Alfred University News

Alfred University presents Fiat Lux! Award to Hornell woman

President Mark Zupan presents Kelly Stephens with her Fiat Lux! Award citation.
President Mark Zupan presents Kelly Stephens with her Fiat Lux! Award citation.

On Tuesday, Feb. 9, Kelly Stephens of Hornell was presented with a Fiat Lux! Award from Alfred University. The citation, presented by Alfred University President Mark Zupan—who established the award in 2016 to honor individuals who bring distinction the University—recognized Stephens her efforts to help students arriving on campus for the start of the Fall 2020 semester.


ALFRED, NY– On Tuesday, Feb. 9, Kelly Stephens of Hornell was presented with a Fiat Lux! Award from Alfred University. The citation, presented by Alfred University President Mark Zupan—who established the award in 2016 to honor individuals who bring distinction the University—recognized Stephens her efforts to help students arriving on campus for the start of the Fall 2020 semester.

Students arriving on campus last August were required to quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many felt isolated and Stephens wanted to do something to help them. The mother of Alfred University junior Rick Mattison, she is part of a Facebook parent-to-parent group whose children attend Alfred University. When she read a post last August from a woman in Ohio reporting her son was feeling lonely on the campus, where he was quarantining for two weeks, she assembled a care package for the student and dropped it off at the University.

Knowing there were likely many other students who would appreciate similar gestures of kindness, Stephens purchased eight cases of bottled water and 22 electric fans to help students cope with the August heat. She followed that up by purchasing an additional truckload of snacks for students.

Normally, Fiat Lux! Award recipients receive their citations at the University’s opening breakfast, held in late August. However, due to COVID, the breakfast was not held, delaying the presentation to Stephens and fellow 2020 honorees, Tamara and Paul Stephen, and Jay Yedvab ’56.

The Stephens, parents of Alfred University sophomore Malina Dittmer, opened their home to three students from California who also were required to quarantine for two weeks, but were unable to quarantine on campus facilities. Yedvab made a $1,000 donation to establish Alfred University’s COVID 19 Relief Fund, which helps students defray extra expenses associated with attending Alfred during the pandemic.