Northeastern Faculty Member Gives Back to Students

Ken Solano, part-time faculty member at the College of Professional Studies, and president of Faculty Society, sets up own endowment fund 

Ken Solano has worked for Northeastern University, in varying capacities, for more than 36 years. For over 20 of those years he held the position of Associate Dean, when the College of Professional Studies (CPS) was known as University College. Even though he retired from this position in 2004, he is still very much part of the Northeastern community, not only as a part-time faculty member, but as President of the Faculty Society, an organization that awards scholarships to undergraduates, traditionally six students per year.

When the Faculty Society began over 75 years ago, it was established as a way to get faculty to mingle with one another. This was a time when classes were held on-ground, and teaching online was not the norm, nor were scholarship offerings. When Solano served as the Society’s advisor prior to becoming president, he managed the Faculty Memorial Scholarship and the Chester W. Higgins Memorial Scholarship; both awarded undergraduate student scholarships, and continue to do so today, under Solano’s leadership.  

But Solano wanted to give back more, so recently he set-up his own endowment fund, The Kenneth C. and Nancy A. Solano scholarship fund.

“I’ve been managing and very involved in many scholarship programs at Northeastern for over 30 years and I wanted to create my own fund as a way of giving back,” he said. “Northeastern has been very good to me over the years.”

“This endowment will enable those who qualify an opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree and then hopefully a master’s down the road,” he continued.

One particular student, Trudy Lartey, a recent recipient of the scholarship, described how the scholarship will help her continue to achieve her educational goal.

“As a single parent every little bit counts,” she said. “The scholarship has allowed me to take an extra class that will allow me to fulfill my degree requirements towards my goal of receiving my bachelor’s in Health Management.

Solano teaches courses both at the bachelor’s and master’s level on topics such as organizational behavior, human resource management, labor relations, and several leadership courses. Today, Solano teaches most of his class online; he loved teaching in the classroom, but he loves the flexibility of online teaching.  He also shares his expertise as a member of the advisory council for the Harvard Business Review.

Solano’s 37 year relationship with Northeastern began in 1968 when he graduated from the University with a bachelor’s in English/journalism. A semester before he graduated, he was offered a position in the Registrar’s office as an assistant registrar for the evening divisions. He happily accepted; this was his first job out the college.

“It was a blessing,” said Solano. “This was during the Vietnam War so many friends and colleagues were flying out to fight the war, and I was able to stay in Boston and work.” A few years later Solano received his master’s of Education with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern.

As Solano’s career advanced, he became involved in the Faculty Society, noting that when the Society was at its height, it was 140 members strong. Today, even though the numbers have dropped to around 40, the spirit and tradition of the Faculty Society scholarship fund continues with Solano still playing an active role. Solano, along with other faculty members at the College of Professional Studies, remain dedicated to helping students receive a quality education, despite any financial obstacles.

Jenn Ebert received two separate awards from the Faculty Society this year, expressing both surprise and gratitude. She noted that the funds will help her with the student debt she has incurred and will help cover the cost of her textbooks. Ebert is currently in her last year completing a bachelor’s in Health Management.

“Sometimes I want to just give up because going to school and working full-time along with having a husband and children is just exhausting,” she said. “However, every time I think about giving up I remember why I started going back to school in the first place and that I should finish what I started. My hope is that my children will learn to never give up and that they can have whatever they want out of life, if they are willing to work hard for it.”

For more about Faculty Society visit Faculty Central , the new CPS faculty resource website. 

Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies (CPS) is committed to providing career-focused educational programs that are designed to accommodate the complex lives of motivated learners. Offered in a variety of innovative formats, CPS courses are taught by accomplished scholars and practitioners who have real-world experience. The result is an educational experience founded on proven scholarship, strengthened with practical application, and sustained by academic excellence.

Founded in 1898, Northeastern is a comprehensive, global research university. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and more than 165 graduate programs, ranging from professional master’s degrees to interdisciplinary PhD programs. Northeastern’s research enterprise is aligned with three national imperatives: health, security and sustainability. Northeastern students participate in co-op and other forms of experiential learning in 90 countries on all seven continents.