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Former Kent State Employee Awarded Posthumous Presidential Medal of Honor

President Barack Obama has awarded former Kent State employee Vijaya Emani a posthumous 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal. Emani, who died in a vehicle accident on her way to work in 2009, was honored for her courage in overcoming speaking out against abuse.

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Founders Gala Recognizes University Donors

Posted Nov. 14, 2011

Kent State President Lester A. Lefton embraces donors Walter and Judy Van Benthuysen during the 2011 Founders Gala.

Gala event recognizes individual and corporate donors and impact of their gifts

The 2011 Founders Gala took place on Saturday, Nov. 5, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. The event honors Kent State University’s most generous individual and corporate donors and the impact their gifts have on students, faculty and the progress of Kent State.

Gifts totaling $100,000 for individuals and $250,000 for corporations in a single year are recognized at the Founders Gala. The event recognized the gifts received during fiscal year 2011, which totaled more than $22 million, a little more than half of the record-breaking $42 million raised last fiscal year. Four corporations and 28 individuals were honored this year.

The gifts honored included four corporate gifts for research, new curricula development, software and digital broadcast upgrades for WKSU-FM. Individual gifts included several new scholarships, support for athletic programs, departmental and college support, as well as technology upgrades and lab renovation.

Two of the Founders honorees shared their inspiration for giving to Kent State. Walter Van Benthuysen, a ’61 advertising graduate, and his wife, Judy, have created The Van Benthuysen Applied Business Experience Awards, given to students that embark on unpaid internships. The awards help to cover living costs while a student gains valuable experience during an unpaid internship. One of the recipients of that award, Zachary New, a senior business and finance major, shared his internship experience at Cleveland Clinic’s Institute Finance Department. The experience was possible because of the Van Benthuysens’ generosity and commitment to Kent State students.

Audrianna and Brittney Sisul, twin sisters and business majors, shared their story of how scholarships have been key in helping them to meet expenses, including books and a once-in-a-lifetime travel-abroad opportunity in Florence, Italy.

The event also featured several Founders Senior Scholars throughout the evening.