End of Semester Update

Dear Members of the Kent State Community:

This is my favorite time of year! Soon we will gather to celebrate the many successes of our graduating students.

Earning a college degree is the culmination of years of hard work, and I am proud that Kent State will be awarding more than 5,300 degrees this spring.

We will honor those accomplishments on May 12 as graduates from all eight of our campuses gather for our One University Commencement, where Kent State alumnus and Oscar-nominated actor Michael Keaton will deliver this year's address. We expect more than 18,000 people to attend commencement, including graduates, their families and friends, and I offer my heartfelt congratulations to all.

A remarkable semester

Just as graduates are celebrating their achievements, so too the university, its faculty and staff can look on our accomplishments of the Spring 2018 Semester and know that we have made significant progress toward our highest priorities.

The semester was punctuated with events and activities that represented clear milestones for Kent State.

  • The university Board of Trustees, in March, approved a $1 billion Facilities Master Plan, which — over the next 10 years — will transform the Kent Campus, resulting in new buildings, additional greenspace and much-needed building and parking improvements. Our community already has responded enthusiastically to the various proposed plans for our new College of Business Administration Building.
  • Our Capital Campaign, though still in its quiet phase, is squarely focused on raising money to ensure the master plan will be fully executed and that other strategic university priorities will be realized. We continue to garner significant support for student scholarships, innovation, endowed initiatives and capital projects of what will be our largest fundraising campaign in university history. Because of the dedication of the Kent State community and the philanthropic support of our donors, we are confident that we will advance our mission with purpose and passion. 
  • Thanks to a generous lead gift from the FedEx Corporation, we expect to break ground soon for a long-awaited new academic building at the Kent State University Airport, which will provide state-of-the-art facilities for our Aeronautics Program. In addition, Dr. Christina Bloebaum will start Aug. 1 as our new dean of the College of Aeronautics and Engineering, bringing with her new ideas for innovating this hallmark program.
  • We are collaborating with the Pontifical Catholic University of Parana, Brazil, to form the American Academy, creating a path for Brazilian students to earn a Kent State degree while studying at home in Brazil or by taking the opportunity for global study in Kent for two years. 
  • In April, 350 students took part in our graduate research symposium. The amazing two-day event highlighted the wide-ranging and impressive body of ongoing graduate student research in areas that included architecture, art, engineering and all of our sciences. Our undergraduate research symposium was equally successful with nearly 400 students taking part in more than 230 projects of scientific research, art, performance and oral presentations.
  • This summer, more than 50 of our undergraduate students, in majors ranging from aeronautics to zoology will remain on campus to take part in our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, conducting their own research projects in partnership with a faculty mentor. 

Looking ahead

As we anticipate what lies ahead for our institution, we know that declining enrollment, decreasing state funding and state-imposed tuition caps will continue to challenge public universities, including Kent State.

In the weeks leading up to our June 6 Board of Trustees meeting, we will be working diligently to create a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2019 to present to the Board.

We will have to look critically at our operations and expenses to balance our budget with projected revenues, even as we continue to make strategic investments in the university's future.

Achieving this goal will require our best work and most dedicated focus, and I am confident we will all do our part to ensure the university retains its solid financial footing, which will guarantee a bright future for Kent State.

Remembering and Honoring May 4

Later this week we will take a break from our normal activities to recall the day that solidified Kent State's place in American history. We will honor the memory of the four students killed and offer our enduring support for the nine students who were injured, all of their families and all whose lives forever were altered by the tragic events.

In the fall, we will continue to work on preparations for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shootings, coming in 2020. Our community has a solemn responsibility to mark this anniversary so that future generations may learn from its painful lessons.

See you in August

As we conclude this semester, I offer my deepest thanks to our devoted faculty and staff, whose hard work and dedication to our students is inspiring. Please know that you share in the success of all of our graduates.

Whether your summer is spent at an internship, pursuing additional study, traveling or reconnecting with family and friends, we hope it is a time of rest, rejuvenation and enjoyment.

We look forward to the return of faculty and students for the Fall 2018 Semester when fall classes begin on Aug. 23.

Fall 2018 promises to be an amazing semester filled with opportunities for great learning and discovery. I want to thank the entire Kent State University community for your dedication and commitment to a future that will be forever brighter as a result of the purpose and passion of those who call this special university our home.

With best regards,
Beverly J. Warren

POSTED: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 8:58am
UPDATED: Friday, May 11, 2018 - 10:00am
Beverly Warren