Our 2023 Honorees

Dr. Leon Boothe - Ken Harper - John Kappas Committed Community Leaders Committed Rotarians

Leon Boothe, PhD

50 Year Rotarian

Leon Booth is a product of Carthage, Missouri. After high school Leon attended the University of Missouri, Columbia, receiving a B.S.and a Masters Degree. His PhD is from the University of Illinois, Champagne/Urbana. With little money, he proposed to, and married his first wife, Nancy.   Leon and his family then moved to George Mason University, where he served for 10 years as the Dean of Arts & Science.


In 1983, Dr. Boothe applied for the presidency at a newer college called Northern Kentucky University and became the 3rd President of NKU.  During his tenure at NKU (1983-1996) , Dr. Boothe saw enrollment swell from 8,000 to 12,000 students. The physical campus more than doubled.  Chase Law School became a solid part of the University.


Following his retirement at NKU Dr. Boothe served on the National Conference of Christians and Jews and was instrumental in getting the National Underground Railroad Museum started.


Leon was married to his first wife Nancy for 36 years before her death. Leon and Nancy had three daughters: In 2000 Leon married  Karen Boothe. They have been married for 23 years. When they married, her four children became his as well. They have 18 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

Ken Harper

70 Year Rotarian

Ken Harper is probably best known for his nine terms as a Kentucky State Representative, his service as Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Public Information, Chair of Kentucky’s Board of Elections, and Acting Secretary of State. Ken was the President of the Harper Group and Harper Realty, and served on many of Northern Kentucky’s boards, including the Covington Rotary, NKY Chamber of Commerce; Jaycees, the Mental Health board, and many local, statewide and national Republican organizations.


Ken was married to Eileen (Kathman) Harper for 66+ years before her death in 2020 from Covid.  Ken and Eileen had five children.  Their children include:  Gregg Harper and his son John, Scott Harper (Kate) and their children Nate & Stephanie, Glenn Harper (Paula), Bryan Harper (Janet) and their children Andrew & Mitchell, and Lesley Hugo (Vic) and their children Kole & Keirstin.  Ken also has 4 Great Grandchildren.

John Kappas

60 Year Rotarian

John Kappas and family owned and operated Madison Office Supply for 60 years, a successful business in both Covington and Greater Cincinnati.  John was one of the youngest members of the Covington Rotary Club to be elected president. He became president at age 27. He served on the Board of Directors many years, and almost all of the elected offices in the Covington Rotary.  John worked hard for the Covington Rotary raising thousands of dollars to aid the club in its many outreach endeavors. 


John has been married to his wife Vivian for 62 years. John and Vivian have two children Scott Kappas and Brett Kappas, and three grandchildren: Jay, Caroline, and Charlotte; and 2 great grandchildren.

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