Kent State Holds Inauguration Ceremony for Todd Diacon, University’s 13th President
‘Every Student We Touch Graduates’
Kent State President Todd Diacon urges campus community to unite toward student success in inaugural address
“Our challenges are many, our resources are great and our commitment is real.”
Kent State University President Todd Diacon drove home the focus of his inaugural address with passion, purpose and a direct call to action for the university community.
“Every student we touch graduates,” Diacon said. “This is our mission. This is our mantra. Every student we touch graduates. This is our challenge. Every student we touch graduates. This is our task as we move forward. It is a noble goal, and we are up to it.”
Diacon took over in July 2019 and was formally installed Nov. 1 as the university’s 13th president in a ceremony held in the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center on the Kent Campus. A reception followed in the Kent Student Center Ballroom.
A tireless advocate for student success, Diacon told the audience that future students deserve a university high in quality yet easy to navigate.
“We will continue to make Kent State a ‘student-ready college,’ so that all our procedures, policies, websites, nomenclature and financial aid decisions will appear in a clearly written language accessible to those who do not come from college-going families, and for whom our annual tuition and fees are the tallest of mountains standing in their path to improvement and advancement,” Diacon said.
Diacon has more than 30 years of experience in higher education leadership. He joined Kent State as provost in 2012. He has been at the forefront of expanding the university’s international presence, has led the charge to recruit and promote more diverse faculty, and has helped the university attract world-renowned leaders in the fields of aviation, engineering, brain health, liquid crystals, and peace and conflict studies.
In his address, Diacon touted the university’s current successes, including the enrollment of a high-achieving freshman class and the doubling of Kent State’s four-year graduation rate in just 10 years.
“This seems nearly unheard of and speaks to the dedication of our counselors, our advisors, our student affairs leaders, our residence hall assistants who together help our students persevere and graduate,” Diacon said. “Graduation is our goal for every student who attends Kent State.”
Diacon also acknowledged the ongoing challenge of keeping tuition affordable while supporting families and students with managing student debt.
“The cost of attaining those degrees is high, literally,” he said. “We are ever mindful that the challenge of debt upon graduation is exceeded only by the tragedy of incurring debt and not earning a degree.”
Rallying the crowd, Diacon closed his address with a promise that the university community vow to always do what is in the best interest of students.
Diacon said, “Let our pledge be this: that every student we touch graduates. That every student with particular challenges graduates. That every student who stubs her or his toe academically seeks and receives help, remains enrolled and graduates. That every student with the highest levels of financial need graduates with a manageable debt and with the skills, training, knowledge and experience needed to succeed in their first job, their second job and in jobs that don’t even exist yet. That every student is a Golden Flash, and that Flashes take care of Flashes.”