“I’ve been out of Kent a long time, so to get that call was more than a little bit surprising,” he said. “I kept asking, ‘Are you sure you got the right guy?’”
The recognition made him reflect on his experiences and think about the relationships and foundations Kent State helped him build, he said.
The Centennial Alumni Award honors alumni who graduated more than 50 years ago and have made significant contributions to society and the field of education, health and human services.
At Kent State, Kilduff was a member of the varsity track team and the Major Events Committee, through which he helped organize homecoming and other university events.
As an active member of the Kent State Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, he was named co-chairman of the seventh annual Greek Week in 1967. He currently serves on the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Board of Archons.
The relationships he built through his involvement at the university were the most impactful part of his experience, Kilduff said, and his time at Kent State broadened his outlook on life.
“My experience there opened my eyes to a wide range of possibilities,” he said. “It turned out to be the right place for me to go to college. It’s kind of corny, but it’s the truth.”
After graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in physical education, he worked as an admissions counselor at Kent State. He went on to earn a certificate in public relations from American University and became a graduate of the United States Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organization Management.
Kilduff has experience in public affairs, corporate philanthropy, community relations and internal and external communications with focuses on crisis communication, media and marketing.
In 1983 and 1984, he was the Boston Marathon race director, before running the race in 1985. As director, Kilduff organized and led a team that saved the marathon during financial and operational difficulties.
Since 1987, Kilduff has live reported the men’s race leaders on WBZ radio, where he reconnected with his fraternity brother and former classmate, Bob Lobel.
It’s interesting that two Kent State graduates ended up working together on the Boston Marathon, said Lobel, a 1966 alumnus and retired sportscaster.
“We’ve kind of reconnected back in Boston,” he said. “As strange as it is, it’s an extension of the family connection we had as Golden Flashes.”
Kilduff lives in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and serves as the executive director for the local Chamber of Commerce.
He is the president and founder of the 26.2 Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Hopkinton that promotes and supports the sport of marathoning. Its mission is to advance the virtues of the marathon run, including the power of the human spirit, Kilduff said.
“There’s more to the marathon than running 26.2 miles,” he said. “When you start exploring that, you realize how expansive and how far reaching the marathon is.”
Hopkinton is the perfect home for the world’s first institution dedicated to the marathon, Kilduff said, because it’s the start of the iconic Boston Marathon.
“It was obvious that if we could connect all of those dots, we could develop and create something memorable,” he said.
Kilduff hopes the foundation can motivate people to get moving and make contributions to the health and well-being of others.
He takes pride in his understanding and respect for the power of teamwork, Kilduff said, and he believes his professional experiences have taught him the importance of inclusivity.
“He’s always been a great friend and a great guy,” Lobel said. “I’m really proud of him, and Kent State made the right choice.”
Lobel describes Kilduff as a very dependable person and a natural born leader.
“There’s nothing fake about Tim Kilduff. He is authentic through and through,” Lobel said. “The great thing about him is that he’s both a leader and a follower. He knows when to take the lead and when to take the back seat.”
Zoë Blank covers alumni. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.