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Advancement News

From Vice President Gene Finn: Your Passions Drive Faculty and Staff Campaign

Posted Apr. 8, 2011

Philanthropy is a personal thing.

Few donors to Kent State give merely for tax reasons, or for recognition in a publication, or for access to an event. They give because of their passions — because they see a need and know that they can make a difference in the lives of a student, or a faculty or staff member.

For example, at November’s Founders Gala, Judy Devine, our senior associate athletic director emerita, explained that she contributes to Kent State in honor of her experiences during her 31 years as a staff member, but also to address student issues that remain important to her today. In last week’s e-Inside, Debra Drake, assistant to President Lefton, talked about how her giving is directed by her love for the university that developed when she was a student, the parent of two students, and a staff member.

As a donor myself, I contribute to the Last Dollar Scholarship, which provides aid to students who are facing financial difficulties and who have exhausted all other options. My giving stems from my belief in the importance of student support, and in providing the next generation with the same opportunities that were afforded to me.

Judy, Debra and I are three very different people — but we each love Kent State, and contribute because we want to create a stronger university.

There are many compelling reasons to support the annual Faculty and Staff Campaign. You may have read the recent story about Kenneth Smith, the College of Technology student who was the first recipient of our student-philanthropy Campaign for Change Scholarship. Kenneth had reached a point when he was going to have to drop out of school in order to pursue a full-time job to help his family. The scholarship — which has been supported by a number of faculty and staff members, in addition to students — made the difference in ensuring he can continue on the path to achieving his higher-education dreams.

The Faculty and Staff Campaign provides all of us the chance to envision how we can build a better Kent State — to examine the areas on campus that could be strengthened with our support, and then make a gift that will make a difference.

Over the next few weeks, I encourage you to look around your department, your school, your campus. Are there students whose future could be secured with scholarship support? Is there a program that could take flight with additional funding? Is there a faculty member’s research that’s poised to transform our knowledge?

Whatever your reason, every gift has an impact, no matter how large or small. And contributing is so simple. You can give via check or credit card, or you can donate as I do, through payroll deduction. Those smaller gifts over 12 months add up to a significant contribution.

You can learn more and make your gift or pledge by visiting

And thank you for all you do, every day, to build the future of Kent State.