KSU honors ‘role models’ with award

Kristine Gill

Two staff members make impact, recognized by Professional Women

The Professional Women of Kent State University were faced with the familiar challenge of choosing a single recipient for this year’s Distinguished Woman Award. So rather than choose just one of the 14 nominees, they decided to honor two.

Economics professor Cheryl Casper and Academic Program Director Anne Reid received engraved plaques for the 2008 Distinguished Woman Award at a ceremony last night.

“Selecting an award winner is always such a challenge,” said Beth Chambers, chair of this year’s selection committee. “It was a great honor to learn more about these women.”

Kathryn Wilson, interim chair of the economics department, nominated Casper and called her a mentor and a role model.

“There were very few women economics professors when (Casper) came here,” Wilson said, adding that there were literally a handful of women faculty when Casper became acting dean in 1981.

“When I was growing up, there were not many examples of women who challenged things,” Wilson said. “Cheryl taught me that just because I’m the only woman in the room doesn’t mean I have to be the pacifier.”

Timothy Chandler, dean of the College of the Arts, spoke as one of Reid’s nominators, beginning with a quote from Harry Truman:

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”

“(Reid) has made sure that good things happen for students, faculty and deans,” Chandler said. “If you don’t know she’s doing it, it’s because she really doesn’t care who gets the credit.”

Chandler also highlighted Reid’s commitment to diversity and said she is arguably the best source of information for what is really going on at the university.

While Casper and Reid have served a combined total of 63 years at the university, recipients are not chosen based on their time at Kent State.

“It’s not necessarily based on years of service,” said Maureen Kennedy, co-president of PWKSU. “It’s more about the impact you had on the university community.”

The PWKSU has honored outstanding professional women at Kent State for the past 11 years as a way to encourage diversity in the university community. Any member of the university can nominate any faculty or staff from the main campus as well as the regional campuses, said Michelle Casto, co-president of PWKSU.

Casper began working as an assistant professor of economics at the university in 1973 and has served in both faculty and administrative positions during her 35 years at Kent Sate. She has worked in the Provost’s office, on Faculty Senate and with the AAUP.

Reid began working at Kent State in 1980 and in her 28 years at the university has worked with the PASS program, the Women’s Resource Center and The Kent Academic Support and Advising Association, among other groups.

Both Casper and Reid are looking forward to retirement at the end of the semester.

Contact academic affairs reporter Kristine Gill at [email protected].