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Advancement News

'Providing the Excellence Agenda Foundation': A Message from President Lefton

Posted Jan. 22, 2010

Happy New Year from Kent State — I hope the start of 2010 is treating you and your family well. Here at the university, this year is especially momentous as we continue the 100th anniversary celebration of our founding.

Just a few months ago, in October, we launched the public phase of our Centennial Campaign, which is raising funds to support our aggressive, action-oriented Excellence Agenda. At the event, I asked attendees to close their eyes and imagine a more vibrant and accessible Kent State, an expanding body of talented and academically motivated students, and future alumni who will be trailblazers in fields that do not even exist yet. I also asked them to imagine what it will take to help our students realize their dreams and, in turn, shape our future.

The simple answer to that is resources — resources that will provide the foundation for the Excellence Agenda that, in our second century, will educate tens of thousands of graduates who are ready to continue the important societal contributions and path-breaking innovations you already are making. At the campaign launch, attendees also heard from gifted students how these resources impact their lives. So many of our students have stories like Emily Carle, who told how her Founders Scholarship allows her not only to focus on her self-directed applied communications studies major, but also gives her the freedom to become a student leader in several organizations, as well as pursue an internship that will set her up for career success immediately upon graduation. Those are the kinds of opportunities we need to offer to more bright students, and why we need your help providing them.

As we begin our 100th year, the Centennial Campaign is providing unprecedented levels of new resources to students and faculty. So far, supporters have committed $190.6 million of our $250 million goal. In just the past few months, we’ve received astounding gifts, including from Judy Devine, senior associate athletics director emerita, who pledged a $1.2 million bequest to ensure gender equity in our sports program. The William Risman family added to its past generosity with a $500,000 pledge for five new Founders Medallion Scholarships. And more than 350 students made gifts between $5 and $10 toward the Campaign for Change Scholarship, which now has exceeded $40,000 in its endowment.

If you’re not already, I ask you to become involved with our Centennial Campaign, which comes at this pivotal moment in our history. When you’re ready to learn more, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at (330) 672-2222 or, or visit

Thank you for your continued support of Kent State.


Lester A. Lefton