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April Alumni Spotlight: Ben and Jonathan Kleppinger

April Alumni Spotlight: Ben and Jonathan Kleppinger

Our April Alumni Spotlight showcases not one, but two of our Honors alumni.  Members of our Honors Alumni Facebook group may remember an article posted last month about Ben Kleppinger (2009) taking over brother Jonathan Kleppinger’s (2010) post as managing editor of the Jessamine Journal.  That post lead to this, our first ever dual-Alumni Spotlight! 

Ben Kleppinger graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English in 2009.  He was named the Department of Communication’s Outstanding Senior, and his Honors thesis was titled “What Can We Learn about Morals from a High School English Class?” 

Jonathan Kleppinger graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in religion in 2010.  He received the Emerging Scholar Award from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi in 2007 and was named the Outstanding Graduate of the Psychology Department in 2010.  His Honors thesis was titled “The Rise of Home-schooling in Jessamine County.” 

Jonathan began at the Jessamine Journal in 2009 and was named managing editor in May 2014, where he remained until last month.  He left the paper to continue his work toward a master of divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary and to care for his children.  Ben has now taken over the role of managing editor, where he manages the Jessamine Journal news staff, reports on breaking and education news in Jessamine County, and works on copy-editing and design for each weekly paper.  While at the Jessamine Journal, Jonathan served in these roles, while also writing features and covering sporting events. 

Both Ben and Jonathan have earned numerous accolades from the Kentucky Press Association.  Since 2011, Ben has received over 40 KPA awards, including 11 first-place awards for writing, photography, and design.  Jonathan has been equally successful, earning 39 awards since 2011, including 16 first-place awards.

Jonathan and Ben are both actively involved in community service.  Jonathan has volunteered with the youth group at the Richmond First United Methodist Church since January 2007, leading small groups, coordinating the youth praise band, planning trips, running technical equipment, and speaking at services.  Ben is a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteer for CASA of the Bluegrass and a volunteer for career preparedness events through the Lincoln County School District.

Ben and Jonathan are the sons of Dr. Gene Kleppinger, long-time instructor, technical guru, and friend of the Honors Program.  Ben is married to Amanda Wheeler, a fellow EKU graduate he met while they were both working at the Eastern Progress.  Amanda has a master’s in zoology and works as the Children’s and Teen Librarian at the Lincoln County Public Library.  Both Ben and Amanda enjoy hiking, enjoying remote wilderness, and taking photos of wildlife.  They are very environmentally minded and try to do everything they can to minimize their negative impacts on the world.

Jonathan is married to fellow EKU graduate Courtney (Tennill) Kleppinger, who is about to graduate with a PharmD from the University of Kentucky.  They have a daughter, Mallie, who will turn two in July, and they are expecting their second child, a son, in May.

Favorite Honors Memories:
Jonathan:  “My favorite honors memory is actually from before I was a student in the program. It’s the combined memory of all the cultural and conference trips that my brother and I were privileged to go on with my father while he was teaching in the program.”

Ben:  “Late nights in Sullivan, goofing around on the second-floor annex hallway.”

Advice for Honors Students:
Ben:  "Don’t sit quietly in class — ask your honors teachers tons of questions. They know a lot of stuff about everything and you need to take advantage of their knowledge while it’s so easily available to you.”

Jonathan:  “Become part of the community instead of just a student doing the curriculum. From start to finish, the work I had to do for the honors program was harder than the work for my major, and it was worth it because it made everything else easy. And the community — only possible because of the coursework I was doing — was vitally important to me.”

Interested in reading about more of our featured alumni?  Visit the Alumni Spotlight Archive!

Are you an Honors Program alum?  Be sure to visit our Alumni page.

Published on April 09, 2015

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