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News Briefs

Message from Kent State President Lester A. Lefton

I am pleased to announce three realignments in our organizational structure that I believe will result in new operational synergies and allow us to leverage more internal expertise in engaging key external segments, effective Feb. 1.

The Office of the General Counsel, headed by Vice President Willis Walker, will include the management of state and federal government relations. This new alignment of government relations with general counsel will leverage the university’s legal expertise as we continue to address issues related to state and federal policy, structure and governance of higher education.

The Division of Human Resources will return to its earlier organizational structure of a stand-alone chief human resources officer at the cabinet level. Alvin Evans, associate vice president of human resources, will serve as interim vice president while a national search for a new vice president of human resources is underway.

The opportunity for greater synergy also exists in working with industry and Vice President Iris Harvey will take on additional responsibilities toward that end. As you know, Kent State has many and wide-ranging relationships with businesses and corporations that are managed by individuals throughout different divisions of the university. Harvey will work with them to optimize our effectiveness and maximize interactions with partners in industry and elsewhere; this builds upon the Division of University Relations’ existing assets in corporate and professional development.

A growing number of top universities are developing strategies to assist corporations and business enterprises in navigating the complexity of higher education organizations. I am confident this initiative will support university stakeholders in forming more strategic and mutually beneficial industry relationships.

Posted Jan. 21, 2013

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Nomination Deadline Extended to Feb. 10 for the 2013 Kent State Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award

You are invited to nominate a Kent State University faculty member for the 2013 Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award, formerly known as the Distinguished Scholar Award.  Sponsored by the Division of Research and Sponsored Programs and the University Research Council, this award is intended to honor Kent State’s finest outstanding researchers and scholars. The awardees will be selected based on the quality of research and scholarship and the impact on society. 

Who can be nominated? 
Any Kent State faculty member can be nominated, except those who have previously received either the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award or the Distinguished Scholar Award.

Click here to see a list of previous winners of the Distinguished Scholar Award.
Click here to see a list of previous winners of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award.

Who can nominate? 
Any member of the Kent State community, including faculty, emeriti, staff, students and alumni can nominate a faculty member for the award.  To nominate someone, you must submit a letter outlining the specific research and/or scholarly achievements of the nominee. Please send an email to and attach your letter of support.

Nomination Deadline: Sunday, Feb. 10, at 11:59 PM

Finalists will be announced on the Kent State homepage on March 12.

Posted Jan. 21, 2013

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Kent State Connects Blog: Weight Loss Stories, and Celebrating MLK

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Kent State employee Bob Burford writes on the
Kent State Connects employee blog about his amazing
journey and transformation six months after undergoing
bariatric surgery.

On the Kent State Connects employee blog, Bob Burford, marketing/external relations coordinator with University Communications and Marketing, and weekend announcer at WKSU, writes about his amazing journey six months after undergoing bariatric surgery.

“It’s that time of year. The brief period in January when New Year’s resolutions are still top of mind. Television is filled with commercials advertising Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, gym memberships, exercise equipment and miracle weight loss cures.”

Click here to read more from Burford’s blog post “Time Flies: Six Months After Weight-Loss Surgery.”

Emily Myers, special assistant in the Office of the Provost, writes about a unique weight-loss challenge adopted by some Kent State employees to shed some pounds.

“In the Office of the Provost, a number of people were groaning under the sheer weight of pounds gained during the holidays. And just like so many others, we thought “new year – new weight!” So a challenge was made. Commit yourself to lose a certain number of pounds by April 1 or be the FOOL and pay the price.”

Click here to read more from Myer’s blog post “A Food Fool’s Tale of Weight Loss.”

Alfreda Brown, vice president for the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, writes a guest post about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Kent State’s 11th annual celebration on Jan. 24.

“Dr. King is, in all practicality, everyone’s hero. His message was to the nation, not just to African Americans, nor was it a message geared against people of other races.  His message is one that continuously touches the lives of everyone; a reminder of those who lived in our past, those who live today and those who will come after us.”

Click here to read more from Brown’s blog post “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: The Prophetic Transcender of Social Injustices.”

Click here to subscribe to the Kent State Connects blog and receive an email notification when a new post has been published.

Posted Jan. 21, 2013

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Call for Audition DVDs for the 2013 Kent /Blossom Music Festival

Forty-four slots available for the chamber music festival intensive with members of The Cleveland Orchestra

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Pianist Spencer Myer instructs a student quartet during
the 2011 Kent/Blossom Music Festival. Applications are
now being accepted for the 2013 season.

Kent/Blossom Music Festival, celebrating its 46th summer of collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra, is now accepting applications for its 2013 season that will take place June 23 through July 27. The auditions are open to advanced string, woodwind, horn and piano students primarily of college age.

Kent/Blossom Music emphasizes the intensive study of chamber music under professional artistic standards. Each student performs an average of four major works during the five weeks. Assignments change every two weeks, maximizing individual contact with repertoire, colleagues and faculty coaches. World-class string, wind and piano faculty, many of whom are members of The Cleveland Orchestra, Miami String Quartet or world-renowned musicians, instruct the 44 students in chamber music. The students will be directed by renowned oboist Danna Sundet, and highly- acclaimed cellist and founding member of the Miami String Quartet Keith Robinson.

“This Festival draws students from all over the world,” says Sundet, artistic coordinator of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival. “We’ve had participants from China, South Korea, Taiwan, Hungary, and from universities from all over the United States, including Juilliard, the Eastman School of Music and University of Indiana, just to name a few.”

There is a $50 application fee, and the deadline to apply is March 1. The application can be found online at

The cost to participate is $1,800, which includes deluxe accommodations in the Kent State University campus air-conditioned housing. The five-week festival includes a side-by-side performance with The Cleveland Orchestra at its summer performance venue, Blossom Music Center. Students will also perform a series of concerts for the community, which will culminate with a performance by the student Chamber Orchestra conducted by the Cleveland Orchestra Assistant Conductor James Feddeck.

For more information, call 330-672-2613 or visit www.kent/edu/blossom.

Posted Jan. 21, 2013

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Alumni Association Highlights from 2012

Year in Review Document Shares Success of Association Activities

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The Alumni Association's Year in Review,
provides data from 2012 on membership,
events, programs, communications and more.

The Alumni Association achieved great success in 2012, including strong attendance at sponsored events, continued growth of alumni communications and increased volunteer participation. To recap the many accomplishments of the past year, the association has provided a document available for all: Year in Review, 2012.

“Through the support of our members, volunteers and campus partners, the Alumni Association had a great number of accomplishments in 2012,” says Lori Randorf, executive director, alumni relations. “This document provides a recap of the association’s many activities from the past year.”

The Year in Review, 2012 document was created based on feedback from Alumni Association members. The document provides data from 2012 on membership, events, programs and communications, all of which are supported by member dues.

The document also features information about the various alumni chapters throughout the country, the success of alumni and student events and the benefits of Alumni Association membership. Faculty and staff are encouraged to review the document to learn more about the resources available to students through the Alumni Association.

To read the Year in Review, 2012, please visit Faculty and staff interested in learning more about the Alumni Association or becoming a member should visit

Posted Jan. 21, 2013 | Allison Hudec

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Postal Changes Coming in 2013

Several changes will take effect in January 2013 related to the United States Postal Service. Please see the information below and contact Steve Finley, mail services manager, at with any questions.

  • On Jan. 27, the price for first class and most other postage will increase. After that date a first class stamp will cost 46 cents. Other classes of mail, such as Nonprofit, Priority and Express Mail, will increase an average of 2.5 -- 3 percent. Plan your mailings accordingly and let Mail Services assist you in obtaining the best postage rates available.
  • Also on Jan. 27, the Post Net barcode will be replaced by the Intelligent Mail barcode. Please check your Business Reply envelopes and stop using any with the old barcode, or you may get charged a non-automated return rate. You can email Finley to verify your barcode; be sure and include a copy of your current Business Reply envelope in the email. Mail Services can provide departments with the appropriate artwork for ordering new envelopes.
  • Effective immediately, customs forms for international packages must be completed online and attached to the package or taken to a post office and presented at the window for mailing. In order to send an international package through Mail Services at Kent State, you must complete and print out the proper form at and attach it to the package. PS Form 2976 Customs Declaration is intended for packages weighing under four pounds, and Form 2976A is for packages weighing over four pounds.

Click here to see the Jan. 27 postage rate highlights.

Future changes deal with mail piece size, tabbing regulations and postage specifics and will be posted on the Mail Service website at as they become available.

Posted Jan. 21, 2013

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Kent State Welcomes New Hires at Diversity Networking Luncheon

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Kent State employees pose for a photo during the New
Hire Diversity Networking Lunch sponsored by the Division
of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

More than 50 people attended the New Hire Diversity Networking Lunch sponsored by the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in November at the Kent Student Center.

“Our goal in moving the event to a networking lunch was to create a space to meaningfully connect new diverse employees with the campus community and vice versa,” says Dana Lawless-Andric, executive director for project management and diversity programming with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “The shared interaction allows everyone to take away something special from the event.”

The new diverse Kent State employees hired from Jan. 1, 2012 through July 30, 2012, were welcomed by attendees of previous luncheons. The event also featured tables with conversation cards and a buffet.
Speakers at the event made clear the university’s goal to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome.

“It is my hope that you will become a part of this community. Kent State is a great place to work,” says Alfreda Brown, vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

Veronica Cook-Euell, supplier diversity program manager at Kent State, says the event acts as a springboard for new hires.

“I really applaud Dr. Brown for the thought process behind creating this event to welcome and introduce the minority community. It creates a welcoming environment. It says ‘we’re glad you’re here,’” Cook-Euell says.

“Kent State is a very large university, so we’ve tried to create a very warm and inviting community,” says Said Sewell, assistant provost for Academic Affairs, who emphasized how important it is to network.

Overall, Provost Todd Diacon summarized the event’s tone.

“We want to have a community that allows for you to thrive,” Diacon says.

Posted Jan. 21, 2013 | Ryan Collins

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Students Take Top Honors In College Photographer of the Year Competition

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Kent State student Brooke DiDonato won an award for
this photo illustration during the 67th College Photographer
of the Year Competition .

Three senior visual journalism students in Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication earned top honors during the 67th College Photographer of the Year Competition at the University of Missouri.

Brooke DiDonato took home a gold medal for Photo Illustration, Kristin Bauer won a silver medal in the Domestic Picture Story category and Philip Botta won a bronze medal in the Spot News category.

"By far, this is the most competitive college photography contest any student – in any program, in any country – can enter.  Some categories have thousands of entries,” says Dave LaBelle, lecturer in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Judges viewed 14,100 still photographs entered by 573 student photographers from 125 colleges and universities in 17 countries. The annual College Photographer of the Year Competition is co-sponsored by the University of Missouri and Nikon, Inc.

"Having three different students who placed in the top three in three different categories is a really good sign that we are doing things right,” says LaBelle.  “Our students are engaged, and they recognize the importance of entering.  Three years ago, none of our students won, and only two or three entered.  This year, we had 15 or 20 who entered."

LaBelle says although DiDonato and Bauer are upperclassmen, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication has a very strong freshman class.

“We will be heard from again in this competition,” says LaBelle.

Posted Jan. 21, 2013 | Mady Etzel

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