Kent State alumni honored for their exceptional contributions

Gabrielle Martinez

A night of cocktails and sophistication set the mood as Kent State alumni were recognized for their outstanding achievements at the first-ever Alumni Awards Ceremony.  

The Alumni Association sponsored the ceremony at the Kent Hotel and Conference Center on the night of Friday, Oct. 17 to honor a select few alumni and their exceptional contributions to the Kent community.

Registered members were invited to the formal event. The cost of $50 included an open bar and 3-course meal prepared by the hotel chef. 

Carter Strang received the highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award. This prestigious award recognized a highly exceptional alumnus who has made outstanding contributions in his or her field of work and to the community. Strang received both his bachelor’s degree in 1973 in comprehensive social studies and his Masters in Education in 1979 from Kent State.

Andy Baskin received the Distinguished Citizen Award, which honored an alumnus for his or her extraordinary service to the public in nonprofit organization or outstanding community service.

Baskin, who was nominated for the award by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, said his goal is to be able to see a cure for Cystic Fibrosis in his lifetime.

“I think the neatest part about receiving this award is that it’s not for what I do for a living, but all the work I’ve done towards trying to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis,” Baskin said.

Baskin is currently the lead sports anchor for News Channel 5. He graduated from Kent State in 1990 with a degree in communication studies.

Patricia Shehan Campbell received her degree in music education and was the recipient of the Professional Achievement Award, which showcases a record of career achievements in her profession, according to the Alumni Association website.

John Garafalo received the Kent State Advocacy award, which honored an alumnus who has contributed his time and talent to the university on a consistent basis. Garofalo graduated in 1987, earning both his degree in community health education and his Master in Education in 1993 from Kent State.

Garofalo currently holds a position as the vice president of community investment for the Akron Community Foundation.

The Outstanding New Professional award was presented to Lauren Kotmel from the class of 2011. Kotmel holds a bachelor’s degree in English and was recognized for her outstanding achievement in her chosen field in the community and also for her dedication to the university. Kotmel is currently an advisor for the Lambda Delta chapter of Chi Omega at Kent State, as well as the development and community relations specialist at the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.

The 2014 Golden Flash Award recipient was Nigerian international student Bitrus Audu, who graduated in May 2014 with a bachelor’s in business administration and human resource management. During his time at Kent State, Audu was heavily involved in the university, participating in organizations including Kent Interhall Council, Student Quality Advisory Committee, Habitat for Humanity, International Student Voice and Kent Student Ambassadors.  

The Alumni Association has plans to hold another Alumni Award Ceremony next year.

For more information contact Joy Wesoloski at [email protected].

Contact Gabrielle Martinez at [email protected].