7/13/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Kris Hovsepian, assistant professor of marketing at Ashland University and a native of Berea, has been inducted into the Sam Walton Fellow Hall of Fame for the work she has done with Ashland University's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE).
Hovsepian has served as the adviser to the SIFE group at Ashland University since 1991. The group has captured first place in regional competition nine times out of the last 19 years.
Hovsepian is a native of Berea and the daughter of the late Henry and Margaret Barr, longtime residents of Berea.
Brittany Dennis, associate director of the SIFE USA Programs Department, noted the significance of the induction.
"Induction into the Sam Walton Fellow Hall of Fame is among the highest honors within the SIFE organization," Dennis said. "In addition to recognizing their length of service, impact on their community and overall success of their SIFE program, induction into the SIFE Hall of Fame recognizes those Sam Walton Fellows whose level of dedication and success serve as a guidepost for current and future faculty advisors to follow."
SIFE is an international non-profit organization that works with leaders in business and higher education to mobilize university students to make a difference in their communities while developing the skills to become socially responsible business leaders. Participating students form teams on their university campuses and apply business concepts to develop outreach projects that improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need. An annual series of regional and national competitions provides a forum for teams to present the results of their projects, and to be evaluated by business leaders serving as judges.
"Ashland University was accepted and we first participated during the 1991-92 academic year and competed in Chicago, where we won 'rookie of the year' that year," Hovsepian recalled. "We have competed every year since, winning a lot of times and even placing as second runner-up at nationals twice."
Hovsepian noted that former Provost Dr. Lucille Ford first encouraged her to apply for a SIFE team at Ashland.
"She was the one who got me involved with SIFE. She called me into her office in March of 1991 and presented me with the information on SIFE," she said. "She gave me a 10-page application and encouraged me to apply for AU. I do remember asking her when it was due and she told me it had to be post-marked the next day."
Hovsepian said the application was easy to complete because she was and remains a huge fan of free enterprise.
"My dad and three of my brothers own or owned their own businesses. My father-in-law owned his own business and my husband and brother-in-law are both self-employed," she said. "And my own business experience includes starting, running and successfully selling my own business as well."
Hovsepian said the Ashland SIFE team will be celebrating its 20 years as part of SIFE international this coming academic year. Ashland's SIFE program consists of about 35 students each year.
"The primary purpose of SIFE is to promote the idea of free enterprise by getting students involved in projects," Hovsepian said. "These projects teach the students about finance literacy, entrepreneurship, business ethics and environmental sustainability."
Hovsepian said she continues to believe in the SIFE program and concept and continues to hear from her students who praise the program.
Ashland University (www.ashland.edu<http://www.ashland.edu>) 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.