Lefton seeks exceptional staff for Excellence Awards

Jessica White

The deadline for the President’s Excellence Award nominations is extended to Sept. 17, but there will be fewer winners than last year, President Lester Lefton said.

Lefton said he will give about six awards this year — the same number he intended to give last year, but there were so many great nominations that he gave 10 instead.

“We just couldn’t cut it down,” he said. “Each and every one of the winners were great, very enthusiastic people.”

The award recognizes Kent State staff who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the past year. Each winner receives $1,000.

“This needs to be someone who has gone above and beyond,” Lefton said. “Someone who’s not only doing their job, but someone who really goes out of their way to help students, help faculty … and does it with such enthusiasm and commitment that this is really excellence in action.”

Lefton also said the awards are aimed at staff members who typically aren’t recognized for their work.

“There are faculty awards like ‘best teacher,’ ‘best researcher,’ but we want to reward the many people in the university who perform vital services to students but don’t always get the spotlight.”

Last year, Jay Hays, an academic adviser in the College of Nursing, was among the recipients.

“It was great to be recognized,” Hays said, “but I think I’m just lucky enough to work with good students and good people.”

Hays said he worked with other people in the College of Nursing on expanding the program, receiving grant money and maintaining the high student-retention rate.

But Hays said the most important part of his job is putting students first and that if he nominates someone this year, it will be someone who does the same.

“Someone who doesn’t let the bureaucratic stuff get in the way,” he said.

Kim Kearns, another winner and secretary in the College of Business, also said students are the most important and favorite part of her job.

“I love working with students,” she said, “and I wouldn’t want to do anything else right now in my life. I have them to thank for receiving the award.”

Kearns also said she encourages students to nominate someone for the award this year.

“In my office, I get a lot of praises and thanks for what I do, but I don’t think everybody does,” she said. “So to get an award like this is amazing. It shows that somebody out there does recognize your hard work.”

Lefton said students and staff can submit an online nomination by visiting http://www.kent.edu/president/excellenceaward/about.cfm.

Man On the Street

Who would you nominate for the President’s Excellence Award?

Andrew Vichosky

Junior architecture major

Alyssa Ammanniti

Sophomore fashion design major