Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,
As Kent State University's 13th president, I am honored and humbled to lead this great university. I am also filled with excitement and anticipation for what is the beginning of a new era built on a renewed commitment to the highest levels of access and affordability while providing a world-class education.
I have worked with many of you in my role as executive vice president and provost, and have witnessed the exemplary work and dedication of our special Kent State community. I also recognize that there are many of you whom I do not know well, and I am eager to spend time learning more about you, your role and your interests. My commitment to you today is to join you in strengthening our intense focus on student success, as well as research and academic excellence.
Kent State is a university with unmatched potential for meaningful impact in the state of Ohio and beyond. We are one of the largest university systems in the nation with world-class faculty, nationally respected programs and students who exhibit the sheer grit and determination to make a difference in our global society.
When I have heard you proudly chant "We are Kent State" at campus events, it reminds me that we are much more than a collection of buildings or programs. Our talented faculty, dedicated staff and hardworking students — you are Kent State, and together we make a powerhouse university.
Thanks to all of you, we are a university that is on the rise. You have successfully advanced Kent State's position as a top-tier public research university. Our work together has resulted in record retention rates, a dramatic rise in graduation rates and a record number of graduates who earned their baccalaureate degrees. In fact, we awarded more than 10,000 degrees last year – more than the entire enrollment of several Northeast Ohio colleges. And this fall, we will announce great news of dramatic increases in our research funding.
Together, we have cultivated a culture of innovation among students and faculty alike. I am so pleased that we have reached a successful conclusion in our contract negotiations with our tenured and tenure-track faculty, which sets the stage for a dynamic partnership with our talented faculty in leading this fine university.
Our impressive accomplishments are too numerous to list here – from our students garnering two prestigious Goldwater Scholarships to our College of Business Administration investment team winning national honors to WKSU being named the Best Newsroom in Ohio for a second consecutive year. I owe each of you – students, faculty, staff and alumni – a debt of gratitude. It would have been impossible to reach these milestones without the contributions of all of you.
It will take our continued efforts, working together, to elevate this fine institution to its rightful place as a national powerhouse and vital partner in Ohio's growth and success.
In accordance with the order of Amy Acton, M.D., director of Ohio Department of Health, to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, and in the interest of the health and safety of the community, Kent State University regretfully announces cancellation of the May 4 50th Commemoration Weekend events, scheduled to take place May 1-4, 2020.
Tara C. Smith, Ph.D., epidemiology professor in the College of Public Health, shares her perspective on the current coronavirus pandemic: "It seems like years have passed since the world first heard of an 'atypical pneumonia' circulating in the Hubei province of China in December 2019. When we’ve seen similar reports in the past, the illnesses have had a variety of causes, but all were eventually containable..."
“We have to start knitting masks. My director of health just emailed the entire staff.” For Irvin Cardenas, a robotics researcher and computer science Ph.D. student in the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University, these were the worst words he had ever heard from a close friend working at one of Cleveland’s top hospitals.