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NKU Alumni Awards

Dec. 15, 2022 - Northern Kentucky University announces its 2023 Alumni Awards recipients as Tom Wiedemann, Maria M. Reynolds, Jeff Jordan, Kayla D. Pecchioni and Robert Wallace. They will be honored at the Alumni Awards Dinner and Celebration on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, to kick off Homecoming Weekend at NKU. 

“The impact of these esteemed alumni and faculty member on campus and in the community is immeasurable, and we are grateful for their continued support of NKU’s values and mission of being a student-focused, regionally engaged university,” shared Eric Gentry, NKU vice president of university advancement. “We honor these award winners for using their skills and talents in service and support of their craft, our students, and this region.”


Tom Wiedemann

Tom Wiedemann ('90) is the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Alumnus Award for enhancing the image of NKU through both his success and accomplishments. Wiedemann is the president and chief executive officer of AAA Club Alliance, which serves more than six million members with 5,000 employees across 13 states and Washington, D.C. Wiedemann also serves on AAA National’s Board of Directors, is vice-chair of AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, and served for over a decade on AAA’s Automotive Subcommittee including six years as chair. He is a member of the Cincinnati Regional Business Committee (CRBC), Young President’s Organization (YPO) and serves on the board of Deaconess Associations, Inc. In addition to Wiedemann’s business focus and success, he is highly engaged in the community with a special passion for the Freestore Foodbank, St. Vincent de Paul and the American Cancer Society where he serves on the executive committee of the annual Cincinnati Golf Classic. Wiedemann graduated from NKU with a Bachelor of Science degree in management. Wiedemann remains active at NKU, currently serving as president of the NKU Foundation Board of Directors. He also previously served as president of NKU’s Alumni Board of Directors. In 2017, Wiedemann was honored with the “Business Leader of the Year” award from the NKU Haile College of Business. Wiedemann and his wife, Mary Jo, have two children and reside in Anderson Township, Ohio.


Maria M. Reynolds

Maria M. Reynolds ('87, '18) is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award for contributing time, talent and effort enhancing the quality of life at NKU or making her community a better place to live. Reynolds is the chief technology & innovation officer at Eagle Financial Services, a role she has held since May 2022. Prior to her current role, she spent 28 years at Procter & Gamble, where she most recently served as a senior supply chain leader, and led the delivery of innovation as well as the design, operation, and optimization of many regional and global supply chains across the health care and fabric care business. Additionally, in 2018, Reynolds founded Delta Coaching and Consulting, which uses real-world experience and the latest methods and tools to provide executive and career coaching and business consulting. Reynolds is a proud two-time graduate of NKU, first graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in information systems in 1987 before returning in 2018 to earn her Master of Science in executive leadership and organizational change (ELOC). While at NKU from 1983-1987, Reynolds was on the women’s tennis team. Since graduating, she served a six-year term on the NKU Alumni Board of Directors, including recently completing two years as president. Reynolds lives in Covington, Ky., with her husband, Tom.


Jeff Jordan

Jeff Jordan ('96) is the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Service Award for contributing time, talent and effort enhancing the quality of life at NKU or making his community a better place to live. Jordan serves as vice president of operations for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Cincinnati, an organization that changes lives and builds great futures for kids by enabling young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. As an NKU alum and former employee, Jordan co-founded the NKU R.O.C.K.S. mentoring program and established the Black Men’s Organization to provide avenues for students to flourish and become active, productive students on campus as well as in the community. He served a six-year term on the NKU Alumni Board of Directors and was a founding member of the NKU Black Alumni Council in 2015. Jordan obtained his bachelor’s degree in social work, mental health, and human services from NKU in 1996, and is a graduate of Illinois State University (’97), where he obtained his master’s degree in educational administration with an emphasis in college student personnel. Currently, Jordan is a doctoral candidate at NKU in the educational leadership program where he is writing his dissertation titled, “Understanding the Experience of Black Male Collegiate Students and Exploring the Factors that Lead to their Retention through Mentorship Programs.” He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and currently resides in Cincinnati with his wife, Angela, and son, Jeff, Jr.


Kayla Pecchioni

Kayla D. Pecchioni ('14) is the recipient of the 2023 Outstanding Young Alumna Award, which recognizes alumni who have graduated within the last 10 years or are under the age of 40 who have contributed through service by enhancing the quality of life at NKU or their community and/or who have distinguished themselves through professional accomplishments. Pecchioni is a professional stage actor and educator, who currently is performing in her second original Broadway cast in the hit musical, Some Like It Hot. Other theater credits include the original Broadway cast of Paradise Square, which allowed her to understudy 2022 Tony Award-winner Joaquina Kalukango and perform in the 2022 Tony Awards ceremony; as Maggie in A Chorus Line at Virginia’s Signature Theater; as Nabulungi in the U.S. National Tour of The Book of Mormon; and Dreamgirls in South Korea. Pecchioni is also on the teaching faculty for The Broadway Collective, where she prepares upcoming student-artists for the professional industry. She is devoted to reducing the stigma around mental-health care and spreading an overall awareness of kindness and tenacity in following your dreams. She is the inspiration for the children’s book series, Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess, which highlights the same message. Pecchioni graduated cum laude from NKU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. As a senior at NKU, Pecchioni was awarded the Most Outstanding Senior award by the NKU Theatre Arts faculty. Kayla currently resides in Harlem in New York City.


Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace is the recipient of the 2023 Faculty/Staff Strongest Influence Award. Wallace is Regents Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University, where he has taught since 1972. Throughout his 50-year career at NKU, Wallace has contributed to the success of students directly through the classroom environment, where he teaches writing and literature courses. A specialist in literature and the arts, he has published books on Jane Austen and Mozart, Emily Brontë and Beethoven, Melville and Turner, Frank Stella’s Moby-Dick, Douglass and Melville, and Heggie and Scheer’s Moby-Dick. Wallace is a past president of the Melville Society and a founding member of the Melville Society Cultural Project in New Bedford, Mass., where he coordinated an international conference on Frederick Douglass and Herman Melville in 2005. In 2015, Wallace and NKU student, Emma Rose Thompson, co-curated two exhibitions of artworks created by students in his classroom over a 20-year period: I Took My Power in My Hand, an Emily Dickinson exhibition in the Farris Reading Room at NKU’s Steely Library, and Moby Comes to Covington at the Kenton County Public Library. In 2016, Wallace co-curated two Moby-Dick exhibitions in Cincinnati, a two-man exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center and a nine-woman show at the Marta Hewett Gallery. Wallace holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitman College, and both a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in English from Columbia University.


The Alumni Awards Dinner and Celebration event will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, at the H. Gordon and Thelma S. Martin Ballroom in the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union. Tickets to the event include a cocktail reception, plated dinner, coffee bar, alumni gift, valet parking, and a ticket voucher for the men's Homecoming basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023. To purchase tickets, visit the Alumni Awards website.  


About NKU: Founded in 1968, NKU is an entrepreneurial state university of over 16,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus nestled between Highland Heights, Kentucky and bustling downtown Cincinnati. We are a regionally engaged university committed to empowering our students to have fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. While we are one of the fastest-growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit