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NKU to honor four outstanding alumni during Homecoming Weekend

University Marketing + Communications

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Northern Kentucky University alumni are blazing new trails in healthcare, shaping labor policy, constructing the cities of the future, and educating the communicators of tomorrow.

Next month, four outstanding alumni will be honored for their contributions to the community and the University at NKU’s annual Alumni Awards Celebration. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5 at the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union Ballroom. The event will serve as the kickoff for Homecoming Weekend.

“Garren Colvin, John Wagner, David Spaulding, and Michele Day put students first. They lead with excellence. And each of them has left a lasting impact upon the University and our region,” said Alumni Board of Directors President Frank Birkenhauer (’92, ’95). “We are proud to call them Norse, and we invite our alumni community to join us in honoring their achievements and contributions.”

Michele Day
Michele Day (’08, College of Informatics) will receive the Faculty/Staff Strongest Influence Award for her impact upon student journalists and communicators. As a lecturer and student media adviser, Day continually pushes her students to develop new skills, try new things, and be bold. She puts that into practice through innovative research projects and initiative, such as NKU’s Journalism in the Digital Age workshop.
John Wagner (’73, Haile/US Bank College of Business) of Anderson Township will receive the Distinguished Service Award for his commitment to NKU and to the region. At The Kroger Co., he rose from a senior personnel assistant at the general office to Vice President of Labor Relations. He helped shape labor and pension policies through his involvement with national organizations. Today, Wagner teaches a senior level Business Strategy Capstone class at NKU and serves on the Haile/US Bank College of Business Human Resource Advisory Council. 
David Spaulding (’06, Chase College of Law) of Fort Wright will receive the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award for his work in shaping the face of campus and the region. As General Manager at Turner Construction, Spaulding has had a hand in the construction of landmark buildings such as the Great American Tower at Queen City Square, and NKU’s Griffin Hall. He has remained active in the Chase Alumni Association and the Chase Foundation.
Garren Colvin (’96, Haile/US Bank College of Business) of Crescent Springs will receive the Outstanding Alumnus Award for his work in shaping the region’s healthcare industry. At St. Elizabeth Healthcare, he rose from a co-op student to president and CEO of Northern Kentucky’s largest employer. Colvin managed key growth initiatives such as the company’s successful merger with the former St. Luke Hospitals, and he has helped guide St. Elizabeth to financial security. As CEO, he oversees a health care network that includes six hospitals and more than 100 primary and specialty care locations across three states.

WLWT News 5 anchor Sheree L. Paolello (’96) will return as Master of Ceremonies for the Alumni Awards Celebration. Paolello received a bachelor’s degree in radio and television from NKU in 1996, and in 2014 she received the Distinguished Service Award. 

The event is Friday, Feb. 5 and will serve as the kickoff for Homecoming Weekend activities. To RSVP and purchase tickets, please visit

More information about Homecoming Weekend is available at