Kent State announces new President’s Ambassador

Carley Hull

Kent State University named former congressman Louis Stokes as the fourth President’s Ambassador.

“The President’s Ambassador is an opportunity to bring distinguished area minority professionals to Kent State to share their professional knowledge and experience with students and faculty,” said Alfreda Brown, vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The position is a one-year, part-time appointment created in 2010 to help the university gain insight and knowledge from diverse business and community leaders and share that knowledge with students, faculty and staff, Brown said.

“It is a part-time appointment, which assumes that the appointee will retain his or her existing employment and community responsibilities,” Brown said. “The job is not based on a weekly responsibility. It is an opportunity to utilize the skills for the ambassador for three to four engagements throughout the academic year.”

To be chosen for the position one must be a distinguished African-American, Latino American or Native American leader and professional in the community who has knowledge and professional experience and accomplishments that help offer instruction to the university, according to the President’s Ambassador webpage on

“Louis Stokes brings a national and local experience, a connection to Civil Rights efforts through his leadership as a congressman, as well as a lawyer arguing civil-rights cases,” Brown said.

Stokes practiced law for 14 years before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1968, where he became the first African-American member to represent Ohio, according to his biography.

His biography also reports, in the House, Stokes served for 30 consecutive years and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as a member of other notable committees.

Stokes was selected by an ad hoc committee, which consisted of past President’s Ambassadors Jose Feliciano, 2012-2013, and Roxia Boykin, 2011-2012; Brown; The Rev. Ronald Fowler, special assistant to the office of the president for community engagement; and Charlene Reed, vice president and university secretary.

“[Stokes is and has been] doing work for Case Western, Cleveland State and Ohio State,” Brown said. “Three other universities and he took us on as a fourth so I’m very pleased he said yes.”

Contact Carley Hull at [email protected].