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Assoc. Dean Northern honored with university-wide Diversity Enhancement Award

June 21, 2010 | Faculty

Associate Dean Kathy Northern was presented the 2010 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award, which is a University-wide award that recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a significant commitment to enhancing diversity at Ohio State and to exceeding expectations in implementing the Diversity Action Plan. Ohio State recognizes just five award winners annually from the University’s nearly 25,000 faculty and staff members.

Northern, who is the College’s associate dean for admissions and an associate professor of law, is renowned at Moritz for her specific service to a diverse student community. As a professor, Northern has held hundreds of student counseling and tutoring sessions and provided a sounding board for students dealing with diversity-based issues.

Northern was described by Diane Thomas ’03 as an educator whose “personal character — calm, quiet yet commanding — provides an excellent model of professional conduct for Moritz students in general and diverse students in particular.”

Dean Michaels added: “Kathy Northern recognizes students’ special potential, helps them gain the confidence that they could succeed and provided the encouragement they needed when they faced formidable hurdles.”

Beyond the dedicated personal attention Northern provides to students, she also has served as a faculty advisor to many diverse student groups, including the Hispanic Law Students Association, the Middle Eastern Law Student Organization, the Asian-Pacific American Law Student Association, and the Christian Legal Society. As a professional leader of all of these student groups, Northern promotes diverse student activism in the Ohio State and law communities.

Northern also attempts to break down diversity barriers for youth in the urban areas of Columbus surrounding Ohio State. She acts as the coordinator of the Law and Leadership Institute, which is a pipeline program designed to prepare eighth- and ninth-grade students from low-income families and under-served schools the skills and encouragement they need to succeed in college and life. As one of her former students noted, Kathy Northern’s commitment to diversity enhancement of youths, college students and the local community is truly a “life cycle” approach.

Northern earned her bachelor’s degree from Williams College and her law degree from Harvard University. Following graduation, she served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert M. Duncan, United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio and then joined the law firm of Porter, Wright, Morris, & Arthur in Columbus. She joined Ohio State in 1991.