To lead is a responsibility Ashland University does not take lightly.

This obligation is especially significant when it comes to setting up our students for success, both now and for the future.

Ashland’s “Accent on the Individual” motto has a long, rich history. And for good reason! It remains as true today as it did decades ago. The individual is always the primary focus—because it’s through inspired, educated, and enlightened individuals coming together that true, lasting change happens in our world.

We love to hear from our students, alumni, donors, and friends. Every member of our Institutional Advancement team wants to serve and connect with you and incorporate you in the life of the University. Whether it's more information about a story on our homepage, or an event about which you would like more details, please don't hesitate to contact our leadership team—and, of course, consider showing your pride with a gift of support. We look forward to exploring how we can work together for a brighter future for all our students and the Ashland family.

Below, you can learn more about the dedicated individuals who work every day to create a holistic student experience for everyone who comes to Ashland to find their passion; their life’s calling; their story.

Dr. Carlos Campo


My story of Ashland is interesting, in that it didn’t happen here.

Back in my days as a professor, I taught 20th-century drama and English. I began all of my classes by going around the room and asking each student to name a book they loved. I didn’t care what it was—as long as they were reading, I knew I could get through to them.

One student in particular—we’ll call him George—answered the question with a shake of his head: “I don’t read,” he said. “At all. I hate it.” I worked with him all semester, but by the end, it didn’t seem like I’d accomplished much. George still didn’t seem interested in reading.

Fast forward a few years, and I was pulling up to a hotel in Las Vegas. I looked out my window and saw a valet I recognized. I asked another employee if it was George.

The man replied, “George? You mean Shakespeare?”

“Shakespeare?” I asked, a bit confused.

“Yeah,” said the man. “We call him Shakespeare because he never shuts up about the books he’s always reading.”

I consider this my Ashland story because it fully encapsulates what our mission is here at this institution. Because, if we truly believe in the “Accent on the Individual” credo, then it directly follows that we believe each and every student, faculty member, alumnus and staff member has intrinsic worth. Each has extraordinary value. From day one, it’s been my mission to make sure no student fails here at Ashland as long as I’m President. I—and my entire team—work every day to make sure no individual is ever treated like just another member of the group. I firmly believe there is no such thing as “an average human being.” We all have a higher purpose, a divine calling, and it is our job to make sure everyone within the Ashland community is given every opportunity to realize their potential.

Kyle Vaughn

Executive Director of Institutional Advancement

Dr. Sharon Valente was my advisor while I was here as a finance major. She took a genuine interest in me as a student and pushed me beyond what I thought I could do. She left the university in ’08, and we lost touch for a number of years. I was a late adopter of Facebook, and when I finally joined, within ten minutes, she’d sent me a friend request. She took a real interest in my life; she still sends me personal emails. Dr. Valente was a great teacher and made sure I was successful as a student while she was here. But, she’s shown time and time again that even though she’s not teaching here anymore, even all these years later, she’s still making sure that I’m successful in life.

To Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Lori Byron

Business Manager

One of the things I love about Ashland is the fact that my husband and I came here looking for jobs, but we found a home. I sometimes wish I was an alum of Ashland. I’ve seen “Accent on the Individual” in action here, but I never got to experience it firsthand as a student. My college experience was perfectly fine, but there’s still some jealousy there. I’ve felt it as an employee, of course, but I would’ve loved to be in this environment as an 18-year-old.

We have a family at both the University and the Seminary, and you can feel the warmth and love radiating off of people. I have family in New York and Pennsylvania who come visit us, and they’re like, “How in the world did you find this place?” Everyone is just exceptionally loving, incredibly giving, and when they say they’re praying for you, they actually mean it. If you’re going through a hard time, you’re getting an extra dose of support. Even months later, you still get follow-up care—around the holidays, for example. It’s amazing. People make fun of the whole “Ashland is someplace special,” but having lived a lot of other places, it really is true.

To Contact the Office of Institutional Advancement: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Jason Miller

Chief Advancement Officer

I think some of my fondest memories at Ashland came from playing on the baseball team. At the time, Ashland was the only Division II school in Ohio, so we traveled all over the Midwest. We also played a lot of Division I schools, including several Big 10 teams—Michigan State, Ohio State, Indiana. In 1995, we made it to the College World Series. We took a bus down to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The whole experience was fantastic. I built a lot of lasting friendships during that time, and those years as an undergrad here shaped the direction of my life in amazing and lasting ways.

To Contact a Major Gift Officer: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Amy Clark

Associate Director of Planned Giving

I’ve been at Ashland University almost 19 years. I love the atmosphere and the people. My co-workers are my extended family – my friends away from home. I came to Ashland with a paralegal degree and while working full-time, I completed my bachelor’s degree. Being a non-traditional student, I attended classes in the evenings and on weekends. I am grateful to Ashland for the opportunity to earn my degree, work, and allow my children to attend AU.

To Contact the Office of Planned Giving: call 419-289-5090 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Jeff Alix

Director of Alumni Engagement

Being from New Hampshire, as a high school senior I had never heard of Ashland University. A good family friend graduated from here, though, and he turned me on to what a great place this was. I wanted to play basketball, which was another reason why Ashland felt like it was a good fit. That first semester, however, was kind of a rough transition. If it hadn't been for professors like Dr. Bob Wendling and Dr. Don Rinehart, I doubt I would have stayed. But they reached out to me on a personal level and made me feel welcome. They cared about my academics, of course, but their main concern was for me as an individual. Those are the things that stick with you through the years, and those experiences have helped me a lot in my current position here at the University. In building relationships with other alumni, the experiences where the “Accent on the Individual” really stands out are what connect those who graduated from Ashland to those currently experiencing Ashland and all it has to offer first-hand. People here care about each other, which is one of the main reasons Ashland is such a special place.

To Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement: call 419-289-5082 or email alumni@ashland.edu

Jill Charlton

Director of Alumni Programming

I graduated from Ashland in 1982. I was an RA and Assistant Hall Director in Amstutz, and my senior year was the first year we had a coed dorm on campus. Sue Heimann was my Hall Director, and the one thing she talked to us about was that, because there are going to be guys in the dorms, we really had to make sure they followed the rules because they were always kind of crazy there in the dorms. The first night we were all in the dorm, we had to do rounds for quiet hours. I came to one room where the stereo was blaring. I knocked on the door and told them they had to turn the music down. I met my husband that night when he called me something we’re not able to print on the website. I remember thinking, “Oh, buddy, You’re gonna really get it.” I met him in person the next day. We dated from that point on, got married after he graduated, and had three children—each of whom came to AU and met their spouses here. He still claims he wasn’t the one who called me the word we can’t print, but I know it was him.

To Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement: call 419-289-5082 or email alumni@ashland.edu


Assistant Director of Alumni Programming

I feel like my co-workers are my family. The support I receive here is the single most memorable part of my experience here. I see the commitment to “Accent on the Individual” lived out each day. I also feel a lot of love and camaraderie with the alumni I’ve gotten to know over the years.

One of the most vivid memories I have of my time at AU was a few years ago when we organized a Greek reunion on campus. It was incredibly well-attended, and it was amazing to see all these people come back to the university and reconnect after all these years. And that’s what it’s all about, right? We’re in the business of reconnection.

To Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement: call 419-289-5082 or email alumni@ashland.edu

Allison Gourniak

Director of Annual Giving

My fondest memory of Ashland was receiving an “Ashland cookie” after my first interview. They sent it to me in Pennsylvania, where I was living at the time. It spoke to their commitment to the values we talked about during my interview. It felt like they cared about me. That experience inspired me to be more thoughtful towards people and to show that same level of kindness to those I interact with on a daily basis.

To Contact the Office of Alumni Engagement: call 419-289-5082 or email alumni@ashland.edu

Mark Libs

Assistant Director of Annual Giving

From my first moment at Ashland, I knew it was where I was meant to be. Everyone was so welcoming and genuinely interested in not only my past work experience but who I was as an individual. That warmth and genuine care truly inspired me to become part of the Ashland family.

My most vivid memory so far is talking with a number of our Alumni Board members at the homecoming football game. I’d only been working at Ashland for a few days, but they treated me as if I had known them for years. They helped me navigate campus, told me stories about their time at Ashland and they each thanked me for coming on board to help continue all the traditions they have grown to love.

To Contact the Alumni Office: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Flora Picoulas

Director of Advancement Services

Having taken a position here at AU just over a year ago, I think the memory that stands out the most to me was my first Founder’s Dinner. I was seated next to this older gentleman—he must’ve been in his 80s, I thought—and he was having a little trouble reading the menu. So, I helped him a little with that and we got to chatting. He seemed like an incredibly sweet guy. So, fast forward a year, and I’m at the Celebration of Every Individual over Homecoming weekend. They start playing this video of an interview with a man who had just died a few days before. It was him! I learned it was Dr. Nethers, and it hit me in that moment how beloved he was to so many people. I had talked to him at that prior event and didn’t know he was loved as much as he was within the Ashland Community. It kind of hit me in that moment what he meant to this community—along with what that says about Ashland at its heart.

To Contact the Office of Advancement Services: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Karen Hoehn

Gift Processing and Records Coordinator

I’ve been at Ashland for 18 years. It’s been amazing to work on some of the great advancement initiatives and get to know our donors during my time here. One of my fondest memories was bringing my daughter to work with me some days during the summer, starting when she was two. As she grew up, she’d help with some tasks around the office—stapling, stuffing envelopes, those kinds of things. And now she’s 20 years old and a sophomore here at AU and my son is on the grounds crew!

To Contact the Office of Advancement Services: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Sharon Lowe

Director of University Grants and Foundation Relations

It's the students at Ashland who keep me engaged and excited about my work. I've been in higher education for nearly 15 years and it's incredibly fulfilling to know that what I do every day has a high impact on students’ lives. You see it, day in and day out. It adds value to their Ashland experience. I’m where I am today because of the generosity of others, and I feel a deep sense of gratitude and responsibility to pay that kindness forward. I know there were many people working in the background on my behalf to help me receive my education. Facilitating this opportunity for others is what drives me.

To Contact the Office of Grants and Foundation Relations: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Shelley Rindfuss

Grants Manager

When I think about Ashland, I first think about the people. I feel like my superiors make it a point to advocate for me. And I have felt that support from the first moment I arrived here. It’s such a positive environment.

The people here are amazing. Sharon (Lowe) has been incredible to work for. She’s left a huge impression on me. We celebrate each other. We love what we do. And we get the job done. It’s incredible.

I came from Cleveland, but now I’m from a farm community. I’ve even learned how to work a combine. You see the harvest and the work that goes into it. The transition has been incredible. The seeds are planted, the shoots come up, and the farmers are responsible for making sure everything—and everyone—around you grows into what they’re supposed to be. My job now isn’t all that much different.

To Contact the Office of Grants and Foundation Relations: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu

Sarah Swaisgood

Proposal Writer, University Grants and Foundation Relations

One of my favorite memories of AU is from years ago, long before I worked here. I was helping to coordinate a PTO fundraiser event at my kids’ elementary school. We wanted the event to be fun, high-energy and focused on fitness. One of our committee members reached out to the AU Women’s Basketball team to be a part of our event. The team enthusiastically agreed, which was amazing, because in Ashland they were practically celebrities. On the day of the event, they were wonderful with the kids, leading them through yoga, hula-hooping and even running laps around the field (the parents were grateful because we didn’t have to do it!). The young women were not only willing to serve but showed genuine love and care for the children in our community. We were both incredibly thankful to the women’s team and so impressed with their all-around character. The student-athletes illustrated the values of Ashland University. AU cares not only about each student’s academic development but also about helping them grow as individuals who will someday be part of a greater community. I’m proud to be a part of that!

To Contact the Office of Grants and Foundation Relations: call 419-289-5620 or email au-advancement@ashland.edu