Celebrating Excellence

Sep 28, 2011

Kettering celebrated achievements by students, faculty and staff, including two academic departments achieving Best Colleges status from U.S. News and World Report, during the Celebration of Excellence on Sept. 21.

Students, faculty and staff members were recognized Sept. 21 during the Celebration of Excellence, an event to honor the accomplishments and achievements of the campus community. President Robert McMahan served as master of ceremonies at the event that attracted 350 people.

Student Awards
Student awards were presented by Deborah Stewart, of Student Life, and included:

  • KettNetic Thunder Ultimate Frisbee Team for strong leadership and achieving team status to compete in the Ultimate and College Season series;
  • Robots, recognizing four students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in co-curricular activities, including Huong Chim, of Grand Rapids, Ben Karczewski, of Grand Rapids, Nicole Findlay, of San Angelo, Texas, and Margaret Walch of Grass Lake, Mich.;
  • Kettering Student Government Students of the Year, freshman Maria Goodpaster, Sophomore Elizabeth McLean, Junior Don Ebben and Senior Andrew Sullivan; and
  • Woman of the Year A and B Section, Nicole Findlay and Ashley Sims.

Additionally, Greek Student Awards were presented and the incoming A-Section President of Kettering Student Government, Bryan Colburn, was installed by President McMahan.

New Employees
New employees hired in the last year were introduced by Jack Stock, of University Advancement. They are:
Tiffany Ortiz, Graduate Office
Melissa Richardson, Registrar
Rachel Tithof, Financial Aid
Steven Assarian, Library
Susan Smith, Research
James McMillan, IT
Sheila Hancock, IT
Jessica McMahan, Computer Science
Caroline Ethington, Admissions
Loreta Day, Financial Aid
Joseph Krizaj, IT
Patrick Hayes, PR and Communications
Kathleen Zahrt, Admissions
Thomas Ngniatedema, Business
Mary Gilliam, Chemistry/Biochemistry
Susan Farhat, Chemistry/Biochemistry
Lisandro Hernandez DeLaPena, Chemistry/Biochemistry
Ronald Kumon, Physics
Robert McMahan Jr., President
Craig Alberts, Custodial and Grounds
Emily Berry, Registrar
Sharon Dunbar, Safety
Frederico Silva, Admissions

Staff Awards
Shari Luck, of Academic Services and Thesis Office, handed out this year’s Staff Award honors. Luck said nominations were received from every department on campus and that nominations were received from faculty, staff and students. The honorees and awards are:

The 2011 Pillar of Quality Award went Greg Riley, of Plant Maintenance. This award is conferred upon a staff member who demonstrates outstanding performance, work quality, and reliability within their respective job description.

The 2011 Pillar of Excellence Award went to Donna Wicks, of Information Technology. This award is conferred upon a staff member who goes above and beyond their respective job description by engaging in additional projects, committees, assignments, activities, organizations, campus responsibilities, or community involvement beyond their assigned job duties which reflects positively on Kettering University.

The 2011 Pillar of Service Award went to Cynthia Seymour, of Customer Service and Programs. This award is conferred upon a staff member who is dedicated to and demonstrates exceptional customer service to the Kettering customer, internally or externally.  The recipient exhibits incomparable customer care towards one or more of Kettering University’s customers and provides organizational value by embodying the true spirit of customer service.

Faculty Awards

Dr. Basem Alzahabi, of Mechanical Engineering and interim director of the International Office, conferred the Oswald Fellowship Award on two faculty, Dr. Jennifer Aurandt, of Chemistry/Biochemistry, and Dr. Craig Hoff, of Mechanical Engineering. The Oswald Fellowships sponsor international travel, teaching and research opportunities for faculty members and are made possible by a gift from Kettering alumnus and trustee Bob Oswald and his wife Marcy.

Outstanding Teaching Awards were announced by Dr. Terri Lynch-Caris, of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. The Outstanding Teaching Award honors up to three faculty members who have demonstrated outstanding teaching and support for students. Faculty receiving this award have effectively taught assigned subject matter, encouraged both personal and professional development in students, and built productive personal relationships with the student body to enhance students’ overall experience at Kettering University, she said.

The Outstanding Teaching Award winners are:
Dr. Basem Alzahabi, of Mechanical Engineering;
Dr. James Huggins, of Computer Science; and
Dr. David Benson, of Mechanical Engineering.

This year’s recipient of the Faculty Distinguished Citizenship Award was Dr. David Marshall, of Liberal Studies. The award is presented to honor a faculty member who serves the university through sustained engagement in activities such as leadership in departmental or university committees, participation in activities that contribute to the strategic mission of the university, activities that contribute to the recruitment, retention, and satisfaction of Kettering students, and performance in leadership positions in local, regional, state, national, and/or international professional organizations.

Research Awards


The top faculty research awards were announced by Dr. Huseyin Hiziroglu, of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The Outstanding Applied Research Award was given to Dr. Raghu Echempati, of Mechanical Engineering. Outstanding Applied Researcher Award, given to faculty who have been at Kettering for more than five years and have had a record of significant and sustained funded applied research.

The Rodes Professorship, an honor conferred on a Kettering faculty member for a period of two years in recognition of scholarly achievement, went to Dr. Leszek Gawarecki, of Applied Mathematics. Gawarecki was selected as the Rodes Professor for his project entitled, “Infinite dimensional stochastic differential equations driven by jump processes.” He will also complete a book entitled, “Gaussian Processes with Applications to Spatial Statistics.” The Rodes Professorship provides an opportunity for the continued development of the individual and carries with it a responsibility for sharing significant accomplishments.

Years of Service Awards
Linda Peterson, of Human resources, recognized 61 employees for their years of service to the university. Services awards were presented to employees for five, 10, 15, and 20 years of service, with special recognition for the following:

25 years
Michelle Dikos, IT
Dale Eddy, ME
Lenore Evennou, Thesis
Stephanie Jones, OMSI
Dr. Prem Vaishnava, Physics
Susan VanCamp, Advancement
Paul Vaughn, Safety
Dr. Ravi Warrier, ECE

30 years
Renee Abraham, Student Accounts

35 years
Jim Benford, Safety

40 years
Keith Bowden

Provost Robert Simpson presented rosewood, piano-finish plaques in recognition of the national rankings of two Kettering academic departments by U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 Best Colleges edition. Dr. Joel Berry accepted the award for Mechanical Engineering, which is ranked number two in the country for universities without a doctoral degree program. Dr. W. L. Scheller accepted the award for Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, which is ranked number one in its category.

Dr. Simpson also offered hearty congratulations to everyone in the room for their contributions to Kettering’s multiple, national recognitions in the 2012 college guide.

In closing, President McMahan thanked those assembled saying, “today we celebrate excellence among all members of this community – our family.”