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Alumni Archives - Community | Union Institute & University

President Karen Schuster Webb

Union Institute & University President Karen Schuster Webb Named to ACE Board of Directors

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Union Institute & University President Karen Schuster Webb has been named to the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education (ACE).

President Karen Schuster Webb

President Karen Schuster Webb

ACE is the major coordinating body for colleges and universities in the U.S. Dr. Webb’s term with the Board will continue until March of 2022. Currently, Dr. Webb serves as chair of the ACE Women’s Network Executive Council (WNEC) and is a presidential sponsor for the ACE affiliated Ohio Women’s Network.

“ACE’s mission is to mobilize the higher education community to shape effective public policy and foster innovative, high-quality practice. Now, more than ever, we are fortunate during this challenging time for our students and institutions, to have leaders from across the diverse landscape of American colleges and universities who are committed to helping us achieve these goals,” said ACE President Dr. Ted Mitchell. “I deeply appreciate Karen’s dedication and willingness to serve in this role.”

Dr. Webb has been president of Union Institute & University since July 2018. She brings to the ACE board more than 20 years of executive leadership experience in higher education, most recently as Midwest Campus President (Yellow Springs, Ohio) for Antioch University. Prior to her work at Antioch, Dr. Webb served as founding dean of the California School of Education at the Alliant International University System.

Read more about Dr. Webb and her leadership philosophy at this link.

Dr. Randy Danielsen

Student COVID-19 emergency fund established

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Union Institute & University’s International Alumni Association Board (IAAB) has allocated funds to help students who are in need of emergency funds as a result of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

Examples of emergency need include:
• being laid off or furloughed and unable to make housing payment
• unanticipated health or dental expenses
• car repair, computer repair

Dr. Randy Danielsen

Dr. Randy Danielsen

“As alumni, we are particularly sensitive to the challenges our students face during normal times, juggling school, career, family, and community obligations. The pandemic has impacted all facets of our lives and our goal is to help current Union students persist in their degree program and work toward graduation,” said Dr. Randy Danielsen, Ph.D. 2003, IAAB president. “The mission of the IAAB is to be of service to the university, to promote its interests, and to perpetuate good fellowship among students, former students, graduates, friends, faculty, and staff. The fund is just one example of fulfilling our mission.”

The student COVID-19 emergency fund provides a one-time maximum grant of $300 for impacted students. The process to apply is simple and streamlined. All degree levels are eligible to request assistance.

Union President Karen Schuster Webb is grateful to the IAAB and urges all alumni to join the effort to assist current students by making a contribution to the fund. “This is a unique and unprecedented time for the world, and for Union. We’re already hearing of how Union students and alumni are working in their communities to overcome the crisis. This fund provides a boost to help students persist, graduate, and go out into the world to make a difference.”

To donate to the student COVID-19 emergency fund, click here.

If you have comments or questions, email alumni@myunion.edu.

Dr. Shekhar Mitra

Pay it 1964WARD: Why I give back: Shekhar and Anu Mitra Honoring my parents’ spirit by supporting the next generation of leaders

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Union’s Pay it 1964WARD campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships go directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union donors – alumni, trustees, friends, and others – who support Union and our goals to transform lives and communities. Please join them through Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today.

Read how Dr. Shekhar Mitra and Union professor Dr. Anu Mitra established the M.K. and Kamala Mitra Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of his parents.

Dr. Shekhar MitraQ: We are launching the Pay it 1964Ward campaign to raise $1,964,000 to support our students achieve their dreams. You have been a longtime giver. Can you tell us why you give to Union? Why do you choose to invest in Union’s students?

A: Union fills a unique need for motivated adults who not only want to advance their careers but also are deeply passionate about serving their global communities. Both Union faculty and students are focused on understanding the world from an interdisciplinary standpoint; to explore new ways in which to engage the inquiry and experiential processes. Union represents a distinctive learning model where future generations of leaders practice open inquiry, inclusion, and dialogue to make an impact in the real world. We strongly believe in investing in Union and its students.

Q: Tell us about your parents and what inspired you to link the scholarship fund at Union to their memory.

Both my parents were an inspiration to Anu and I. They met as refugees from the partition of Bengal in India in the late 1940s as the British ended its colonial rule in India. My parents escaped the ravages of the riots as they fled from their home in Dacca to Calcutta. They had no permanent home for years and were sheltered by distant cousins who supported their livelihood and education. This allowed my father, M.K., to fulfill his career dream. He became one of the Indian government’s top economist and revenue officer.

However, my parents never forgot their roots and chose to support numerous refugee families and young adults to get their education in high schools and colleges. Anu and I wanted to honor their spirit by inspiring the entrepreneurial instincts of our Union students.

Q: Union is known for its commitment to social justice. Does that aspect of the university influence your decision to invest in Union and its students? If so, how?

I knew Union was the right university to establish the fund. Union’s commitment to social justice parallels our background and upbringing. We believe that the values of social justice, pluralism, and inclusion are important ground rules in our democratic society. We want to promote these ideas in our support of organizations and institutions. As an innovation leader of a major multinational for many decades, I have seen how diverse perspectives, multicultural teams, and globally diverse consumer inputs are able to shape breakthrough designs and drive the development of innovative products and services to meet customers’ needs. Anu believes that social justice principles are a central vision of human-centered learning. This, coupled with one’s desire to manifest into action what one knows, is the basis of a good life.

Q: Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. You recently had an opportunity to meet a few students who have been awarded scholarships. Can you share your response to them after listening to their stories?

A: I was so impressed with the scholarship recipients. What is extraordinary is how they interweave their life’s experiences with the construction of hypotheses in their scholarly work. They lead as they learn, focusing on the practical ramifications of their scholarly work to touch and improve lives in the real world.

I would urge all stakeholders to consider their own way of supporting our deserving students and the unique place of learning at UI&U. Union students deserve our support.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation.
Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

About Anu and Shekhar Mitra

Anu Mitra, Ph.D. is a professor in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in English Literature and Women’s Studies. Dr. Mitra is drawn to interdisciplinarity and the idea that all problems are capable of being solved, but only if we are able to view multiple solutions through different lenses. She is the recent recipient of UI&U’s Herbert L. and Dr. Beth Alswanger Gopman Research Fund award and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Award for 2020-2021. She has served as a docent at several museums and as a trustee on several arts-related boards, including the YWCA, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Cincinnati Ballet.

Shekhar Mitra, Ph.D. is passionate about enabling younger generations of scientists and engineers across all cultures, companies, and businesses to achieve their full potential as professionals. The life scientist spent 29 years at Procter & Gamble, retiring as senior vice president, Global Innovation. He holds more than 50 patents, and now, post-retirement, serves as a member of the UI&U Board of Trustees, works as a board member and strategic adviser to several Fortune 500 companies, new ventures, and a private equity company. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor and is listed in the U.S. Congressional Record for his contributions to improving lives through his impact on consumer meaningful innovations and community service. You may read more about his illustrious career here.

Dr. Koryoe Anim-Wright

Black History Month Alumni Spotlight – Telling the African narrative in her own way

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Dr. Koryoe Anim-Wright, Ph.D. 1996, is an educator, fundraiser, and academic leader dedicated to telling the culturally rich African narrative. But, Dr. Anim-Wright works to ensure that narrative reflects the African voice instead of relying on others to tell the story. The Ghana native credits her parents for a strong work ethic. Her father was the first director of the only news agency in Ghana, from where she says she first understood her love of writing.

Dr. Koryoe Anim-Wright

Dr. Koryoe Anim-Wright, Ph.D

Dr. Amin-Wright earned her undergraduate degree at Central State University in Ohio and served as Deputy Director of the Office of Sponsored Research, Contracts, and Grants and associate director of the Central State University Office of Development and International Programs, where she earned several major government grants, including a $550,000 USAID University Development Linkages Project grant that aligned CSU and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. She went on to serve in a variety of advancement positions at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, CT., including vice president for Institutional Advancement, and director of the Western Connecticut State University Foundation, Inc. She earned her Ph.D. with a concentration in communication and development from Union in 1996.

In 2010, she returned home to Ghana to give back to her country. She served as director of Corporate Affairs and Institutional Advancement at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, and in 2015, she was named president of the African University College of Communications (AUCC), the first female to hold that position. In an interview with the Harvard Africa Policy Journal, Dr. Anim-Wright describes the role that higher education plays in leading to a better way of life. She also discusses the need for institutional advancement to grow across the continent to offer more scholarships to needy students.

She is currently acting dean of the Centre for International Education and Collaboration at the University of Professional Studies, Accra, Ghana, responsible for facilitating opportunities for international experience and exchange through strategic partnerships and connections. She is also a senior lecturer in the UPSA Communications Department. She serves on the Board of Directors of MG Radio Ltd and is a member of the Ghana Institute of Languages Board.

Recently, she visited her alma mater to meet with UI&U President Karen Schuster Webb. Their discussion centered on building a co-national model for Ph.D. programs between the two universities that is online and hybrid and leverages both institutions resources. Plans are underway now to build this program in the near future.

In the Q & A below, she shares her insights on leadership.

Q. How do you define leadership?
A. I define leadership as the ability to serve others. I believe in an all-hands-on-deck philosophy. My belief is that to lead, one has to serve, and have empathy to understand the journey of those you lead.

Q. Share an example of how you’ve put leadership in action.
A. Watching my students excel. I love taking students under my wing and working directly with them to build their self-esteem, and help on their journey toward their purpose. Watching them then fly on their own and achieve their goals – that’s a great feeling.

Q. What leader do you admire most and why?
A. The leader I admire most is Maya Angelou. She embodied her words. Her life and achievements are an inspiration to me and inspire me to be better.

Q. What is your favorite inspiring leadership quote?
A. My favorite inspiring quote is, “Never let go of your dreams.” Once I had a student who lacked self-confidence and was very shy. I told her she had great potential and to never let go of her dreams and took her under my wing. Before long she just blossomed. Just before graduation, she brought me a wooden plaque with those words carved in the wood and presented it to me. I have it to this day. And she and I have remained in touch.

Q. When did you first feel that you were a leader? What was the experience?
A. I didn’t realize I was a leader until I started to get promoted in my professional life. Prior to that, I was just being me, focusing on work and giving it my all. When the promotions kept coming, that’s when I realized that people around me saw me as a leader and I eventually began to feel and see myself as one.

Union’s Ph.D. program incorporates interdisciplinary study to expand and deepen knowledge and expertise. Click here to learn more. Your Goals. Your Success. Your Union. We’ve Got U!

Kerry Skiffington

Union Recognizes National Recovery Month This observance offers the opportunity to highlight the career of alumna Kerry Skiffington.

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A Message of Hope

Kerry Skiffington

A Message of Hope

Too often the stigmatizing of addiction leads to self-loathing. But Addictions Recovery Counselor Kerry Skiffington, M.A. says, “These are people with a problem. I have found my clients to be some of the most creative and sensitive individuals who have enormous gifts to offer society, if they will believe in their own significance.”

The Vermont resident is pursuing a career in addictions recovery to help such people. “Unfortunately, my state is challenged by a drug epidemic,” said Skiffington. “I want to be part of the solution.”

Her training as a Hypnotherapist prepared her in group facilitation, meditation and mindfulness but to work in substance abuse, she had to have a master’s in counseling. She looked for a university that could accommodate that goal.

“I had to work and I had children at home. I couldn’t quit my job and attend a bricks-and-mortar school,” said Skiffington. “I searched for a university that offered flexibility, online classes and face-to-face academic experience.”

She found Union’s hybrid program to be the ideal solution to fit the needs for a true adult student without sacrificing quality.

“I loved my time at Union. My professors were excellent, both online and in-person at the New England Academic Center in Brattleboro. I cherish the time spent with them and my fellow students,” said Skiffington.

Pursuing a career goal is not always easy but it is possible. “My Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling are allowing me to help people and change lives,” said Skiffington.

She offers this message of hope to people challenged by substance abuse. “You can live a productive and meaningful life. I try and show them the road to recovery exists.”

To learn more about a rewarding career in counseling, visit the Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program by clicking on this link or the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling – Graduate Certificate program by clicking on this link or phone 800-861-6400.