College of Business Administration to host prominent alumnus at event

Collin Cunningham

Kent State graduate and Chief Information Officer of Foot Locker, Pawan Verma, will be returning to Kent on Oct. 6 to speak at an event celebrating the 30th anniversary of the College of Business Administration’s Center for Information Systems.

“Typically, when we host events in the College (of Business Administration), we make every effort to bring back alumni that we can feature so students can see the career paths that they could take once they leave,” said Deborah F. Spake, dean of the College of Business Administration (COBA).

Verma earned his MBA from Kent in 2008. His extensive background in the retail industry allowed him to work for the Target Corporation, where he served as vice president of digital and marketing technologies and service platforms. He became CIO of Foot Locker on Aug. 10, 2015.

Before that, Verma had received degrees in India from Dr. Harisingh Gour University and Dr. B. Ambedkar Marathwada University and had success as an electrical engineer. He moved to America to further pursue his education.

Verma was the college’s first choice for keynote speaker for the anniversary.

“We wanted to sort of highlight an alum who isn’t from the area, per say, and has extensive experience in major corporations across the country,” said Eric Dubitsky, associate director of advancement for the COBA.

Tickets to attend the anniversary event are $50, and all proceeds and donations will contribute to financial awards for students.

“One of the reasons we’re having the event is to boost our scholarship funds so that we can help more students, and the more interesting the speaker, the more people that attend and the more students we can help,” said Catherine Bakes, one of the co-directors for the Center for Information Systems.

Spake said the decision to have Verma speak was made for the benefit of current students. She said having a former student speak, and one who went on to have many accomplishments, can have a positive impact on current ones.

“When we invite people to come to campus we’re looking for speakers who can connect with the audience that they’re speaking to and usually that’s students, so that students can learn from the alumni’s life stories — the path that they took to be successful,” Spake said. “So they understand the connection between what happens once they leave and having a successful career in the industry.

“It’s the story, but then also the fact that they graduated from here allows our students to see that really they have a multitude of opportunities with the degrees that they earn, not only from Kent State but specifically from the College of Business.”

Contact Collin Cunningham at [email protected]