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Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson

Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson began his tenure as the 12th president of Kutztown University on July 1, 2015.

Since his arrival at KU, Hawkinson has established 53 initiatives for the institution focusing on nine areas such as academic excellence, enrollment management and student success, and expanding educational opportunity and access.   He also has overseen the implementation of KU's first action plan, highlighted by the identification of the university's Programs of Distinction.  Hawkinson's community outreach efforts have included the establishment of "Walks with Wynnie," weekly campus walks featuring the Hawkinsons' family dog, and a new performing arts society.

Before coming to KU, Hawkinson was provost at Western Illinois University from 2012-15 where he was responsible for areas including university planning, fiscal and enrollment management, curriculum and contract negotiations. 

Prior to assuming his position as provost, Hawkinson served Western Illinois for four years as associate provost and associate vice president for budget, planning and personnel, where he oversaw all aspects of academic affairs, including contract administration, summer session and curriculum. Previously, he was associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication and chair of the Department of Communication.

Hawkinson began his academic career at Western Illinois as an assistant professor of communication, and later was promoted to associate, then full professor. He also was an adjunct professor in African American Studies and an instructor in the Honors Program. During his time on the faculty, he served as leader of both the Faculty Senate and the faculty union. He has published numerous articles and dozens of professional papers. His research interests and creative pursuits include storytelling, oral tradition and performance of literature.

About Dr. Hawkinson


  • Ph.D. Southern Illinois University, 1986 (Speech Communication/Performance Studies)
  • M.A. Western Illinois University, 1979  (Speech Communication)
  • B.A. Western Illinois University, 1978 (History)
  • A.A. Elgin Community College, 1976

Professional History

  • President, Kutztown University, 2015-
  • Provost and Academic Vice President, Western Illinois (WIU), 2012-15
  • Interim Provost, WIU, 2011
  • Associate Provost and Vice President for Budget, Planning and Personnel, WIU, 2007-11
  • Associate Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication, WIU, 2005-07
  • Department Chair, Communication, WIU, 1997-2007
  • Assistant, Associate, Full Professor, Communication, WIU, 1988-97
  • Fulbright Scholar, University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (West Africa), 1991
  • Volunteer Professor, Peace Corps, 1986-88
  • Officer, United States Army, 1979-82

Hawkinson earned his bachelor's degree in history from Western Illinois. He also has a Master of Arts in speech communication from the institution and holds a doctorate in speech communication/performance studies from Southern Illinois University. He was a Fulbright Scholar from 1990-91, during which he taught American studies at the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa, and conducted research in African folklore and oral tradition.

Hawkinson was in the U.S. Army for three years. After serving in the Illinois National Guard as a field artillery officer and executive officer for a field artillery battery, he joined the Army as an infantry officer. He served in Germany as a platoon leader and a weapons platoon leader, and as a public affairs officer. He also served for two years as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Mali, West Africa.

A native of Carpentersville, Ill., Hawkinson is married to the former Ann Marie Hayes.   His son, Jivan Deglise-Favre-Hawkinson, recently completed his doctoral studies in engineering at the University of Michigan.