Renn honored with Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award

June 28, 2011

Kristen Renn, an associate professor in the MSU College of Education and highly regarded leader in the field of student affairs, received the Elizabeth Topham Kennan Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in the Field of Education from the Alumnae Association of Mount Holyoke College.

Renn, an alumna of the women-only college, received the prestigious award during her 25th reunion. She was recognized for her lifelong achievements regarding student development, diversity and equity. Specifically, Renn has conducted research about mixed-race college students, postsecondary race and ethnicity data policy, new professionals in student affairs and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in higher education.

Throughout the years, Renn’s work has been praised on both an academic and national level. In 1999, while attending Boston College for doctoral studies, Renn’s thesis titled “Claiming Space: The College Experience of Biracial and Multiracial Students on Predominantly White Campuses” was named Dissertation of the Year. Since then, Renn has published more than 100 works and co-edited “Women in Higher Education: An Encyclopedia,” which was named Outstanding Academic Title of 2003 by the American Library Association.

Currently, Renn is writing a book based on her travels to 15 women’s colleges on five continents. The book will provide data that demonstrates the importance of women’s colleges and their relevance to different societies around the world.

Mount Holyoke acknowledged Renn’s past, present and current success in her award citation: writing: “Simply put, the ripples of your influence are infinite.”