Kent State Forms Presidential Search Committee

Committee formed to recruit president to succeed President Lester A. Lefton

Kent State University has formed a search committee to recruit its 12th president, who will succeed retiring President Lester A. Lefton. In April, Dr. Lefton announced his retirement from the presidency of Ohio's second largest public university, effective July 1, 2014. He has served as Kent State's chief executive officer since July 1, 2006.

"Kent State finds itself at a unique point, one filled with achievement and remarkable opportunities for continued growth", said Richard Marsh, chair of the Presidential Search Committee and a member of the Kent State Board of Trustees. "Record enrollments, a commitment to academic excellence and the revitalization of our campuses and communities indicate that the university is strong and ready to welcome our 12th president."

The committee is advisory to the Board of Trustees and consists of faculty, trustees, students, staff and others the board deems necessary, who will conduct the search not on behalf of any single constituency, but rather in the best overall interests of Kent State.  

"In establishing the committee, we as a board sought to achieve a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives and a deep understanding of the requirements for the next president," Marsh said.

Serving on the committee are the following representatives from Kent State:

  • Michael Allen, executive chair, Graduate Student Senate; Ph.D. candidate, geography
  • Dennis Eckart, vice chair, Presidential Search Committee; vice chair, Board of Trustees; principal, North Shore Associates
  • Dr. Paul Farrell, chair, Faculty Senate; professor of computer science
  • Dr. Ronald Fowler, special assistant to the president, community engagement; chair, Diversity Advisory Board
  • Dr. Lee Fox-Cardamone, associate professor, psychology, Stark Campus; executive committee, Faculty Senate
  • Dr. Thomas Janson, professor of music and assistant to the director, School of Music; past chair and member, Faculty Senate
  • Joel Nielsen, director of intercollegiate athletics
  • Amish Patel, executive director, Undergraduate Student Government; communications studies major
  • Dr. Susan Roxburgh, associate professor, sociology; member, Faculty Senate
  • Maria Schneider, president, Alumni Association National Board of Directors; alumni board representative, Foundation Board of Directors; managing consultant-premier segment, institutional relationships, TIAA-CREF
  • Dr. Deborah Spake, dean, College of Business Administration
  • Dr. Susan Stocker, dean, Kent State University at Ashtabula; interim dean, College of Nursing

The committee includes the following community members:

  • Richard Coe, president and chief executive officer, Portage Community Bank
  • David Ruller, city manager, City of Kent
  • Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, president emeritus, Cuyahoga Community College

Committee seeks input from Kent State community

The search committee is reaching out to the Kent State community to solicit feedback on issues and opportunities facing the university and qualities to seek in the next president. This process will continue throughout the fall semester.

To help keep the community informed, a search website has been created at The Feedback page includes several ways to communicate with the search committee, including:

  • participating in an online survey
  • sending an email to the committee
  • information about or requesting open forums attended by search committee members.  

Search firm to assist in process

The Kent State Board of Trustee has retained the services of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, to assist in the search process. Storbeck/Pimentel is one of the leading executive search firms with its entire practice dedicated to higher education. Storbeck/Pimentel was selected from among nine firms responding to the university's request for proposals.

"As a graduate and trustee of Kent State, I am proud of our remarkable progress in serving our students and our region," Marsh added. "It is a great time to be associated with Kent State, and I am confident that the energy and enthusiasm of our institution will attract an outstanding leader."

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Media Contact:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797

POSTED: Thursday, August 8, 2013 12:28 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM