Oldest KSU alumni chapter celebrates its anniversary

Joanna Adolph

The Lake County Alumni Chapter of the Kent State University Alumni Association, which has been responsible for the enrollment of a number of students from Lake County high schools, celebrated its 40-year anniversary last week.

President Carol Cartwright honored the loyalty, leadership, dedication and Kent State pride of the 90 active chapter members during their anniversary dinner. The chapter is Kent State’s oldest chartered alumni association.

“The fact is, this is a truly outstanding chapter every year for 40 years,” Cartwright said. “Resources like Lake County are extremely valuable. There’s another thing that must be mentioned, and that is the 30 years of contact the Lake County chapter has had with admissions and the busing program.”

Since April 1975, the chapter has bused approximately 50 Lake County high school juniors each spring to Kent State for Lake County Day, chapter President Don Humphrey said. The students visit classrooms, take a campus tour and meet with financial aid and admissions representatives, said Melvin Fundermark, who coordinates the bus program.

“I’ve probably taken around 700 kids to Kent State in all the (10 years) I’ve been bringing kids down there,” Fundermark said.

A number of those students go on to enroll at Kent State. Admissions Counselor Kjera Melton, who works with the Lake County chapter in organizing Lake County Day, estimated in the past two years over 20 percent of students who have taken the bus trip later enrolled.

“I think it’s great the chapter is so enthusiastic about it,” Melton said. “Mel eats, sleeps and breathes this program. I also think it’s fun for the kids.”

While the numbers show students who have come to Lake County Day do enroll at the university, Melton said it is difficult to say how many students have enrolled because of it.

“I don’t think it hurts, but I don’t know how to judge that,” Melton said. “I suppose it will make a difference with a few. Often it’s the first college they visit because it’s spring of their junior year. It does promote Kent State as well as opening students’ minds to the college experience.”

The chapter sees the bus program as a commitment to the university, Humphrey said. Like every organization, the Lake County Alumni Chapter has had its ups and downs.

“The real key, the thing that’s kept us going, is the fact we’ve had that anchor event of bringing high school juniors to the university,” Humphrey said. “I think we can all take a great deal of pride in our alma mater and where she is headed.”

Contact alumni affairs reporter Joanna Adolph at [email protected].