Presidential Perspectives

Fall 2017

On With Purpose

At Kent State, those three words above represent how much we value a life of purpose—that sense of calling that can open our minds, uncover new paths and transform the world around us. 

Finding purpose, however, is an intensely personal journey. When I was an undergraduate, becoming a college president was certainly not my goal, but I did aspire to be a teacher and coach. So I pursued my passion for teaching and coaching and took every opportunity to participate in sports and club activities. And I learned that teaching and coaching skills had value that translated more broadly into almost every aspect of life’s meaningful endeavors.

Here at Kent State, we ask students to think about a mission and a major early on. But I always say to write that in pencil! Meaning and purpose can take many different directions, so it’s important to be open to opportunities. The college experience is more than collecting enough credits to graduate. Of course, we want students to be good scholars and take advantage of learning, but so much growth and development happen outside of the classroom, too.

In fact, many of our students make an impact long before they graduate. For example, recent graduate Jake Addessi took part in alternative spring break trips during each of the four years he was at Kent State—including feeding the poor in Chicago and helping restore a community center in New Orleans that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Jake, a health services major, may not know exactly what he will be doing ten years from now, but he does know he will be helping people. 

And consider sophomore public relations major Emelia Sherin, who interviewed fifty people affected by the heroin epidemic and, with classmate Zachary Manthey, assembled their stories into a play that illuminates the profound, often tragic impact of opioid addiction. The play debuted in August to sold-out crowds at the Akron Civic Theatre, The New York Times picked up the story, and requests have come in from all over the country to see the script and put on the play. Emelia is amazed by the positive impact the play has had on those who’ve seen it—and she says her purpose now is “to give a voice to the voiceless and instill hope in society.”

Through myriad transformative experiences like these, many Golden Flashes have already found their life’s purpose revealed. When passion and purpose are found, charting a course for giving back in this world quickly follows. This is what drives and unites us, what makes us undeniably Kent State. Our purpose is to help students find theirs.

Beverly J. Warren

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When passion and purpose are found, charting a course for giving back in this world quickly follows.

Courtesy Corey Patterson

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POSTED: Monday, September 18, 2017 02:20 PM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 10:26 AM