By Andrew Kutzer
On April 15, KU held the presidential inauguration of Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson as its 12th president. PASSHE officials from the PA state system appeared for the ceremony. The inauguration marked the spring semester’s culmination of the sesquicentennial celebration.
The ceremony had students, alumni from 1935 to 2015, PASSHE officials, state officials and invited guests pack in to Schaeffer auditorium. The university and KUTV streamed the inauguration live.
Hawkinson gave thanks to family, friends and guests during his speech. He spoke about his views on the role of education. “Our job as educators of students is to make them curious,” said Hawkinson.
Ann Marie Hayes-Hawkinson, his wife, awarded him with the university’s presidential medallion. An audible awe could be heard when she gave Hawkinson a peck
on the cheek along with the medal.
Jack Thomas, president of Western Illinois University, was invited to speak before the official swearing in. From 2012-2015, Hawkinson worked as the provost for WIU.
Thomas read poetry from Maya Angelou and other literature, praising Hawkinson’s record. “He is a transformational leader who will move Kutztown University to national prominence,” said Thomas.
SGB president Joe Scoboria attended as one of the opening speakers at the inauguration.
“What impressed me most about Dr. Hawkinson was the combination of his experience serving in both the military and the peace corps,” said Scoboria.
Swearing in the president, PASSHE Chancellor Frank Brogan and John Wabby, Chair of the Council of Trustees, took the stage.
Board of Governors chair Guido Pichini was awarded an honorary doctorate from KU, receiving the degree from the newly inaugurated Hawkinson.
In a speech that brought Pichini to tears, he said that the doctorate represents 150 years of educators at KU.