Hylton to become Kent State’s first Black senior vice president; new philanthropy head to lead fundraising campaign

Vice President for Student Affairs Lamar Hylton. 

Owen MacMillan Assistant Managing editor

Lamar Hylton will become senior vice president for student affairs effective tomorrow, according to an email sent to the “Kent State University Community” by President Todd Diacon. Diacon also announced the appointment of Valoree Vargo as the university’s new vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement and said she would lead the soon-to-be-announced “largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in Kent State history.”

The largest previous fundraising effort in Kent State history was the Centennial Campaign which was launched prior to the commemoration of the university’s 100th anniversary in 2010. The campaign ran from 2009 to 2012 and raised over $265 million, surpassing its original goal of $250 million. 

No additional information was available about the amount the upcoming campaign would attempt to raise and Diacon offered no further details in the email, but he said Vargo was “integral in setting the foundation for the campaign,” and that he was “confident she will lead us to its successful conclusion.” He said Vargo’s leadership as the interim vice president for the past 15 months was “outstanding” and a crucial part of the upcoming fundraising effort.

Vargo will also serve as the executive director of the Kent State University Foundation following her appointment by its Board of Directors.

On the elevation of Hylton’s position, Diacon said, “This action recognizes the vital nature of this role that is core to our mission of graduating students,” and praised “ the outstanding leadership of Lamar R. Hylton, Ph.D., who always leads with a student-focused approach.”

Hylton became vice president of student affairs on May 1, 2021, following a year as the interim vice president of the same office. He is the first person of color to hold the office of senior vice president at Kent State.

The role of senior vice president was created by Diacon’s predecessor Beverly Warren, and Hylton joins senior vice president and provost Melody Tankersley and senior vice president for finance and administration Mark Polatajko as the university’s other senior vice presidents.

The email also announced that Kent State will be launching nationwide searches for two vice presidents this fall.

Diacon said that the university will seek to fill the offices of vice president for university communications and marketing, currently held by interim vice president Rebecca Murphy and vice president for enrollment engagement, currently held by interim vice president Sean Broghammer.

The university communications search committee will launch in mid-September and be headed by Peggy Shadduck, vice president for regional campuses and dean of the College of Applied and Technical Studies. 

The university hopes to begin the search for the vice president for enrollment engagement in November.