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Joint Resolution Celebrates and Reaffirms Strong Town-Gown Ties Between Kent State and City of Kent

Posted Sep. 18, 2013

Meeting in the newly opened Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center and looking out at a downtown buzzing with new businesses, the Kent State University Board of Trustees joined with Kent City Council today (Sept. 18) to pass a joint resolution that celebrates and reaffirms the town-gown partnership that led to the revitalization of downtown Kent.

The resolution expresses gratitude to the city of Kent, Kent State President Lester A. Lefton and the university community, and the other public- and private-sector partners involved in a historic transformation of downtown Kent that includes new retail and dining options, corporate offices, a parking deck, an upscale apartment building, and the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center.

“The remarkable level of collaboration among the city, the university and a growing list of public-private partners has produced unparalleled results,” the resolution states, noting that the reinvestment in the city and campus communities exceeded $300 million; and that the downtown transformation was recognized as the nation’s best town-gown collaboration in June 2013 from the International Town-Gown Association and was honored as Ohio’s best project in 2012 from the Ohio Economic Development Association.

The joint resolution, which is expected to be passed by Kent City Council at its meeting tonight, includes a joint commitment to continuing the positive and productive partnership between the city and university.

Board Gets Report on Great Enrollment News

The Board of Trustees received a comprehensive report about Kent State’s record enrollment for the current semester following the release of official 15-day enrollment statistics last week. The report included the achievement of the largest (4,314 students) and highest-achieving (average grade-point average of 3.3) Kent Campus freshman class in university history. The good news also includes a 10.37-percent increase in international student enrollment; increases in AALANA (African American, Latino American and Native American) freshmen; and significant enrollment growth in the university’s College of Business Administration, School of Digital Sciences and College of Public Health.

In other actions:

  • In keeping with the Ohio Revised Code, the Board adopted uniform standards for assessing the readiness of newly admitted students to take college classes without remedial coursework (“remediation free”). The standards, which assess reading, writing and mathematics skills and are effective fall semester 2014, were set by the presidents of Ohio’s public universities in December 2012. Ohio’s higher educational institutions are not required to place students whose assessments do not meet “remediation-free” standards in remedial courses. They may place these students in credit-bearing mathematics and English courses in conjunction with additional academic support.
  • The Board ratified the action taken by its Finance and Administration Committee at a special, Board-authorized meeting held Aug. 27, 2013, approving construction of a new home for Kent State’s College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology. The special meeting was held to ensure that foundation work could begin before the additional cost of winter weather protection was required.
  • The Board authorized a property agreement that will allow the Delta Upsilon fraternity to move from its Lincoln Street location to the building on Fraternity Circle that now houses the offices of the Kent State University Foundation, Inc. Fraternity Circle, located off of Summit Street, is home to several other fraternities and sororities. A lease-back agreement will allow the Foundation staff to remain in its current building until a new building is constructed that will house all offices in the university’s Division of Institutional Advancement. The agreement will provide land that the university needs to build a new home for its nationally recognized College of Architecture and Environmental Design. The agreement will now be submitted to the state’s Controlling Board for final approval.
  • The Board established a university policy regarding study abroad and other international travel by Kent State students and faculty members. The policy is intended to ensure, to the greatest degree possible, the safety and security of participants in university-sponsored programs.
  • The Board established a university policy to formalize how agreements with universities and other educational institutions outside the United States are established. The policy is intended to ensure uniformity across multi-departmental endeavors.
  • The Board merged the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in Kent State’s College of Public Health to create the Department of Biostatistics, Environmental Health Sciences and Epidemiology. The merger, which will not affect students in the programs, allows the College of Public Health to share resources, including research laboratories, and reduces administrative costs by eliminating one chair position.
  • The Board authorized a 1.5-percent increase in the pay structure for approximately 899 classified civil service employees and unclassified hourly employees who are not represented by a bargaining unit, effective with the pay period that includes Sept. 1, 2013. Pay schedules identify minimum, mid-point and maximum pay levels. Any unrepresented hourly employees whose salaries are below the new pay-grade minimums will receive an adjustment to bring their pay to the pay-grade minimum, effective Sept. 1, the same date that a 2-percent, across-the-board pay increase took effect for all eligible, full-time employees not represented by a bargaining unit.
  • The Board named the children’s study room in the University Library the Pris and J Dub’s Historical Book Nook. The action recognizes the generosity of Priscilla Drach and JW Coffman, whose gift of $105,777 created an endowment for Library Book Arts for the university’s School of Library and Information Science. The late JW Coffman was a 1975 Kent State graduate and a former SLIS faculty member. He was a long-time supporter of the university and was named Library Friend of the Year.  Drach served on the SLIS Virginia Hamilton Conference Board of Directors and received the Library Friend of the Year Award.
  • The Board named the Enrollment Management and Student Services main conference room at Kent State University at Ashtabula in honor of the late alumna and longtime university supporter Judith Inman Fiedler. The Ashtabula native met her future husband, John Fiedler, when she was a Kent State student in the 1950s. John Fiedler, an alumnus who is retired as chief executive officer for Borg-Warner Automotive in Chicago, made a $209,374 gift to the university in 1998 to endow the Judith Inman Fiedler Scholarship. He recently requested that $50,000 of the original gift be used to name a facility at Kent State at Ashtabula. The modification of the original agreement will include a $25,000 matching commitment from the Ashtabula Foundation.
  • The Board changed the name of the Main Hall at Kent State University at East Liverpool to honor John J. Purinton. Purinton was the grandfather of former Kent State University at East Liverpool Advisory Board member M. Patricia Burnett, who made a $400,000 lead gift to provide enhanced learning opportunities to students in the occupational therapy assistant program. During the first half of the 20th century, Purinton dedicated his business career to improving the quality of life for residents of East Liverpool.
  • To ensure continuity and experience in executing Kent State’s presidential search and transition, the Board approved the appointment of Dr. Charlene Reed as vice president and university secretary, effective July 2, 2013. Reed, who joined the university in 2004, retired June 30, 2013.
  • The Board granted emeritus status to: Dr. William Acar, professor, Management and Information Systems; Ella Anaya, lecturer, Nursing; Deborah Barber, executive director, Degree Planning, Graduation Planning Systems, Academic Affairs and Provost; Dr. David Booth, professor, Management and Information Systems; Dr. Robert Faley, professor, Management and Information Systems; Barbara Hipsman Springer, associate professor, Journalism and Mass Communication; Dr. Mary Louise Holly, professor, Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies; Dr. Yung-Yue (Michael) Hu, professor, Marketing and Entrepreneurship; Michael Kreyche, associate professor, University Libraries; Ralph Lindeman, associate professor, Regional College, Geauga; Dr. Lawrence Marks, associate professor, Marketing and Entrepreneurship; Dr. Michael Mikusa, associate professor, Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Studies; Dr. Richard Rubin, professor, Library and Information Science; Dr. Frederick Schroath, associate professor, Finance; Dr. George Stevens, professor, Management and Information Systems; and Dr. Marvin Troutt, professor, Management and Information Systems. 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.
  • Board officers were elected for 2013-14. Jane Murphy Timken will serve a second term as chair; Dennis Eckart will serve a second term as vice chair; and Stephen Colecchi will serve a second term as secretary.

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Media Contacts:
Emily Vincent, evincen2@kent.edu, 330-672-8595
Bob Burford, rburford@kent.edu, 330-672-8516