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Thornton Pinch-Hits for Kent State as President's Ambassador

Posted Jan. 24, 2011

If you are from Cleveland and a baseball fan, you have probably heard of "Thunder Thornton," but did you know this Cleveland baseball legend has more than 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur?

Andre Thornton has brought his knowledge and leadership skills to Kent State University and has recently completed his first semester as the President's Ambassador. The President's Ambassadorship is a new program at Kent State created by the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

events andre thornton
Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton
congratulates Andre Thornton as Thornton joins the team.

The President Ambassadorship program is for one academic year and is designed to bring distinguished minority professionals from Northeast Ohio to Kent State to share their experience with students.

Thornton says he's enjoyed his first semester in his new role.

"I have learned so much about Kent State and the wonderful hands-on experience it offers to its students," Thornton says. "I have also enjoyed learning from the students and listening to what they hope to get out of their education from Kent State."

Thornton enjoys not only fulfilling his new duties, but also serving as a resource for Kent State students.

"You have the opportunity to impact someone's life and encourage students to work hard and take on the challenges and the opportunities they will face when entering their career."

So far, Thornton has been involved in a number of activities at Kent State. Some of his activities have been speaking with students interested in entrepreneurialism, being involved in the Entrepreneurship Extravaganza and speaking to faculty on the importance of diversity.

Thornton is working with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on an equally busy spring semester, in order to accomplish the goals set for this inaugural program.

"I really want to continue to promote the importance of diversity in the business world," Thornton says. "I also want to focus on getting the students to understand the integration of challenges and opportunities that will arise when they enter that business world."

Thornton feels this new program at the university is important.

"The program allows a real personal and practical application of the workplace for students, and it gives them access to the resources and mentors they can learn from," Thornton says.

Currently, Thornton is the president and CEO of ASW Global, a supply chain management company based in Mogadore. Before coming to ASW Global, Thornton owned Global Promotions and Incentives (GPI), a company specializing in brand management. GPI remains part of the ASW Global family of companies and provides promotional products to many Northeast Ohio companies as well as many colleges and universities.

Thornton was also one of the principals in Apple Partners, where he led a successful restaurant management group that was sold to Applebee's International, and also founded a consulting and sports management company.

Thornton is involved in many activities and organizations. He serves on the boards of the Greater Akron Chamber, the Greater Cleveland Partnership and the Ohio Region of the International Warehouse and Logistics Association.

To learn more about Thornton and ASW Global, visit

By Aubrey Haskins