Governor Appoints Shawn Riley to Kent State Board of Trustees

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has appointed a new trustee to the Kent State University Board of Trustees. Kasich named Shawn M. Riley of Gates Mills, Ohio, to a nine-year term as a trustee. Riley’s appointment began May 17, 2016, and ends May 16, 2025

Riley serves as president-elect of McDonald Hopkins LLC and will become president of the firm on Oct. 1, 2016. He will oversee 140 attorneys at six office locations. Currently, he leads the firm’s Cleveland office. 

Riley joined McDonald Hopkins in 1995 and has served in a variety of roles, including founder and head of the firm’s Business Restructuring Services Department, managing partner of the Cleveland office and a member of the firm’s five-person executive committee. In his practice, he has advised clients on strategic alternatives, including acquisitions, sales, mergers, affiliations, refinancings, recapitalizations and restructurings. His clients have ranged from bookstore chains to multifacility hospital systems, with revenue from $10 million to $1.5 billion. Since 2007, he has been recognized as a leading lawyer in Ohio and nationally in the field of restructurings and bankruptcies. 

His professional memberships include the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and its Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section, Ohio State Bar Association, Turnaround Management Association (Board of Trustees, Ohio Chapter) and American Bankruptcy Institute. 

Riley is active in the Northeast Ohio community. He serves as board chairman of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the American Red Cross, and he has been on that organization’s board for more than 10 years. He also is a member of the board of trustees for the Cleveland Institute of Music. He previously served on the board of trustees for the Great Lakes Theater Festival, the board of trustees for Apollo’s Fire and the finance committee of St. Francis of Assisi in Gates Mills. From 2002 to 2011, Riley served as a member of the village council in Gates Mills. From 2011 to 2015, he served as mayor of Gates Mills. 

He is an alumnus of Kent State, receiving a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1983. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1986. 

Riley replaces Dennis E. Eckart, whose term as a Kent State trustee expired in May 2016. 

The Board of Trustees is the governing body of Kent State. By Ohio law, the board is responsible for selecting and appointing the president; setting the operating budget; approving personnel appointments; granting all degrees awarded by the university, including honorary degrees; establishing tuition and fee rates; approving contracts; and approving university policies, new programs and degrees. 

Kent State’s Board of Trustees consists of 12 members, nine of whom are voting members appointed by the governor of the state of Ohio, with the advice and consent of the state senate, to nine-year terms of office. Two student trustees, one undergraduate and one graduate, are appointed by the governor to two-year terms of office. Since 2011, the board has appointed a national trustee, who serves a three-year term, as an additional nonvoting member. 

For more information about Kent State’s Board of Trustees, visit

POSTED: Thursday, June 09, 2016 03:36 PM
UPDATED: Saturday, December 03, 2022 01:02 AM
Emily Vincent

The Kent State University Board of Trustees today established a comprehensive, national search to recruit and select the university’s 13th president.


The events of May 4, 1970, placed Kent State University in an international spotlight after a student protest against the Vietnam War and the presence of the Ohio National Guard ended in tragedy with four students losing their lives and nine others being wounded. From a perspective of nearly 50 years, Kent State remembers the tragedy and leads a contemporary discussion and understanding of how the community, nation and world can benefit from understanding the profound impact of the event.

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