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United Way Honors Kent State, Employee at Campaign Celebration

Posted Jun. 23, 2014
enter photo description
Iris Harvey (third from right), Kent State University’s vice
president for university relations, accepted two awards on
behalf of the university from the United Way of Portage
County. Harvey is surrounded by Kent State staff and United
Way representatives.

The United Way of Portage County honored Kent State University with two awards for supporting its 2013 campaign and initiatives. Kent State received the United Way’s Spirit of the Community and Corporate Volunteer awards. Barb Boltz, project director for enrollment data and system support at Kent State, also was presented with the United Way’s Community Volunteer of the Year award.

The awards were presented on May 30 at the United Way of Portage County’s 2013 campaign celebration, which recognizes donors, volunteers and agencies that contributed to the campaign. Kent State women’s basketball head coach Danielle O’Banion was guest speaker at the event.

The Spirit of Community award is the United Way’s highest honor, recognizing elite corporate leaders for outstanding employee and community engagement, volunteering and for making a measurable impact in education, income and health.

“Kent State University exemplifies the Spirit of Community award by partnering with United Way to positively impact the lives of people living in our community with their generous workplace campaign,” says Stephanie Rummel, director of development for the United Way of Portage County. “Kent State employees also give generously of themselves, dedicating countless hours volunteering at agencies, projects and United Way events. Kent State has also provided us with exceptional interns to help carry out our mission.”

Kent State, the number one employer in Portage County and the number one donor to the United Way of Portage County, celebrated a successful 2013 United Way campaign, raising $152,771.92.

Rummel acknowledged the support for United Way’s initiatives by Iris Harvey, Kent State’s vice president for university relations and chair of Kent State’s United Way campaign.

“Iris Harvey is active on the United Way’s Board of Trustees and she facilitates completion and support of numerous United Way projects and events,” Rummel says. “When Iris makes a commitment, we know it will happen!”

enter photo description
Barb Boltz (middle), project director for enrollment data
and system support at Kent State University, received
United Way’s Community Volunteer of the Year award.
Standing with Boltz are Brian Duchon, president and CEO
of United Way, and Suzanne Howe, United Way board chair.

Every year, United Way recognizes one volunteer who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help United Way support improvements in the areas of education, income and health.

“Barb Boltz was a clear choice to be this year’s United Way Community Volunteer of the Year award winner,” Rummel says. “Barb has actively supported United Way’s numerous volunteer initiatives over the last year, dedicating countless hours to help in significant ways during events and spearheading fundraising events to support Kent State’s United Way campaign.”

An avid supporter of the United Way, Boltz has served on Kent State’s United Way Steering Committee, participated in several initiatives to support the United Way and helped to lead the university’s efforts to promote early childhood literacy by partnering with the United Way on the Big Red Bookshelf Project. The project places bookshelves that are built and painted in bright red in early childhood education facilities around Portage County.

Boltz feels humbled at being selected for the award.

“I would not have been able to have received it if not for the great support I receive from my division and from all the people who say ‘yes’ when I ask them to get involved,” Boltz says. “I have been involved in special events to help with fundraising for many years, but the new direction that the United Way is going, to make sure they are having impact on the community, really resonates with me. They have chosen, and I agree with the emphasis on, childhood literacy. The opportunities:  Building Big Red Bookshelves, having book drives, reading to preschoolers your favorite children’s books, making literacy kits for children, all help promote literacy. I love to volunteer. I need to volunteer; it is a part of the fabric of my life and my being.”

For more information about Kent State’s United Way Campaign, visit

For more information about the United Way of Portage County, visit