KCC Vice President Keck named Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership by Michigan ACE Women’s Network

Dr. Keck poses with KCC staff after accepting the 2019 Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award from the Michigan ACE Women’s Network.
Dr. Kay Keck

The Michigan ACE Women’s Network today presented Dr. Kay Keck, Vice President for Student and Community Services at Kellogg Community College, as the 2019 recipient of the organization’s Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award.

The award, given to Dr. Keck during a luncheon in Lansing, recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves by providing outstanding leadership to women in their institutions, in their profession and in society. The award recognizes work on behalf of women in higher education that is beyond the scope of a recipient’s formal job responsibilities.

“People who know me know that I don’t seek the spotlight, but I am deeply honored to receive this award and appreciative of the perspective I’ve gained over the years to help other women grow and advance in their professions,” Dr. Keck said. “While I’m proud of what Kellogg Community College and society at large have accomplished in terms of addressing salary and opportunity gaps for women in higher education, I know that our collective work in this regard isn’t finished. That is why women and men across higher education must continue to advocate for fairness in every facet of the workplace while meeting the standards of equity that we expect of modern institutions.”

Dr. Keck is the fourth female vice president in KCC’s history, currently serving as Vice President for Student and Community Services. Her career at the College includes positions in Financial Aid and as Dean of Enrollment Management and Registrar.

Dr. Keck earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Western Michigan University, where her doctoral work focused on student retention in the community college. She is a graduate of Battle Creek Central High School and earned an associate degree from KCC, a bachelor’s degree from Spring Arbor University and a master’s degree from Central Michigan University. She also completed the 2002 Michigan Leadership Institute and the 2009 Battle Creek Area Leadership Challenge. Dr. Keck is a lifelong resident of Battle Creek, where she lives with her husband, John.

“Dr. Keck regularly serves as mentor, role model and advocate in helping other women identify and navigate successful career paths,” said KCC President Mark O’Connell. “She leads with grace, compassion, equity, and logic and is valued at KCC for living these values. It is unlikely that all who benefitted from her advocacy were ever fully aware of the extent to which she worked on their behalf, which makes this selfless act even more inspiring and this award from the ACE Women’s Network even more meaningful.”

While introducing her during the ACE Women’s Network event in Lansing today, O’Connell said Dr. Keck’s work at the College includes providing leadership for the Center for Diversity and Innovation, which was charged with shifting the community mindset around issues of equity and inclusion. She also was instrumental in launching the KCC Equity and Inclusion Committee, which is currently involved in campus education and training regarding equity and inclusion and assessing the equity climate at the College.

In 2018, Dr. Keck supported the launch of the College’s first chapter of the Michigan ACE Women’s Network. In the community, Dr. Keck serves on the United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region Board of Directors. She also serves on the board for the Michigan Community College Student Services Association.

“It is the sign of a truly great leader when one not only lifts as she climbs, but also engages in purposeful self-reflection to become an even more intentional and effective leader and role model. Kay would never seek or expect any accolades or credit for all she has done for women at KCC, which makes the honor of nominating her even more special,” O’Connell said.

The ACE Women’s Network is affiliated with the American Council on Education and works to advance and support women who are interested in pursuing leadership opportunities in higher education. For more information about ACE, visit www.acenet.edu.

For more news about Kellogg Community College, view our latest press releases online at https://daily.kellogg.edu/category/news-releases.