Skip to main content

To: Faculty and Staff
From: President Ashish Vaidya
Date: 06/21/22
Subject: June Board of Regents Summary

Dear Colleagues:

During the Board of Regents meeting on June 15, 2022, the annual operating budget was approved for 2022-2023. The budget includes a 3-percent increase for all eligible faculty and staff. Faculty and staff can expect more details this week from Human Resources regarding compensation for the upcoming fiscal year.

Below is the summary of all the presentations and activity that took place during the meeting:

  1. That morning, the Board heard three presentations as a part of its Joint Finance and Policy Committee meeting:
    1. Frank Robinson, the director of the First-Year Student Success Hub, joined Associate Director of Advising Amy Pieper Holeman, Coordinator of Advising Programs Megan LaDow, advisor Nicholas Pflum and student Mya Holeman for an update on the new First-Year Student Success Hub.
    2. Director of Athletics Ken Bothof joined Deputy Athletic Director Daniel McIver, Athletics academic advisor Alyssa Mathews and women's volleyball student-athlete Anna Brinkmann for an update from Norse Athletics.
    3. Interim Vice President for Administration and Finance and CFO Benjamin Figueroa and Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Matt Cecil joined Assistant Vice President for Enrollment & Student Success Ryan Padgett and Chief Human Resources Officer Lori Southwood for a presentation on the annual operating budget.
  2. In the afternoon, the Board approved all recommended items, including Academic Affairs and non-academic personnel actions, major gifts acceptance, parking, dining, housing and other fees for 2022-2023, graduate and doctorate tuition rates for 2022-2023 and the annual operating budget resolution. 

The Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be September 14, 2022.




Presidential Comments

Board of Regents

June 15, 2022



Thank you, Chair Ward and members of the Board. Welcome everyone to the third Board of Regents meeting of 2022. I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

Let me also add my deep appreciation and gratitude to our three Regents today.  Regent Aliya Cannon, thank you for everything you’ve done on behalf of this university and especially for your advocacy on behalf of our students and Regents Desmarais and Regent Shumate, thank you for your incredible service to this university.


Russ Kerdolff

If I may, Chair Ward, I would like to take a moment to thank another individual who is here with us today, Russ Kerdolff, our long-standing University Comptroller. Russ recently announced his retirement effective July 1, 2022, after 42 years of service to the university. He has been an incredible member of the team.  Some of you probably know that Russ was one of our student athletes. He was one of our star pitchers and one of only two pitchers to post a perfect season, going 11-0 in 1977. He earned All-American honors in 1979 and was a two-time Academic All-American in 1978 and 1979. He is a double alum from NKU. Russ, thank you for everything you have done for NKU.  We will miss you.


Jeremy Alltop

Turning then to my formal remarks, I want to introduce the newest member of Cabinet. Just last week, we announced Jeremy Alltop as the new Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Jeremy comes to NKU from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, where he served as Vice President of Finance and Operations and Chief Financial and Operating Officer. He will join us on July 1.

He earned a B.B.A. in Management from Marshall University and an M.S. in Administration/Public Administration from Central Michigan University.

I am excited to have Jeremy join Norse Nation, and I look forward to his leadership on Cabinet.

I would like to thank Provost Matt Cecil and the search committee for their excellent service during the search process. Finally, I want to share my gratitude to Ben Figueroa for his service as interim VP for Administration and Finance and CFO these past six months.


Christina Roybal

In May, we welcomed Christina Roybal as the new Vice President and Director of Athletics, also effective July 1. 

Christina comes to NKU from the University of Northern Iowa, where she has served as senior associate athletic director for sports administration since 2016. She also holds the title of senior woman administrator and deputy Title IX coordinator. 

Christina holds a Bachelor of Arts in health, physical education, and recreation degree from Saint Mary’s College of California (2003), as well as a pair of master’s degrees from California State University, Fresno in kinesiology (2006) and business administration (2013).

I would like to thank Eric Gentry and the search advisory committee for their excellent service during the search process.

Welcome, Jeremy and Christina.


Welcome Student Regent Daniel Myers

Welcome also to the 2022-23 SGA President and Student Regent, Daniel Myers and SGA Vice President, Jaelynn Gentry. Their administrative term began on Monday, April 25.

Daniel’s role on the Board of Regents will begin on Friday, July 1. I look forward to working with Daniel.



In early May, NKU hosted its commencement exercises for spring 2022, celebrating 1,906 new graduates who earned degrees. Of those, 560 were first-generation students, and 292 were underrepresented minority learners. Graduates heard inspiring words from Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval and former M&T Bank Corporation President and CEO, Emerson L. Brumback, among others. Mr. Brumback, a 1973 alum of NKU, also received an honorary degree. 

It is one of my biggest pleasures each semester to greet our graduates as they cross the stage, and it reminds us all why we are here.

University Connect and Persist (UCAP), in partnership with Special Events and Alumni Programs, re-initiated a program to allow graduates to borrow a commencement gown for free. 28 students, primarily first-generation, underrepresented minorities, and/or parents attending college participated in the program. NKU looks forward to continuing and growing this program in the future.

Thank you to everyone who made Commencement a special day for all of us and especially for the newest NKU alumni.


Ukraine Benefit Concert

In late April, a campus-wide effort led by University Advancement organized a benefit concert for Ukraine. Two internationally renowned musicians and NKU alums, Anna and Dmitri Shelest performed at Greaves Concert Hall. They met as music students in Ukraine, then came to NKU and graduated in 2005, before establishing themselves as solo artists in New York City.

The event also connected some of our current students to the music of Ukraine. The concert opened with the NKU Student String Quintet performing the Ukrainian national anthem and closed with the 15-member NKU Chamber Choir singing a Ukrainian prayer. In between, student Maddie Pittman played the violin, and accompanied Anna Shelest for a performance.

We sold 527 tickets and raised about $18,000 between ticket revenue and sponsorship for two local refugee charities. They also received donations directly, so the actual total amount raised is higher.

I want to thank everyone who made that night possible and those who donated and helped us raise money for this worthy cause.


Alumni Awards

In late March, NKU honored 2022 Alumni Awards recipients Nathan Smith, Jakki Haussler, Tracy Schwegmann, Mac Riley, John Jose and Peg Adams at the Alumni Awards dinner.

These outstanding members of the NKU community have a deep passion for supporting our students and making a positive impact in the community. They prove that NKU is a university whose alumni, faculty and staff focus on giving our students opportunities for success, both while in school and post-graduation.

It was a great night to celebrate at the Campus Recreation Center because it was the first Alumni Awards celebration since 2020.


Employee Appreciation Week

Also in March, we celebrated Employee Appreciation Week with many events occurring in person for the first time since 2019. Among the events was the Staff Appreciation Breakfast that gave us an opportunity to celebrate the Regents Distinguished Service recipients and nominees for both 2020 and 2022.

Among the winners were: Michele Kay, David MacKnight and Lisa McElfresh for 2020, and Chris Tambling, Krista Rayford and Kari Wright Perkins for 2022.

We were glad to come together to show gratitude to all who make this a great place and to recognize the many contributions employees make to the university.


Further Faster Campaign goal exceeded

We celebrate the successful culmination of Further Faster – the Campaign for NKU. The campaign was publicly launched in May of 2019 with a goal of raising $75 million – the largest campaign in NKU’s young history. I am delighted to say that we have far exceeded that goal. As of the beginning of June, we have raised over $84 million. These dollars will continue to support the Success by Design framework.

We are grateful to the many donors, including members of the Board, who have invested in the future of NKU. 


Legislative Update

Back in April, the Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up its work for 2022, including the passage of a two-year state budget.


Because of strong state revenues, the legislature made significant investments in priority areas, including higher education. I am pleased to share that the biennial budget includes:

  • An additional $80 million per year in the higher education performance funding model, bringing the total available in the model to $97.3 million in each of the next two years. This is good news for NKU, as our Success by Design priorities are well-aligned with the performance measures included in the model. 
  • $46.8 million for deferred maintenance and infrastructure improvements in campus buildings and facilities. This is the first time in 10 years there has been a substantial investment from the state in this area. Our priorities, include improvements to the Fine Arts Center, Nunn Hall and the Steely Library. 
  • Funding for one capital project – the expansion of the Hermann Science Center. This project will include additional interdisciplinary labs, experiential learning and student engagement spaces. 
  • Funding for the Bucks for Brains matching gift program set aside for the regional comprehensive universities to incentivize private contributions that strengthen essential programs. In the past, NKU has used the match for scholarship programs and endowment contributions.


Young Scholars Academy

In April, we expanded the NKU Young Scholars Academy to eight new local school districts to bring the total to nine. This program allows high-achieving students to spend their junior and senior years full-time at NKU taking courses towards an associate degree or a certificate in STEM and graduating with a high school diploma.

This expansion provides another pathway for these students to complete their college degree and saving them and their families both time and resources.


First-Year Student Success Hub

The new First-Year Student Success Hub opened in April on the second floor of the University Center, offering students who are within their first 30 credit hours — or 45 hours if no major has been declared — a centralized, comprehensive advising experience. The hub will provide first-year students the confidence to pursue academic goals using a coordinated-care approach.


Experiential Learning Week

The second annual Experiential Learning Week took place in April and celebrated the work, experiences and learning opportunities of students involved in study abroad, internships, research and creativity, and service learning.

The week was an opportunity to showcase the work that our students have done over the past year, especially given the challenges of COVID, and show the great experiences they have had inside and outside the classroom.

The Celebration of Student Research and Creativity was part of the week’s events and took place in person for the first time since 2019, highlighting scholarly work done by undergraduate and graduate students who presented their research, artistic or creative projects through posters or through interactive demonstrations, performances, or exhibits. It is an important event that allows the community to recognize and acknowledge the excellent work and accomplishments of NKU students.


Haile College of Business

There is a lot of good news from the Haile College of Business.


Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program

Dr. Dekuwmini Mornah, an assistant professor of entrepreneurship, has been awarded a fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to Ghana to work with Academic City University College. Mornah will work on collaborative curriculum development in entrepreneurship with Academic City University faculty to develop joint projects, courses and a study abroad program between the two institutions.

Congratulations, Dr. Mornah.


Kentucky Pitch

The Haile College of Business entrepreneurship student teams recently competed against universities and colleges across the state as part of the Kentucky Pitch competition, which allows students to pitch their business ideas to investors and the public.

Brittany Styles won the $1,000 Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award for Style House, an event and interior design service.

Caden Adams and Kayla Braden came in second place and were awarded $7,000 for Peachy and Vintage, which sells thrifted and vintage clothing. Their first storefront opened April 1.

And Megan Burriss won first place and $15,000 for On Dogs, which specializes in waterproof dog collars and leashes.


Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has had success working with entrepreneurs in the region through NKU Norse Labs. Blake Stevens was able to successfully launch his company, Zap Train, an online platform that connects customers to professional personal trainers.

Covington-based start-up company Safewave Technology successfully raised a $30,000 bridge fund. The startup focuses on creating a safer environment for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing through their patent-pending, wearable device.

Smoove Creations and SafeWave Technologies made the Top 10 Northern Kentucky Startups to Watch List, compiled by NKY Thrives.


Chase College of Law

In the Chase College of Law, Carol Bredemeyer, who recently retired as director of the Law Library, won the Marian Gould Gallagher Distinguished Service Award, presented by the American Association of Law Libraries.

Congratulations, Carol.

In another bit of good news, Chase graduates placed first in the February Ohio bar exam for the overall rate among the 10 Ohio and Ohio-adjacent law schools.


College of Informatics

In the College of Informatics, NKU’s Student Robotics Team, NUKE Robotics, won fourth place in the 2022 VEX Robotics World Championship held in Dallas, Texas, in early March. This result elevates the NKU team’s official skill ranking to No. 2 worldwide. That is a tremendous achievement.


NSA GenCyber

On May 17, the U.S. National Security Agency notified computer science faculty members Dr. James Walden and Emily Taylor that they were awarded a prestigious NSA GenCyber Grant.

Building on the success of a similar project a year ago, this new grant will fund a summer experience giving high school teachers a solid foundation in cybersecurity, with the goal of enhancing the teaching of the field and ultimately increasing the pool of cybersecurity talent. Companies participating include Western & Southern Financial Group and US Bank.


College of Arts and Sciences

In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Kentucky Center for Mathematics (KCM) won a $150,000 grant from the Kentucky Department of Education, and a $320,000 grant from XQ, an educational nonprofit, to advance teacher preparation. KCM will partner with the Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Innovative Learning to pilot a Kentucky high school badging system as an alternative credentialing mechanism for students.


Tony Awards

NKU Alum, Kayla Pecchioni-Cummings, who graduated with a bachelor’s in Theatre Performance in 2014, performed at the Tony Awards on June 12. Most recently, Kayla made her Broadway principal debut as the lead role of Nelly in Paradise Square, which has been nominated for ten Tonys, including for lead actress.

Congratulations to Kayla.


Animation Career Review

The Animation Career Review publication recently ranked the Visual Communication Design program in the School of the Arts as No. 1 in Kentucky. The online source for people aspiring for careers in animation, game design, graphic design, digital art and related fields, considered more than 700 schools with graphic design programs across the U.S.


Research Awards

Eleven faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences have received research awards from the Kentucky IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. Entering its 20th year, KY-INBRE is a statewide program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) aimed at enhancing faculty research in health and biomedicine, engaging students in transformative research experiences, and improving research infrastructure at Kentucky’s regional and flagship universities. For the 2022-23 grant year, the faculty members were awarded more than $446,000 to fund their research projects and efforts to involve students in them.


College of Education

Dr. Missy Jones, on behalf of the Supported Higher Education Project (SHEP) at NKU, was awarded a $65,000 state grant for the third year in a row to forward the inclusive work of the program. SHEP is an initiative that provides meaningful inclusive opportunities on NKU’s campus to up to 10 young adults with an intellectual disability. 

Thank you for the work you do, Missy.


NPHC Plots Groundbreaking

On March 25, Student Affairs hosted the official groundbreaking of the NPHC Plots on NKU’s campus. This begins the final stage of the project initially proposed during the 2020 NKU Innovation Challenge. The plots will help create a positive environment for NPHC to promote sorority and fraternity involvement and deepen a sense of belonging.


University Police

The University Police Department has relocated its operations to 251 Louie B Nunn Dr., the former Honors House in the heart of main campus. The new space includes an upgraded dispatch center with state-of-the-art technology and flex space that allows UPD to host groups of campus and community members for engagement events.


Gold & White Gratitude

For more than 20 years, Northern Kentucky University has recognized the contributions and successes of our student organizations and leaders. Known by several names over the years, the Gold and White Gratitude Student Leader Recognition was held on Friday, April 8, in the Student Union with more than 200 students, faculty, staff and alumni joining for lunch and celebrating this year’s student accomplishments.


More End-of-the-Year Activities

Norse Violence Prevention and LGBTQA+ Student Initiatives partnered to host Take Back the Night on April 5. Kalimah Johnson, executive director of the SASHA Center in Detroit, provided an engaging and intersectional keynote address celebrating the strength of survivors of sexual assault and focused on specific challenges faced by Black women. The event included a candlelight march around Loch Norse.

The Center for Student Inclusiveness’ Latino Student Initiatives hosted the annual Latino Student Recognition Banquet on April 7.

LGBTQA+ Student Initiatives and Staff, Administrators, and Faculty for Equity cohosted Lavender Graduation on April 15.

This year’s annual Sherehe Black Graduate Ceremony hosted by African American Student Initiatives was held on May 6.


Senior Awards

We also recognized six students for their tremendous service and dedication to NKU:

  • Aryan Shrestha received the Excelsior Award for overcoming difficult obstacles during his academic career. 
  • Samuel Bauer and Elise Bezold received the Faculty Senate Award.
  • Katie Clough received the NKU Foundation Student Leadership Award. 
  • Jackson Coates received the Regents Award.
  • And Mia Derks received the University Service Award.

Congratulations to these outstanding graduates.


Health Benefits

In early May, we completed a request for proposal (RFP) for the third-party administrator (TPA) contract for healthcare ending on December 31, 2022.  Of the three local carriers responding (Humana, the incumbent, Anthem and United Healthcare), the individual scoring by the selection committee members bore out Humana as unanimous choice based upon the selection criteria. The selection committee was represented by staff and faculty benefits committee members. The new arrangement will provide competitive fixed administration fees and be in place until the end of 2025. St. Elizabeth will continue as an HMO in Kentucky for faculty & staff in their network.


Office of Inclusive Excellence

The Office of Inclusive Excellence hosted the inaugural Inclusive Teaching Academy on April 7 and 8. The event was a two-day immersion into the foundational knowledge, skills and abilities necessary for faculty who wish to lead and instruct through a lens of racial equity and inclusivity while creating a learning environment that fosters a sense of belonging for every student. The goal was to provide participants an opportunity to increase their own awareness about concepts related to cultural and learning diversity through discussion and interaction, as well as to identify the conditions and strategies necessary to create relevant and engaging lessons that enable diverse students to matriculate and graduate.


Council on Postsecondary Education Diversity Report

The Office of Inclusive Excellence submitted the 2020-21 Council on Postsecondary Education Diversity Report on March 1. The Council scores progress annually on both quantitative and qualitative elements. The minimum score to pass for four-year institutions is a 24. NKU received a 28 out of 36, including a perfect score of 18 on the qualitative portion of our report.




More than 350 guests enjoyed the 6th Annual “A Night with the Norse” gala held on April 30 at PromoWest Pavilion at The Ovation. It was a record-breaking night of philanthropy for the Go Norse Fund and NKU Athletics with more than $170,000 raised to support the Norse.


Bobby Fong Award

Lauryn Hicks is the 2022 recipient of the Horizon League Bobby Fong Award, the fourth Norse student-athlete to receive the honor in the award’s seven years. The Bobby Fong Award is given to the student-athlete or team that best represents the Horizon League and its core values of integrity, respect and stewardship.

Congratulations to Lauryn, and thank you for being such a great representative of NKU and Norse Athletics.


Ken Bothof Retirement

This is Ken Bothof’s last Board of Regents meeting at NKU. Ken has been the Director of Athletics here since August of 2013 and since then he has left an indelible mark on this university, its student-athletes and the region.In Ken’s time here, Norse Athletics has enjoyed unprecedented success. He inherited an athletic department transitioning from NCAA Division II to Division I status and successfully guided the program into active DI membership in August 2016.

Apart from his successful leadership, I am grateful for his friendship and leadership.

Let us have a round of applause for Ken.


President Vaidya presentations

I had the pleasure to present remarks at two events recently.

In late April, I gave the keynote at the Financial Executives International Cincinnati Chapter’s scholarship awards program, which was held right here at NKU. That day, I shared some of the trends and issues facing higher education and how NKU is being intentional and innovative in meeting those challenges.

Then just last weekend, I delivered the Marie McDemmond lecture to the 2022 cohort of the Millennium Leadership Institute. As a proud MLI alum and AASCU board member, it was an honor to share my professional journey and reflections with the class of aspiring college presidents.

And finally, it is with sadness that I inform you of the passing of our friend and colleague Bruce Smith. Bruce passed away unexpectedly this past Saturday. He was a valued member of our NKU family since joining Human Resources as the Director of Benefits in April 2018 and will be greatly missed.



Chairman Ward, that concludes my remarks for this meeting.