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KSU Alumnus, Ann Wagnitz, Supports Tomorrow’s Educators

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(Left to right: Ann Wagnitz and Jessica Pugliese)

Being a full-time student, wife and mother to a two-year-old is challenging. But Kent State University student, Jessica Pugliese, still anticipates graduating in Spring 2015. Jessica's hard work and dedication to her future are two reasons her goal is in sight. But another tremendous factor of her success is the scholarships she has received from Kent State University, made possible by the generosity of donors like Kent State alumna, (Katharine) Ann Wagnitz.

Jessica, who is the first in her family to attend college, is majoring in mathematics in the College of Education, Health, and Human Services, and hopes to teach high school math. She is extremely grateful for the scholarships she has received, including the Katharine Ann Wagnitz Scholarship.

Well into her college career, this is the first semester Jessica has received scholarships.

"When I found out I was awarded Ann's scholarship, I danced around my kitchen," Jessica said. "My student loans will be staggering when I'm finished. This scholarship – and the Alumni scholarship I'm also receiving – will help lessen that burden."

Jessica is a non-traditional student. Her husband works full-time on third shift so that he can take care of the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Charlotte, as much as possible while Jessica attends class. It has been a long, demanding road for Jessica, but now that she can see the light at the end of the tunnel she is anxious to finish. So anxious, in fact, that she met the requirements and received the necessary authorization to take a course overload during the Fall 2013 semester – 18 hours – while also tackling her student teaching shadowing requirement. She willingly took on this overload to ensure she is ready to complete her student teaching assignment in Spring 2015.

Ann was also a dedicated student. She loved her classes, and remembers the many hours she spent in the old library (which now houses the Fashion School and the Kent State University Museum). Ann graduated from Kent State in 1969 with a Bachelor's of Science in Education, minoring in Speech, and also graduated in 1979, with a Master's of Education in Library/Media. Ann had a very successful 30-year teaching career in media, speech, English, theatre and library science in the Berea City School District, Polaris Joint Vocational School and the Akron City Schools. Currently, Ann enjoys instructing adults in new media technology.

Kent State helped Ann thrive in her career, and giving back was important to her. She has included Kent State in her will through Kent State's Center for Gift and Estate Planning program, and this will establish support for students through a scholarship. But in addition to leaving a Kent State legacy, Ann also wanted to also do something now, so she can see for herself the effect her gifts are having. That is why she also established the Katharine Ann Wagnitz Scholarship.

Jessica and Ann recently met for the first time. Jessica is the first student recipient of her scholarship that Ann has been able to meet face-to-face, and it was a fulfilling meeting for both.

"I'm so thankful you wanted to meet me," Jessica told Ann. "It means a lot to me to be able to say 'Thank you' in person to you. People like you are so important. You don't know how much this assistance means to me and my family."

Ann is grateful as well. She is grateful that she can help lessen the load for students by supporting them through her scholarships. And she also appreciated the opportunity to meet Jessica. Throughout the meeting, the expression on Ann's face was clear – tremendous joy in knowing the impact she is making on Jessica's and other students' lives.

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To find out how you could contribute to or establish a scholarship and have a tremendous, lasting impact on students' lives, please contact the Kent State University office of Institutional advancement at 330-672-2222, or email advancement@kent.edu.