Kent State Breaks Ground for Future Home of the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship

Kent State University officially broke ground on Crawford Hall, the future home of the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, on March 8 in a ceremony attended by more than 400 people, including university officials, donors, alumni, students, elected officials and special guests.

Construction on this state-of-the-art building is expected to be completed in 2024. Crawford Hall will support innovative instruction, leading research and student support services for thousands of business majors, minors and others taking business courses across the Kent State system.

The Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship and Crawford Hall have been named in honor of Ambassador Edward F. Crawford and his family who provided the largest single philanthropic gift in Kent State history to enable the construction of this building. 

“The university and our students will shine even brighter and touch more corners of the world with our research and our alumni thanks to Crawford Hall and the support of Ambassador Edward F. Crawford and his family,” said Kent State President Todd Diacon. “We are very thankful to each of the donors who chose to partner with us to see our vision for the future of business education become a reality at the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship.”

This ceremony celebrated the significant importance that philanthropic support played in this project. To date, more than $20 million has been raised for this project (in addition to the naming gift for the college) by more than 120 donors. This is the first step in the university’s Gateway to a Distinctive Kent State master plan that will include a new signature gateway entrance to the Kent Campus featuring Crawford Hall.

“You know a good thing when you see it, and I saw this bold, brassy dream for the university and the students,” said Ambassador Edward F. Crawford. “I can’t tell you how thankful I am that you were able to interest me in Kent State. My family is very proud of our involvement.”

Once completed, Crawford Hall will be a four-story building that includes active learning classrooms, an entrepreneurship lab, a business analytics lab, behavioral research hub, sales labs, trading lab, global forum, business theatre and student success center. Crawford Hall will be one of the largest buildings on any Kent State campus to house an academic program and will provide 50% more square footage than the existing structure. 

“My fellow students are bright, innovative and creative – Crawford Hall will contain all the necessary tools to develop our skills and become the students, businesspeople and entrepreneurs we strive to one day become,” said Juliana Buonaiuto, a Kent State marketing student and senator with the university’s Undergraduate Student Government who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. “I cannot wait to see what Crawford Hall holds for the student body and how it will foster the growth of such talented young minds.”  

Later that day, the university hosted the ASPIRE Entrepreneurial Workshop Series featuring Ambassador Crawford and Cleveland radio personality Thomas Kelly. Attendees included business students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff. The interview-style talk featured Ambassador Crawford sharing his experience as an entrepreneur and discussing the importance of overcoming rejection.

About Ambassador Edward F. Crawford
The son of Irish immigrants, Ambassador Edward F. Crawford began his career as an entrepreneur in 1962, starting his first manufacturing business while attending college classes at night. Beginning in 1992, he built Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. through a series of more than 100 transactions, growing from a small local manufacturer into a successful international corporation. Under his leadership as Chairman and CEO, Park-Ohio became a publicly traded $1.6 billion industrial supply chain logistics and diversified manufacturing business, employing more than 7,000 people in 125 locations worldwide. After serving the country as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland from 2019-2021, he returned to America in his current roles as Chairman of Crawford United Corporation, CEO of The Crawford Group and Director of Park-Ohio.

About the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship
Kent State’s Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship has been educating students for 85 years and has grown to be the largest business school in Northeast Ohio. With more than 3,600 business students across the Kent State system, the college is the largest provider of entry-level business graduates in the region. These students represent 40 countries, demonstrating the college’s global footprint. Not only has the college grown, but its rankings are on the rise. In 2022, the college was ranked No. 12 by Fortune for its Online Business Analytics program and No. 23 by The Princeton Review for the Online MBA. The college is also recognized by U.S. News & World Report among the 2021 Best Undergraduate Business Programs in the nation. More information on the college is available at

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Media Contacts:
Leigh Greenfelder,, 330-672-7108
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797

Photo Caption:
Kent State University officials and donors to the Crawford Hall project officially break ground for the new building.   

(L-R) – Valoree Vargo, vice president, Kent State Division of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement; Shawn Riley, chairman, Kent State Board of Trustees; Todd Diacon, president, Kent State; Ambassador Edward F. Crawford; Deborah Spake, dean, Kent State Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship; Robert Archer, ’61; John Brinzo, ’64; and Steffany Matticola-Larkins, ’92, Medical Mutual.

POSTED: Friday, March 11, 2022 02:33 PM
UPDATED: Saturday, March 02, 2024 04:34 AM
Julie Miller