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Student Needs Drive Support of Faculty and Staff Campaign

Posted May. 2, 2011

Don Bubenzer, interim dean of the College of Technology, learned the importance of supporting higher education at a young age. 

He tells the story of an early memory of him and his brother shoveling corn for sale at a milling company, the proceeds of which were given to their local public community college in Indiana. The value of contributing was instilled by his parents, who believed in education and supporting it.

"My wife and I also believe in education, not just for the increased employment potential, but because the experiences of formal education help to create reflective, inquiring, knowledgeable, empathic citizens — our greatest hope for a civil, sustainable world," he says. "We have benefited from the gifts and support of many others in our own educational endeavors: taxpayers who believe in education, scholarships made possible by caring individuals, and assistantships that supported study and growth as researchers and teachers."

Bubenzer, who retired two years ago but has returned in two interim roles during that time, has carried his childhood lessons about support for public universities into his adulthood. Within a year of his arrival as an associate professor in 1984, he began making financial contributions to Kent State, including gifts to WKSU-FM, Intercollegiate Athletics and programs within his college.

"We give to several aspects of the university," he says. "But our primary commitment goes to motivated students for whom a little help might make the difference between going to school or not, or between being able to give fuller attention to their studies, rather than struggling to find the funding to continue their education."

After stints as the interim dean of both the College of Education, Health and Human Services and the College of Technology, Bubenzer is finally ready to retire. But while he will travel to the family farm in Indiana, he has no plans to give up Kent as his home. Nor will he end his contributions to education — with co-authors, he’s currently working on a book about teaching. And as an emeritus faculty member, his gifts to the Faculty and Staff Campaign continue.

"It is vital to the well-being of the country and the larger world that we reduce the distance between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’ between those who can participate in formal education and those who do not have the resources to do so," he says. "With shrinking revenues going to state universities, it is critical that individuals, corporations and other entities that can support public higher education step forward and do so."

Nearly 2,000 Kent State faculty and staff members -- including emeriti faculty -- contribute each year to the Faculty and Staff Campaign, which continues through May 6.  Gifts of any size make a difference in the lives of deserving students.

To learn more about the campaign and convenient options to give, such as payroll deduction, visit www.kent.edu/annualfund/facultystaff.