University announces two new VPs

Ben Wolford

New appointments for human resources, university relations

Credit: DKS Editors

Credit: DKS Editors

In a single day, President Lester Lefton filled the last two vacant positions in his cabinet: vice president for human resources and vice president for university relations.

Chief University Counsel Willis Walker had been in charge of human resources on an interim basis since January, replacing Carolyn Pizzuto, but became a permanent vice president yesterday.

In university relations, Iris Harvey of Wright State will take over for interim vice president, Tom Neumann, Nov. 10. Kathy Stafford, former vice president for university relations, retired in June.

Since Lefton came to Kent State in 2006, he has appointed five of the nine vice presidents. With the last pieces put in place yesterday, he said he can start moving forward.

“There’s been a lot of waiting to really hit the ground,” Lefton said, referring especially to the university relations department, which is responsible for marketing. “Ms. Harvey brings enormous experience, a lot of ideas and I am expecting that she’s going to really energize her group.”

Harvey said she jumped at the opportunity to come to Kent State with the centennial anniversary coming up in 2010. She said she’s fresh with ideas after promoting Wright State’s 40th anniversary in 2007.

“It’s hard to ignore a hundred year anniversary and not think about the legacy and the heritage that you get to work with there,” she said.

Harvey currently heads Wright State’s marketing and communications department and has directed worldwide faculty recruitment for the University of Maryland University College.

Her salary will start at $190,000 at Kent State.

“I believe it’s a promotion; I wouldn’t have accepted if I didn’t believe it was an advancement to my career,” Harvey said. “I could bring additional skills and insight and strategy. I’ve spent 30 years doing it, and I like to think I’m pretty good at it.”

Walker will keep his job as university counsel and take a pay raise, bringing his salary to $193,500. He said the duties of the two positions have some overlap.

“A lot of the stuff that we deal with in the university counsel office are matters that arose out of human resources,” he said.

He said he has enjoyed the last nine months wearing both hats, and Lefton said the people Walker works with have enjoyed it, too.

“I talked to a lot of constituents to ask people who use human resources, ‘Are things working well? Are they working better than they had been?'” Lefton said. “What I heard uniformly was that they’re working well and that they’re working better than they’d been.

“Why tinker with a successful operation?”

Lefton added that diversity of staff played a role in the decisions to hire Walker and Harvey.

“These two appointments are both African-Americans,” he said. “They happen to be the most skilled people and the best people for the job, but it does make a more representative senior-level administration.”

Contact administration reporter Ben Wolford at [email protected].