“Empowering the Future” was the fitting theme for the installation ceremony for Ashish Vaidya as he took the oath to serve as Northern Kentucky University’s sixth president on March 29.

Vaidya was sworn in by State Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller as a full house at BB&T Arena looked on. The ceremony was the culmination of a weeklong celebration that included a host of public classes, the Lincoln Awards program, demonstrations of the Mechatronics lab, a cybersecurity panel discussion, a baseball game and more.

Justice Keller was impressed with the new president and the large contingent of family, friends and community leaders in the audience. “You could just feel the love in the place,” she says. “Ashish has already made a big impact on the community and it was terrific to see his family and friends travel so far to join in his special day.”

His longtime friend and mentor, Richard Rush, president emeritus of California State University, gave the keynote address. His daughter Jaanhvi and nieces, Alina Shah and Ruchira Shah, sang “In My Life,” a song by The Beatles. NKU regents Lee Scheben and Andra Ward and Student Government Association President Hannah Edelen participated in the program.

“Together we have a tremendous opportunity to redefine and reclaim the narrative about the significance of a 21st century public institution and the value of an NKU education,” Vaidya said in his remarks. “Our campus is home to diverse learners and we must meet their needs ... We have a moral obligation to ensure they receive every opportunity to meet their educational goals.”

Vaidya began his tenure at NKU on July 1 and chose a spring investiture to allow him time to understand the campus culture and region. He came to NKU from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota where he had also served as interim president. He and his wife, Nita Vaidya, a sociologist, have two children, Jaanhvi and Avaneesh.

Young Philanthropists
Three seventh graders at R.A. Jones Middle School got an idea for a community service project as part of their Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) and created an STLP Philanthropy Group.

Anna Seidl, Lily Hopkins and Skyler Earls were empowered by what they were learning and wanted to “give back without receiving anything” except the satisfaction of doing good. 

Their first project last October was “Socktober”—a sock drive for the Homeward Bound Shelter. They collected 80 pairs of socks and then delivered them in person to the shelter for the teens there.

Since then, they have done Blessing Bags (hygiene and personal items) and visited Elmcroft, a senior living center in Florence, where they played Uno with the residents. They are making bookmarks for the local library, doing teacher appreciation cards, planning a food drive and helping a third-grade class at Collins Elementary.

There is no end to their ideas.

Doing community service projects “makes you feel better about yourself, too,” says Seidl.

They’ll be presenting their project at the state STLP Competition and have been invited to speak at the annual Summit on Philanthropy held by the Horizon Community Foundation and the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative in Northern Kentucky.

Sad Loss of Longtime Public Servant
Edward “Ed” Schroeder spent 51 years as a Kenton County public servant, as sheriff, circuit court clerk and mayor of Ludlow. He died March 25 at age 88 at Atria Highland Crossing in Ft. Wright, surrounded by his family.

He is survived by four children: Dave, Susan, John and Steve. Dave is head of the Kenton County Libraries and a distinguished local historian.

Mr. Schroeder was active in the community and in his church, Sts. Boniface and James, where he served on the parish council and was founder of the Catholic Education Association. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lou Schroeder, in 2016.

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