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Tuscarawas News Detail

Kent State Intercollegiate Athletics Hosts Starner Distinguished Speaker Series

Posted Sep. 1, 2014
enter photo description
Kent State University alumnus J. Rich
, '77, is keynote speaker at
the 13th annual Starner Distinguished
Speaker Series on Sept. 9, presented
by Kent State’s Department of
Intercollegiate Athletics.

Kent State University’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics presents the 13th annual Starner Distinguished Speaker Series at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 9, at Cartwright Hall. This year's keynote address, "Reflections on Your Journey," will be given by Kent State alumnus J. Rich Alexander, '77, who currently serves as an operating partner with Advent International Corporation. The event is free and open to the public.

"We are thrilled to have Rich back on campus," says Matthew Geis, senior associate athletic director and executive director of athletic advancement at Kent State. "He is a great example of a former student-athlete successfully transferring the skills learned in athletic competition to his career.  I think the student-athletes will learn a lot from hearing about his career and life experiences."

A 1977 graduate of Kent State, Alexander was a three-time letter winner as a member of the Kent State swimming and diving team during the 1974-76 seasons. During his time on the Golden Flashes' swimming and diving team, Kent State posted a record of 26-6 and captured two Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships (1974 and 1976). Alexander was the 1975 MAC Champion in the 500 Freestyle, 4:41.42, and the 1,650 Freestyle, 16:25.94, under head coach Tod Boyle

Alexander, a native of Normall, Illinois, graduated cum laude from Kent State with a bachelor's degree in psychology and later completed his Master of Business Administration degree at Capital University. 

Alexander got his start in business when he joined PPG Industries in 1978 as a sales representative in Detroit and held several branch sales and marketing positions.  Alexander continued moving up in PPG Industrial while holding titles of senior vice president, performance coatings (2005), executive vice president for the reporting segment and assumed responsibility for the glass external reporting segment (2010). In 2011, Alexander was responsible for PPG's global architectural coatings business and maintained his leadership of the company's glass business and the corporate functions of marketing, purchasing and distribution. On March 1, 2013, Alexander retired from PPG Industrial.

Alexander also is chairman of the Board of Directors of ALLNEX SARL (a portfolio company of Advent International and Calgon Carbon Corporation) and is on the Board of Governors at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

The Starner Distinguished Speaker series is made possible by Kent State alumni Buzz and Marilyn Starner. The Starners’ endowed the speaker series to expose current student-athletes to alumni who have successfully transferred their lessons from athletic competition and student involvement to meaningful careers outside of athletics.  Buzz, '67, and Marilyn, '71, have been actively involved in supporting athletic programs at Kent State for many years. The Jackson Township couple is pleased with the strong emphasis that Kent State places on the academic skills of athletes and believes that the skills students develop in athletic competition also lead to success in life after college.

For more information, contact Alicia Gaffney at or call 330-672-8399.