Judy and Jerry Kent to receive Harris Award

Couple will be honored for commitment to St. Louis region

Jerry and Judy Kent
Jerry and Judy Kent

Judy and Jerry Kent are being honored with the 2021 Jane and Whitney Harris St. Louis Community Service Award.

Each year, the Harris Award committee selects a couple to receive the award, established in honor of the late Jane and Whitney Harris to honor those who contribute to the betterment of the region. The Kents were chosen based on their investment in institutions and organizations throughout the St. Louis area.

The Kents were to be the 2020 honorees, but last year’s award luncheon was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers hope to hold an award luncheon Sept. 9, provided it is safe to gather together at that time. 

About Jerry Kent

Jerry Kent is a pioneer in the telecommunications and technology industries and an alumnus, having earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Washington University. 

A St. Louis native, Kent has been a volunteer leader for numerous organizations in the St. Louis community. He is a member of The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum President’s Council. He is also the immediate past chair of the St. Louis Zoological Park Subdistrict Commission. Kent is a former member of the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary board of trustees, the Regional Justice Information Service and the Saint Louis Zoo Association board.

He also has shared his professional expertise with organizations such as Cable in the Classroom, the Cable Center and C-SPAN.

Kent began his career as a certified public accountant with the Arthur Andersen firm. He later joined Cencom Cable Associates, rising to chief financial officer. After the company was acquired in 1991, he became co-founder of Charter Communications. 

Kent led the company to what was then the third-largest initial public offering in U.S. history. He later managed Suddenlink Communications, which was the seventh-largest U.S. cable company before it was sold in 2015. 

He currently serves as chairman and CEO of both Cequel III, a technology management company he co-founded; and TierPoint, an information technology and data center services provider, both based in St. Louis.

Kent has served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and the Olin Business School National Council. He received an Olin Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999 and the Founders’ Day Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002. He and his wife, Judy, jointly received the Olin Business School Dean’s Medal in 2009.

About Judy Kent

Judy Kent is a longtime volunteer in the St. Louis community. She serves as a member of the Stages St. Louis board of trustees. She is also an emerita director of Easterseals Midwest, an organization that serves individuals with disabilities and their families. She has served as chair of the signature fundraising galas for both organizations for nearly a decade.

Kent was named the Easterseals Midwest “Philanthropist of the Year” in 2015 and again in 2018. She, along with her husband, earned the Saint Louis Zoo Individual Award in 2018.

Professionally, Kent has staged many productions as a theater producer, including “Of Mice and Men” on Broadway in 2014 and “The Drowsy Chaperone” at Stages St. Louis in 2016. She is also the former co-owner of Vie, a women’s clothing boutique in St. Louis.

The Kents and Washington University

The couple support the university’s annual fund as members of the Danforth Circle at the Chancellor’s Level.

They established the Kent Scholars Program at Olin Business School in 2008. The program awards five four-year scholarships to first-year students in the bachelor’s in business administration program. The program has supported 75 students to date.

Together, they have two children, Matthew and Rachel. Rachel is a graduate of the Washington University School of Law.

Harris Award recipients are honored with a cash gift made in their name to the St. Louis-area charitable organizations of their choice. The Kents’ award will support the St. Louis Zoo, The Magic House, Stages St. Louis, Easterseals Midwest and the Catholic Student Center at Washington University.

For more information on the award and how to submit a nomination, email harrisprize@wustl.edu or call 314-935-6013.

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