SALEM - Dr. Steve Nameth, dean of Kent State University at Salem, announced that John McCord is the keynote speaker for commencement ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the KSU City Center auditorium.
Commencement ceremonies for the Kent State East Liverpool campus also will be held at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Memorial Auditorium (downtown YMCA), where Mike Parkes will address graduates.
A native of Summitville and a graduate of Southern Local High School, McCord is co-owner of Whitaker-Myers Insurance Group in Wooster, where he also served as chairman of the board and chief executive officer.
He has more than 36 years of experience in the insurance industry and holds the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) professional designation from the Insurance Institute of America.
Whitaker-Myers is a full service independent insurance agency with offices in Wooster, Ashland and Mansfield. It has grown to become one of Ohio's top 40 privately owned independent insurance agencies with clients that range from homeowners and small businesses to well-known national organizations.
McCord began his Kent State academic career at the Salem campus, which was then housed in the former Bliss Manufacturing office building in Salem.
He earned two degrees from KSU. The first was a bachelor's of arts in political science completed in 1971, followed in 1973 by a master's of education degree with an emphasis in special education.
He also attended the San Francisco Theological Seminary through a Rockefeller Grant. He serves as the chair of the board of trustees for the Wayne County Humane Society and is a member of the Kent State University Insurance Advisory Committee. McCord served as chairman of the board of trustees for The Village Network, where he is also a member of the strategic planning committee and is now a trustee emeritus.
McCord also volunteered as an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 71 in Wooster, and served on the board of trustees for the Viola Startzman Free Clinic and the YMCA of Wooster. He is a member of the Chartered Property and Casualty Society; Wooster Country Club; Little Beaver Creek Land Foundation (Columbiana County); Audubon Society; Sierra Club; The Wilderness Society; and the Restore Hetch-Hetchy Organization (related to Yosemite National Park). McCord and his wife Laura, who is a 1974 KSU graduate, now live in Wooster and are the parents of Andrew (Houston), Jordan (New York City) and Alex (Columbus).
Parkes started his academic journey at KSU and received a bachelor of arts in mathematics in 1973. He also attended graduate courses at KSU and the leadership school at the University of Central Florida; executive development training at the University of Georgia; and management and negotiations coursework at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Parkes received a certificate for professional achievement in organizational development from DePaul University and graduated from the FBI Citizens' Academy in 2009.
Born and raised in East Liverpool, Parkes worked as the vice president and secretary of The Potters Bank and Trust Company for 15 years. He switched gears in 1993 after accepting a position as the community and employee relations manager at Heritage-WTI Inc., where he worked until his retirement this past April.
Parkes is committed to the community and volunteers his time and talents to a plethora of community organizations and advisory boards. He served as a board member and past president of the East Liverpool Chamber of Commerce; director and past president of the Kent State East Liverpool Campus Advisory Board; board member and past chapter chairman of the Red Cross (East Liverpool Chapter); president of the East Liverpool City Schools Education and Scholarship Fund; member, past president and treasurer of the East Liverpool Rotary Club; and member of the board of trustees at Trinity Presbyterian Church.
Parkes is also past chairman and board member of East Liverpool City Hospital's board of trustees; former vice president, board member and reunion chairman of East Liverpool High School Alumni Association; past president and campaign chairman of the East Liverpool Area United Way; past president of the East Liverpool Area Community Improvement Corporation; and life member and past vice president of the East Liverpool Area Jaycees.
For his outstanding efforts to improve the community in which he works and lives, Parkes received the East Liverpool Distinguished Service Award. He is also a recipient of the East Liverpool Civic Service Award and the Ohio Educational Service Center Association Outstanding Leadership Award. For his commitment to Kent State University, Parkes received its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1990.
Parkes and his wife Marilyn reside at Guilford Lake and have two sons, Michael (Columbus) and Matthew (East Liverpool), and two grandchildren, Charlotte and Samuel.