Kent State Board of Trustees Announces Plans for National Presidential Search

The Kent State University Board of Trustees today established a comprehensive, national search to recruit and select the university’s 13th president.
Kent State President Beverly J. Warren announced in October that she will leave the role at the end of her term on July 1, 2019, after five years of exemplary service. President Warren has led the university to many major milestones and spearheaded the creation of A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State and the $1 billion Gateway Master Plan, which set the stage for the university’s future success.

The Board holds the statutory responsibility and authority to select the university president. At the Board’s business meeting on Dec. 5, trustees publicly expressed their commitment to identify and recruit a highly qualified successor who best embodies the skills and characteristics required to elevate Kent State at this time in its history.

“The university is well positioned to continue its strong upward trajectory – enrolling the nation’s top students, graduating record numbers and embarking on a transformational 10-year master plan,” said Board Chair Ralph Della Ratta. “Our new president will take the reins of a university community with tremendous momentum and growing academic success. 

“The Board of Trustees is committed to pursuing a search that yields the very best outcome – an accomplished, visionary and inspirational president to lead Kent State to its brightest future,” he continued. “As always, the university will continue to abide by all applicable laws while seeking outstanding candidates to serve as our university’s next president.”

The search will be led by Board Vice Chair Shawn Riley, president of McDonald Hopkins and a 1983 Kent State alumnus. 
Trustee Riley will chair a Presidential Search Committee comprising representatives of the faculty, students, administrators, trustees, alumni and community, consistent with university policy. It is anticipated that the committee membership will be finalized and announced early next week.

“I am honored to lead the committee in search of the university’s next president,” Trustee Riley said. “Kent State has a strong legacy of exemplary presidents, and it is a great privilege to serve my alma mater in selecting an outstanding leader to guide Kent State with strength and vision.”

The Board has selected Russell Reynolds Associates, an international executive search firm, to assist in the process. Russell Reynolds Associates was selected from among 15 firms responding to the university’s recent request for proposals.
The university is launching a presidential search website that includes an online survey inviting members of the Kent State community and the public to offer feedback, thoughts, advice and comments on the competencies, experiences and characteristics desired in the next president. Community members also are encouraged to share their views on the university’s key strengths, opportunities and challenges in the next few years and what the top three priorities for the next president should be. The website will be updated as the search process continues.

Search leaders will meet with various stakeholder groups and plan open forums next week and in early January. The committee will welcome feedback throughout the process.

Among other Board actions:

  • The Board approved the following new degree programs:
    • The College of Arts and Sciences will establish the Actuarial Mathematics major with the Bachelor of Science degree, effective fall 2019, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
    • The College of Communication and Information will establish the School Library Media K-12 major within the Master of Library and Information Science degree, effective fall 2019, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
    • The Regional College will establish the Criminology and Justice Studies major within the Associate of Applied Science degree, effective fall 2019, pending approval of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission. 
  • The Board approved the revision in name of the Biomedical Sciences-Biological Anthropology major in the College of Arts and Sciences to the Biomedical Sciences-Human Evolutionary Biology major within the Doctor of Philosophy degree, effective fall 2019.
  • The Board granted emeritus status to Dr. Dianne Kerr, professor, College of Education, Health and Human Services; and David F. Smeltzer, associate professor, College of Communication and Information. Emeritus status is a distinguished title that honors a faculty or staff member’s contributions by allowing him or her continued access to university resources after retirement from the university.
  • The Board approved a resolution seeking approval of the Ohio General Assembly to sell surplus real estate properties. The university had evaluated these properties for their strategic value as part of the Kent Gateway Plan. Among the properties designated for sale are the university golf course, located west of campus along Route 59 in Franklin Township, 12 parcels in Kent and Brimfield located south of Route 261 and three parcels just south of Dix Stadium. If approved by the state, the sale of any of these parcels must be brought to the Board for approval prior to entering into a purchase agreement.
  • The Board authorized a 1.5 percent increase in the overall pay structure for approximately 730 classified civil service staff not represented in a bargaining unit. 
  • The Board ratified the Fiscal Year 2018 Efficiency Report and Master Recommendations report as submitted to the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education on Sept. 28, 2018, in accordance with Ohio Revised Code 381.550. Kent State’s savings for Fiscal Year 2018 were $22,350,706, more than $4.7 million higher than originally estimated.
  • The Board approved extending the chilled water infrastructure and providing for air conditioning within Dunbar Hall. Constructed in 1957, Dunbar Hall is home to 260 students and is one of the last remaining residence halls without air conditioning. The Department of Residence Services has set aside $2.125 million in facility maintenance funding for the improvements. The work within Dunbar will be completed during the summer 2019 recess in classes. Some tunnel and chilled water extension work may occur beginning winter 2019.
  • The Board approved the replacement of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment in Founders Hall at Kent State University at Tuscarawas. Founders Hall has HVAC equipment original to the 1968 building as well as five different major mechanical units that are beyond the original designed life expectancy, installed between 1977 through 1994. Construction for the $1.5 million first phase of the project, utilizing the state capital allocations, was approved and will begin in spring 2019 and be completed by fall 2019.

# # #

Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 04:02 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 05:55 AM
University Communications and Marketing