Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Wil Schroder remembers visiting Northern Kentucky University to play basketball at the Campus Recreation Center in the Albright Health Center when he was in grade school. Years later, when in high school, he came to campus to study in the library.

But while he spent time at NKU during his youth, he didn’t explore other campus buildings until taking a tour with his wife, Marcy, as a prospective student of the Salmon P. Chase College of Law. And he’ll never forget his first impression of Nunn Hall.

“The ceilings were painted crazy. The paint made the ceilings look like they were from the 70s,” he says. “But I could feel the excitement and passion that people had for this university.”

It didn’t take Schroder long to put his own excitement and passion to work.

While a student here, Schroder got involved in the Student Bar Association, the National Trial Advocacy Team and the Christian Legal Society. He ran for class representative and Student Bar Association president. While he lost his first run for the Student Bar Assoication, he won the second time around.

Schroder spent a lot of his time in the Trial Ad room—his favorite classroom—which was set up to look like a real courtroom.

“I spent late-night hours in there going over opening statements for Trial Ad,” he says. “It was the one room in law school where you came in and knew this was why you came. It was a good reminder of what I wanted to do.”

After graduation, Schroder worked as a prosecutor in Campbell County for five years. Since 2014, he has served as a Kentucky state senator, representing Campbell, Pendleton and Bracken counties.

One of the most difficult parts of Schroder’s career is balancing his time as a senator (which is really more like a part-time job) with his responsibilities as a public finance attorney at Dinsmore & Shohl LLP.

But Schroder says that what he learned at NKU helps him keep up with the challenges of his day-to-day work reviewing legislation.

“NKU provided me with a great background of what would and wouldn’t work,” he says. “It gave me perspective on the political side of dealing with people and learning to work with people.”

And as busy as his schedule keeps him, he still makes time to come back to campus, which he notes has changed for the better over time.

“The Student Union was being built while I was here,” Schroder says. “With the Campus Recreation Center, Griffin Hall and the Health Innovation Center, you wouldn’t recognize campus if you haven’t been here in a while. It used to be just concrete, but there’s been so much progress. Even today when I come back and step into Nunn Hall, it has that feeling—the excitement and energy. NKU is just a special place.”