KSU’s ‘unsung heroes’ awarded for commitment

Marissa Barnhart

 Kim Kennedy, special assistant of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office, has been called an “unsung hero” who gives “150 percent” of her energy to students.

“I’m able to do these things on behalf of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and help students have a good college life,” Kennedy said. “Making their voices heard means a lot to me because they’re our future.”

Kennedy is one of four Kent State employees who received the 2013 President’s Excellence Award. Kent State President Lester Lefton visited each recipient at the employees’ respective workplaces, told them of the award and presented each with a $1,000 check.

For Kennedy, the award came as a surprise.

“I just couldn’t believe it was me because I just go to work and help students,” said Kennedy, shocked but overjoyed she received it.

She said receiving the award is important to her because it shows that students appreciate the work and the programs she and her department do.

Kennedy was nominated for excellence in customer service and student success. One person who nominated her said in a press release: “I’ve never met anyone so passionate about student success.”

Katheryn McAnulty, director of Graduate Student Services and award recipient, received 24 nominations for collaboration, diversity and inclusion, effectiveness and efficiency, student success serving as an ambassador for Kent State.

 McAnulty said the best part is that she was nominated by the people she works with in student affairs and graduate students. She also said she was able to read the comments in her nominations.

 “Reading their words about why they nominated me and my work with them and other students made it most special,” McAnulty said.

 She also said she is fortunate for Dean of Graduate Studies Mary Ann Stephens, whom she described as “the best boss I ever had,” and she is grateful for having the opportunity to do what she does.

 “Every day is different,” McAnulty said. “Every day working with students is different. It’s part of what makes my job so rewarding.”

Robert Hall, senior manager of training and development for the Division of Human Resources, was nominated and received his award for collaboration, effectiveness and efficiency, excellence in customer service and serving as an ambassador for the university.

According to a Kent State press release, Hall’s nominator said he works with leaders from across Kent State and with national experts to create programs that will challenge people to “strive for and create a culture of excellence.”

Hall said it was an honor to be recognized and surrounded by people who were excited for him.

“I was and still am completely humbled by the thought that these busy individuals would take the time and exert the effort to nominate me for this award,” Hall said. “It speaks volumes about them and their commitment to Kent State. I feel extremely fortunate to work closely with individuals like that.”

Caroline Tannert, an administrative secretary of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences, said her first reaction was surprise followed by immediate gratitude.

Tannert was nominated for effectiveness and efficiency, and student success, but her nominators said she goes “above and beyond every day,” in a Kent State press release.

Tannert said she is grateful to work with the people in the anthropology department.

“To me, receiving the award means the people I work with are glad I’m here, too,” Tannert said. “That’s a really good feeling.”

Contact Marissa Barnhart at [email protected].