Lefton announces 2011 President’s Excellence Awards

Rex Santus

Rex Santus

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President Lester Lefton recently awarded various Kent State staff members with the 2011 President’s Excellence Award.

The award recognizes Kent State staff members who have “demonstrated exceptional performance in advancing one of the goals of the university’s Excellence agenda,” according to a university press release.

The university’s Excellence agenda includes:

• Student success

• Diversity and inclusion

• Quality customer service

• Effectiveness and efficiency

• Collaboration

• Serving as an ambassador for the university

• Sustainabilityv

The president presented 10 staff members with the award. All recipients received a $1,000 award.

Coworkers and colleagues nominated staff members to receive the award.

Brice Biggin

Brice Biggin is the gymnastics coach at Kent State. Colleagues nominated Biggin for student success.

“I’ve been at the university a long time,” Biggin said. “I’ve seen a lot of athletes come through the program and graduate and be successful … Hopefully, as a coach, the most important thing to me is not what (students) do with their athleticism, but what they do once they graduate … It’s an honor to be even nominated, let alone chosen.”

Donna Carlton

Donna Carlton is the assistant director of the Center for Student Involvement. Carlton said she manages and advises student organizations registered with the university.

“I want to say how pleased I am to be included among such distinguished company,” Carlton said. “It’s an incredible honor to be a recipient of the President’s Excellence Award. I am deeply grateful and humbled by this recognition.”

Barb Casher

Barb Casher was the human resources record manager at Kent State. She was nominated for quality customer service.

Casher said in an email interview that she is no longer with the university because she retired.

Cheryl Cunnagin

Cheryl Cunnagin is the clerical specialist at the Office of Global Education. She manages the front reception area with student workers and was nominated for quality customer service, diversity and inclusion, serving as an ambassador for the university and student success.

Cunnagin said she cherishes her relationship with students. She has opened her home to students who need housing and frequently does her best to help students whenever she can, she said.

“I love the students,” Cunnagin said. “I treat them with the greatest respect; I treat them as I would want to be treated … When I received (the award), I told the people who were (with me) … ‘You think I give you so much, but you give me just as much back.’”

Vanessa Decker

Vanessa Decker is a secretary for the sociology department at Kent State and was nominated for her success with collaboration, effectiveness and efficiency and quality customer service.

“I had many faculty and students … nominate me,” Decker said. “I was shocked. It was a great surprise to me … It means so much to me that so many people think so highly of me to have nominated me out of so many people at this university who do a great job. I am just totally on cloud nine receiving this.”

Ben Hollis

Ben Hollis is the senior instructional designer in the College of Communication and Information. Peers nominated Hollis for collaboration, quality customer service, student success and effectiveness and efficiency.

Hollis could not be reached for a comment.

Andy Huston

Andy Huston is a Kent State graduate and now the lead IT user support analyst, or “technical support person,” at Kent State. He was nominated for quality customer service.

“I am proud to say that my education has served me well in my career,” Huston said. “This award proves that a Kent State University education is top notch, and our graduates receive the training and expertise of the best educators in the world.”

Huston said he always tries to work face-to-face with those who need help and treats people with kindness and respect.

“There are many times that I have to provide technical support after hours and on weekends,” Huston said. “I am a very patient person and am willing to go the extra mile to make sure that the people I support are comfortable with their technology.”

Constance Longmire

Constance Longmire is a special assistant for Student Services at Kent State Geauga campus. Longmire received her award for diversity and inclusion.

Longmire said she has numerous responsibilities at the university, including teaching general studies courses and informing young people in the community about the importance of a college education, particularly those among disenfranchised groups.

“It’s one of the best things that could have happened to me at Kent State University,” Longmire said about winning the award. “Being recognized by Lester Lefton was a great honor. I am very grateful.”

Mollie Miller

Mollie Miller is an adaptive technology coordinator for Student Accessibility Services. Miller received the Excellence Award for student success.

Miller could not be reached for a comment.

Kathy Schumann

Kathy Schumann is a custodial worker at Kent State and was nominated for customer service.

Schumann could not be reached for a comment.