Ashland University Students Honor Their Mentors

1/30/12 ASHLAND, OH -- Eight Ashland University faculty and staff members were honored during the University’s 26th annual Academic Mentor Awards recognition ceremony held Jan. 27.

The program recognizes faculty whose academic leadership with regard to students extends beyond the classroom. The mentors, each nominated by an Ashland student, were presented an engraved silver plate at the event held in John C. Myers Convocation Center.

This year’s Mentor Award recipients are: Kathleen Brenan, associate professor of accounting; Dr. Steven Fenster, assistant professor of biology; Emily Hess, visiting instructor of history and political science; Dr. Justin Lyons, associate professor of political science; Dr. Richard Stoffer, professor of biology; Dr. Deborah Sullivan, professor of family and consumer sciences; Dr. John Swope, assistant dean of Religious Life; and Dr. Terry Wardle, professor of church planting and spiritual formation at the Ashland Theological Seminary.

Friends, colleagues and family members attended the luncheon, joined by members of Ashland’s administration and Board of Trustees. Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew welcomed the guests and presided over the event, while President Dr. Frederick Finks commended the award recipients and the students who nominated them.

Dr. Jeffrey Russell, dean of the Dauch College of Business and Economics; Dr. Dawn Weber, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. Dan Lawson, dean of Religious Life; and Dr. Dale Stoffer, seminary academic dean, presented the awards.

Students nominated faculty and staff members using the criteria of: history of their relationship, how they benefited academically, how their personal development has been enhanced by their mentor and what impact the mentor has had on the student’s progress at the University. Selections were made by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Ashland University Board of Trustees from the information included in the nomination letters.

Students who submitted winning nominations included: Nichole Baer, a senior from Mansfield, majoring in accounting, nominating Brenan; Charles Davis, a senior from New Haven, Ohio, majoring in biology, nominating Fenster; Katie Hilton, a senior from Marshallville, Ohio, majoring in middle grades language art and social studies, nominating Hess; Dantan Wernecke,  a senior from Lexington, Ohio, majoring in political science; nominating Lyons; Mary Cargill, a senior from Wadsworth, Ohio, majoring in environmental science, nominating Stoffer; Jessica Sommer, a senior from Minster, Ohio, majoring in family and consumer science, nominating Sullivan; Zach Heffner, a senior from Kingsville, Ohio, majoring in history, nominating Swope; and Ryan Otto, a seminary student from Ashland, majoring in general ministry, nominating Wardle.

In nominating the recipients of this year’s Mentor Awards, the students wrote one-page essays about their mentors. Passages from these essays were distributed at the luncheon.

Ashland University ( is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.


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