean and chief administrative officer. “They exemplify the mission of our campus, which brings the power of Kent State University home to our local community. We provide the foundation for not only academic success, but for a successful future that is boundless.”

Lindsay Zimmerman

Lindsay Zimmerman is no stranger to giving back to the community, where she volunteers her time and her talent to making Canton and Stark County a wonderful place to call home. 

As founder of the Canton Heart Guild, she works to foster awareness of programs at the Canton Museum of Art, welcoming the younger generation and providing them with an opportunity to be involved as advocates of arts and culture in Stark County.

A Jackson High School graduate, Zimmerman chose to stay close to home for her first two years of college, attending our campus before finishing her degree at the Kent Campus in 2003.  There, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.

Upon graduation, Zimmerman was hired at Aultman Hospital, where she worked in human resources, education and development and community relations. In 2011, she left Aultman to spend more time with her daughter, Stella, and pursue her passion as a volunteer in the community, fundraising for many local charities and organizations.

In addition to her work with the Canton Museum of Art, some of Zimmerman’s notable charitable and philanthropic roles include:  

  • As a member of the Women’s Board of Aultman Hospital, she has served as co-chair for the Angel Auction, its signature fundraising event, which has raised over $28 million to benefit life-changing medical care that has impacted patients, families and the entire community. 
  • Elevating the arts in Stark County, she serves on boards for the Patina Arts Center and the Canton Ballet, where she worked to establish its Red Velvet Party Fundraiser. She also has helped raise funds for Quest Recovery Services and the Stark County Library.
  • Zimmerman has also served: on the JRC Women in History Luncheon Committee and as a former Women in History Luncheon co-chair; as a member of the Artful Living Advisory Board; and she is a supporter of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women.

Zimmerman and her husband, Brian, along with their daughter, reside in Jackson Township. 

Michael Wheeler

Michael Wheeler has become synonymous with Patriot Software Company, a local success that has reached the national stage.  But Wheeler also has walked the halls of his Hometown University, where he was a full-time CCP student during his senior year at Jackson High School.

A licensed attorney in the State of Ohio and a businessman at heart, Wheeler has an eye on helping the region whenever he can. This is a true hallmark of the county’s public university, which strives to lift local communities through a quality and affordable education. 

At Patriot Software, Wheeler is president and chief legal officer, also serving as president of the Board of Directors. He runs all operations and customer-facing experiences. He is in charge of all financial, legal, anti-fraud, banking, audit, insurance, and hiring. Patriot Software offers fully online payroll, accounting, time and attendance, and human resources support for American businesses and their accountants.

Some of Wheeler’s other notable successes include:

  • Closing a Series A strategic stock sale with RZC Investments, the investment arm for the Walton family in 2021.
  • Raising tens of millions of dollars through Private Stock Offerings to about 100 high net-worth investors — almost entirely here in the Stark County region.
  • In 2019, he managed every detail of the eight-figure sale of Top Echelon Software to private equity, overseeing the spin-off of FoxHire, LLC.  He also handled the donation of Career Marketplace, LLC, to a local nonprofit — keeping every single job right here in Stark County.

Wheeler also gives back to the community through his volunteer work. He is the youngest ever to serve as director on the board of the publicly traded Consumers National Bank of Minerva. 

He also has served on the boards of the Stark County YMCA, Canton Regional Chamber Education Committee, and the Stark County Library Foundation. He has volunteered extensively on missions across four continents, specifically working with orphanages, victims of human trafficking, and non-governmental organizations in Asia, Central America, and throughout Africa.

Wheeler comes back to campus frequently. He and his wife, Jo, and their three sons enjoy living at Lake Cable.

POSTED: Monday, April 25, 2022 - 3:17pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 25, 2022 - 3:34pm
Melissa Griffy Seeton