Tech support: Kevin Verner honors Professor Ronald Stockton by supporting classroom technology

4/15/2015

Kevin Verner honors Professor Ronald Stockton by supporting classroom technology.

Kevin Verner (’80 B.A.) felt like he had traveled the world even before he graduated from University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Verner fondly remembers how Political Science Professor Ronald Stockton would, on occasion, hold classes in his Dearborn home. There, he would share personal slideshows with his students, transporting them around the world to Africa and the Middle East.

“He opened our minds to different views of the world and helped prepare us to start thinking globally,” said Verner.

Stockton’s animated class discussions and enthusiasm made a lasting impression on Verner. And the way Stockton enriched and extended the educational environment challenged him.

“Learning can and should be fun, and a joyful and rewarding experience,” Verner said. “Ron treats his students as engaged adults and he has an incredible ability to make them feel like partners in the learning experience.”

To honor Stockton, Verner established a fund to support classroom technology updates in the Social Sciences Department. A classroom was converted to a seminar room as one result of his gift.

“I am really pleased to learn that my effort to engage students in serious discussions of serious issues was so beneficial to Kevin,” said Stockton. “I am very honored that he has made this donation in my name.”

But Verner isn’t just helping to update classroom technology. He’s also supporting student learning off campus by funding a scholarship for those who might not otherwise be able to afford to participate in unpaid internships.

“UM-Dearborn students work hard during their internships and they should be compensated accordingly,” Verner said. “I would hate for a student to miss out on an opportunity to complete an internship because they felt like they had to take a job unrelated to their studies to pay the bills.”

Verner himself took full advantage of internship opportunities as an undergrad. He was an intern at Detroit Edison for three semesters and considers himself fortunate to have gained real-world work experience related to his economics degree.

Verner now is lead independent director of Bally Technologies, Inc., where he previously served as chairman of the board. He is on the Victors for UM-Dearborn Campaign Steering Committee and the College of Business Board of Advisors, and is guest lecturer and Marketing Executive Board member at University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business.

Looking back, Verner said that UM-Dearborn was an important early dot in his career path.

“It was an inflection point between being a kid and becoming an adult,” he said, “and was an integral part of my success.”

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