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Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton has announced that the university will adopt the Forever Buckeyes program, established by the Ohio Board of Regents and the State of Ohio, beginning this Fall 2011 Semester.

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Kent State Executive Director of Diversity Programs Geraldine Hayes-Nelson Wins 2011 TRIO Achiever Award

Posted Oct. 24, 2011 | Foluke Omosun
enter photo description
Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, Ph.D., has
been named the 2011 TRIO Achiever by
the Mid-America Association of Educational
Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP).

Kent State Diversity Program and Community Outreach Executive Director Geraldine Hayes-Nelson, Ph.D., has been selected as the 2011 TRIO Achiever by the Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP).

Nelson will be presented with the award during the 37th Annual MAEOPP Conference at the Abbey Resort in Fontana, Wis., on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Established in 1975, MAEOPP is the representative professional body for colleges, universities and agencies that host federally funded TRIO educational opportunity programs within 10 states in the greater Midwest – Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Wisconsin. The consortium of professionals works to level the playing field of educational opportunity for first-generation, low-income and physically challenged students.

“I am extremely excited about being considered for this award from my TRIO community,” says Nelson. “I am honored because I know of the hard work and continued dedication that TRIO staff provide to first-generation and low-income students and families. It is also humbling to be recognized by one’s peers and those who are constant in the advocacy of leading TRIO programs.”

Kent State alumnus Chuck Cantale, ’74, M.Ed. ’77, Nelson’s mentor who also nominated her for the award, has known her since the summer of 1974 when she was a student and he was a tutor/counselor with Kent State’s Upward Bound program.

Cantale, who helped found MAEOPP, says “No one could be more worthy of this prestigious award. Gerri has been a change agent for many organizations influencing the fate of youth throughout Ohio and the United States. She has a strong passion for diversity and inclusion and an understanding of the challenges that are faced by low-income, first-generation students, as they prepare and enter higher education.”

An active member of the MAEOPP, Nelson says winning the award recognizes Kent State’s strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. “As a former student who benefited from a student-centered college experience, I am proud to say that Kent State University continues to seek out ways to support students,” she says. “This is best seen in its outreach programs that provide early college readiness access programming and valuable transition programs, such as the Upward Bound programs and Student Support Services. These programs have opened the door for many, first-generation students and their families.”

TRIO is a set of federally funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree. Over 850,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities — from sixth grade through college graduation — are served by more than 2,800 programs nationally. Kent State University is home to five Federal TRIO programs.

Click here for more information about Kent State’s TRIO program. For more information about MAEOPP, visit