Kent State’s first female MBA graduate receives business award

Image courtesy of Kent State University

Image courtesy of Kent State University

Alexis Cummins

When Judith Jones graduated with her master of business administration degree in 1964 she did not realize that 50 years later she would receive an award based upon her academic achievements and future success.

Jones will be presented with the Spirit of Women in Business award at the Spirit of Women in Business Conference.

“This is the fourth annual conference, and it just seemed fitting to me that we honored one of our alumni who embodies successful women in business,” said Deborah Spake, dean of the College of Business Administration.

Spake said Jones will be awarded with the very first SWIB award.

Kirsten Bowers, senior public relations major, student communication marketing specialist and liason, said the committee for the SWIB Conference wants to recognize and celebrate graduates for their achievements out in the field.

“It was the decision of the planning committee to add an award, and I fully agree with that,” Spake said.

During her time as a Kent State undergraduate, Jones was a student studying finance. When she began the MBA program she was one of the only women.

“I think there was only one other woman,” Jones said. “There were some women taking advanced courses in business, but mostly they were going to be teachers. But there were a few.”

Jones later became the first woman to graduate from the MBA program. After graduating from the program, Jones went on to become an administrative assistant for KeyBank in 1965. There she received several promotions until her retirement in 1999.

“She told me her story of a time where there were very few women [in business] and how she was the first in many ways,” Spake said. “I found her story so inspiring that when we discussed the SWIB award she was an obvious choice for me.”

When asked how she felt when she was told about being presented with the award, Jones said she was surprised and honored.

“It’s an honor in getting it, the recognition, a satisfaction,” Jones said. “It shows how much things have changed over time. And how I have paved a road for women in business in a very small way.”

“As a college we’re trying to take steps for alumni,” Spake said. “I think for students it’s a wonderful opportunity to see someone who they are following in the footsteps of. The students don’t know these stories. I think it’s important to highlight these. Students can one day be the ‘Judy’ getting their awards.”

The SWIB Conference will be held on March 5 in the Student Center Ballroom. The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. To register for the conference visit the College of Business Administration website.

Contact Alexis Cummins at [email protected].