Kent State President Beverly Warren Launches “Year of Innovation” In Annual State of the University Address
Kent State University President Beverly Warren inspired the university community to embrace the upcoming academic year as the “Year of Innovation” in seeking new ways to collaborate with a collective purpose that makes a positive impact on the region and the world.
President Warren delivered her remarks Oct. 17 at her annual State of the University address, which was attended by more than 300 people at the Kent Student Center Kiva on the Kent Campus and watched on a livestream across the university’s eight-campus system.
“This is the start of an innovation era,” President Warren says. “This is where our future begins to define us. We are perfectly suited to be that unique university where everyone, in every facet of our communities, is an innovator – a designer – a boundary expander.”
Noting the previous academic year’s many accomplishments, President Warren recognized students and educators who have made a profound impact. The presentation shared video vignettes highlighting the research accomplishments of Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Gemma Casadesus Smith, Ph.D., and public relations major Emelia Sherin, whose play (In)Dependent: The Heroin Project drew national attention for its portrayal of those who struggle with opioid addiction.
The audience also enjoyed a year-in-review video that included highlights of the university’s academic and athletic successes. President Warren shared accolades for a year that included significant increases in research funding, awards and recognition for the university’s inclusive excellence, Wick Poetry Center and University College, and the designation of the May 4 site as a National Historic Landmark.
President Warren called on the entire Kent State community to consider its purpose in approaching challenges that lead to meaningful contributions.
“When we act with collective purpose, we naturally seek and embrace connections beyond our disciplines and departments,” President Warren says. “We must be that university that unleashes the power of multidisciplinary action and collaboration. We must believe that our best discoveries occur when disciplines collide.”
President Warren pointed to Kent State’s new Brain Health Research Institute as an example of the types of partnerships that join faculty and staff from literally every facet of the university to advance collaborative inquiry and multidisciplinary research. She also called on the audience to imagine a future where Kent State is the “centerpiece of a far-ranging and boundary spanning Center of Design Innovation – a center that embraces a curriculum for all and students who are owned by none.”
President Warren called upon the university to consider adopting an innovation mindset to address some of the world’s most intractable problems.
“Challenges like climate change, healthcare enhancement, educational transformation and civil discourse that drives mutual understanding and social change – we can be at the center of prototypes and novel ideas that can make a real difference in real lives and real communities,” she says.