Commencement Speaker, Campus Updates Announced

Dear Members of the Kent State University Community,

Each semester holds new possibilities for us at Kent State, and this term has already proven to be a busy and productive one. 

One spring semester event that is always a memorable occasion is our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. This year's speaker was author and Kent State alumna Bertice Berry, Ph.D., who shared the importance of continuing Dr. King's dream of equality and justice, and the responsibility we all share to think intensely and critically. Congratulations to the winner of our 2018 Diversity Trailblazer Award, Economics Professor Kathy Wilson, Ph.D., and to the College of Communication and Information, this year's winner of the Unity Award for Diversity. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you also to the 100-plus students who participated in our annual Day of Service, volunteering at area nonprofit organizations on the Jan. 15 holiday.

Strategic Roadmap Update

I hope you can join me for an update on progress toward our Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State, in particular the developing Facilities Master Plan and preparations for the university's largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The Facilities Master Plan will transform our Kent Campus to better serve the needs of students, faculty, staff and the community. In addition to building improvements and purpose-built classrooms, studios and labs, the plan proposes the extension of our iconic Front Campus and creation of a Main Street gateway to the university. This 10-year plan will touch every college on the Kent Campus and strengthen our connection to our home city of Kent. The Facilities Master Plan process and outcomes to date are posted at

For your convenience, three update sessions are being offered. Please choose the one that best fits your schedule. 

All of the update sessions will take place in the Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony from:

  • 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20
  • Noon-1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 22
  • 8:30-9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28

One University Commencement

Looking ahead, our One University Commencement will take place on Saturday, May 12, at Dix Stadium. A new highlight this year is the opportunity for all graduating students to cross the stage with each graduate being recognized by name.

I am honored to announce that we will welcome home Oscar-nominated actor and Golden Flash Michael Keaton as our 2018 One University Commencement speaker.Mr. Keaton, who has moved us in his compelling motion picture roles, will now inspire thousands of new Kent State graduates. This is a rare opportunity for our students to hear from someone who honed his craft at Kent State before rising to the top of his field.

Mr. Keaton may be best known for his roles as the Caped Crusader in Batman and Batman Returns. As the star of Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Innocence), he was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Golden Globe. He is one of the few actors whose films, Birdman and Spotlight, won the Oscar for Best Picture in back-to-back years.

We look forward to hearing Mr. Keaton as we continue our tradition of coming together as one to celebrate the achievements of our students with their families and our academic community. This university-wide celebration reinforces the university's recognition as one of the largest public research universities in the nation with one of the closest families in the world. With the exception of the College of Podiatric Medicine, smaller additional ceremonies for the colleges will no longer be held on the Kent Campus. Graduates from Kent State's Regional Campuses will also have the opportunity to attend ceremonies hosted on their campuses.

Commencement is among our most valued campus traditions, where students and families are able to see - and celebrate - the results of their years of study and hard work. At this 2018 Spring Commencement, we look forward to recognizing all students receiving a degree as they cross the stage at Dix Stadium to be recognized personally for their accomplishments. These few steps may mark the end of a student's college career, but are just the beginning of our graduates' journeys into a bright future of sharing their knowledge and Kent State values with the world.

I want to thank all members of this great community for the talent and commitment you share in making Kent State such as special place to work, learn and live. I look forward to seeing you at one of the update meetings or at one of the many special activities and events that highlight our spring semester.

With best regards,

Beverly J. Warren

POSTED: Monday, February 12, 2018 09:39 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM
Beverly Warren