KU Professor Selected as 2023 Circle of Excellence, Women of Influence Awards Recipient by Lehigh Valley Business

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University’s Dr. Jennifer Schlegel, associate professor of anthropology, has been selected by Lehigh Valley Business as a 2023 Women of Influence and Circle of Excellence honoree.

Women of Influence Awards honor high-achieving women for their career accomplishments. The honorees are selected based on their professional experience, community involvement and a commitment to mentoring. Circle of Excellence honorees are women of longstanding, notable success in the community who are leading the way for other women. To be eligible for the awards, the winners must live or work in the Greater Lehigh Valley region.

“This year’s Women of Influence are professionally successful and committed to making a difference, inspiring change and mentoring the next generation of leaders,” said Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, managing director of Lehigh Valley Business/Bridge Tower Media. “Our Circle of Excellence honorees have been leading the way for other women for many years, and this year’s Women to Watch are future leaders in the Lehigh Valley. We are pleased to honor this year’s Women of Influence."

Schlegel’s academic journey began with a bachelor’s degree in Classical Studies from the College of William and Mary, followed by a master's degree in anthropology from the University of South Carolina. She then pursued and obtained a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Schlegel's academic career has spanned over many years and taken her to various institutions. Her initial foray into academia saw her serve as a temporary faculty member at Kutztown University, where she left an indelible mark with her unwavering commitment and dedication to students. She then continued her career as a faculty member at Millersville University, where she excelled in her role as a classroom educator.

In 2009, Schlegel returned to KU and has since served in various capacities, including the role of director of the Honors Program from 2018-22. In her role as director, Schlegel's visionary leadership oversaw the program catering to students from more than 70 majors throughout the university. She was tasked with ensuring that KU's mission of providing top-performing students with opportunities for scholarship, leadership and service engagement was met – she achieved this with remarkable poise and grace. Schlegel worked collaboratively with representatives from various departments across the campus, helping to create a comprehensive and adaptable program that allows honors students to tailor their educational journey and achieve outcomes that will equip them for their post-KU endeavors. Schlegel has served in other leadership roles on campus, including president and vice president of the University Senate and as a member of the president’s faculty advisory committee.

At Kutztown University, Schlegel was recognized in 2022 with an undergraduate research and creativity faculty mentorship award and in 2013 for distinguished service for excellence in promoting cultural competence, an environment of inclusion and leadership in multiculturalism on the campus.

In addition to her roles at KU, Schlegel holds several positions at Diakon, a non-profit, charitable organization affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This organization provides services for children, youth, adults, families, older individuals and communities in Pennsylvania. Schlegel is a director on the parent board of Diakon, and the Diakon Social Ministries board, where the board members act collectively to govern the organization, rather than managing it. As a board member, Schlegel represents the voices of the communities they serve and evaluates the organization's effectiveness. As a member of a Lutheran congregation, she supports the mission and values of Diakon to the highest degree. Schlegel's additional responsibilities include participating in energetic discussions with senior leadership to ensure the organization's purpose is fulfilled, and its leadership is equipped to do so.

Schlegel was nominated for this prestigious award by Mr. Scott Habecker, president and CEO of Diakon.

“I have been proud to know Dr. Schlegel for several years following her appointment to the Board of Directors of Diakon Lutheran Social Ministries,” said Habecker. “She has been an incredibly valuable member of our Board, bringing an incredible passion for learning and a strong commitment to helping people in need. I have been impressed by her similar commitment to the many students that she has positively influenced in her educational leadership role at Kutztown University. Congratulations to Dr. Schlegel on this well-deserved award.”

Schlegel possesses an unbridled passion for education and a natural inclination to help others. With a deep commitment to her profession, she has dedicated her life to sharing knowledge, inspiring students and improving the world around her. Schlegel's tireless efforts have made a significant impact on countless individuals, and her unwavering dedication has earned her a reputation as a true luminary in the field of education.

The winners will be honored at a celebration Wednesday, May 10, at DeSales University Center. A networking reception begins at 5 p.m. followed by dinner and an awards celebration at 6 p.m.

Lehigh Valley Business is a multimedia news source with 37 years of journalistic excellence that breaks news daily on its website, LVB.com. It also publishes a print and online edition. In addition, Lehigh Valley Business publishes special focus sections and products throughout the year including Reader Rankings in addition to the yearly Book of Lists. It also hosts eight annual events, including Women of Influence, Icon Honors and Forty Under 40, to recognize excellence and provide leadership opportunities. Lehigh Valley Business facilitates thoughtful discussion with market leaders through its webinar series. Its Digital Marketing Solutions helps customers with social media, search engine marketing and optimization, retargeting, email marketing and more. Lehigh Valley Business and its sister publication, the Central Penn Business Journal, which covers business in Central Pennsylvania, are part of BridgeTower Media, the leading provider of B2B information, research, events and marketing solutions across more than 25 U.S. markets and industries.