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Kent State Announces New Bachelor’s Degree in Insurance Studies

Posted Jul. 9, 2012
enter photo description
Kent State University’s newest degree - a bachelor’s of
insurance studies - came to fruition through the work of
industry leaders and the university. Pictured (left to right)
are James R. Clay, group leader and CEO of the Westfield
Group; Rich Frederick, executive director of the Office of
Workforce Transformation for Gov. John Kasich; Kent State
President Lester A. Lefton; and John Bishop, president,
chairman and CEO of Motorists Insurance.

Kent State University has announced it will offer a bachelor’s degree in insurance studies beginning this fall. The Ohio Board of Regents recently approved the new degree, which will initially be offered only at Kent State University at Salem. Interested students may begin enrolling immediately.

Kent State President Lester A. Lefton says the new degree would provide students with expanded employment and career opportunities.

“The bachelor’s degree in insurance studies will help Kent State students find prosperous careers in this exciting and varied industry,” Lefton says. “National leaders such as the Westfield Group and Progressive Insurance, which have corporate headquarters located in areas served by Kent State’s regional campuses, will now find it easier to hire talented and qualified employees, and our students will enjoy new opportunities in a promising field.”

The degree was a combined effort of both industry and the university. The first classes will be held this fall, with the degree’s main courses being completed online. 

Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro is pleased that Kent State is addressing the needs of such a critical industry in Ohio.

“The insurance industry is an important economic engine in our state, and Kent State’s new degree offering will provide a path for students to employment opportunities and fulfilling careers,” Petro says.

Kent State is the only private or public university in Northeast Ohio offering a degree that directly links to Ohio’s growing insurance sector. By 2016, Ohio’s insurance industry workforce is projected to grow by 7.1 percent. Additional employment opportunities also become available as an estimated 25 percent of the industry workforce plan on retiring by 2016.

David B. Hazen, vice president of commercial lines for Huntington Insurance, played a key role in developing plans for the insurance studies degree. “The new offering at Kent State will play a significant role in addressing the increasing demand for young people who have a solid understanding of insurance,” Hazen says. “Graduates can look forward to good-paying jobs and stable careers, as Kent State continues and expands its critical efforts to strengthening the Ohio economy.”

Kent State Salem Interim Dean Wanda Thomas says the campus is excited to offer more options to its students. “We are always looking to increase our degree offerings, partner with industry and provide additional opportunities for our students,” Thomas says. “This new degree is an excellent demonstration of Kent State’s commitment to serving the needs of students and Ohio businesses.”

The insurance industry currently employs more than 100,000 people in Ohio.

“Kent State University has shown incredible leadership in the development of a degree that prepares students for a long-term career in Ohio's insurance industry,” says John Bishop, president, chairman and CEO of Motorists Insurance. “The insurance industry provides diverse career options for students, including entrepreneurship, marketing and risk management."

The program is supported by a $20,000 donation from the Independent Insurance Agents of Ohio, the group’s first charitable donation to a higher education institution.

“We feel it is important to invest in the future of our industry and the economic well-being of the state,” says Hazen, the group’s past president. “It’s an exciting time for the insurance business in Ohio.”

For more information, visit www.col.kent.edu/insurance or call 1-877-KENT-EDU.