Note from President Diacon

September 4, 2019

Dear Members of the Kent State Community,

Welcome to the beginning of a great new academic year! It is an honor to lead this esteemed institution as Kent State's 13th president, and to welcome so many new and returning students — along with our dedicated faculty and staff — back to our beautiful campus. 

Every school year begins with the promise of transformational learning and academic excellence, and this one is no exception. The 2019-2020 academic year already is shaping up to be one of great excitement and achievement.

Research Advances
Over the summer, we named Torsten Hegmann, Ph.D., as the new director of our Advanced Materials and Liquid Crystal Institute. Dr. Hegmann and his team have produced groundbreaking research in the fields of liquid crystal and nanomaterials during his time on our faculty, and I know that he will work to ensure that the institute will remain the world's leader in advanced materials science.

Dr. Hegmann joins Michael Lehman, Ph.D., director of our Brain Health Research Institute, and J.R. Campbell, director of Design Innovation Initiative, in fostering collaborative research across our eight campuses to grow Kent State's research portfolio and elevate Kent State as a regional and national leader for cutting-edge scientific discovery. You can learn more about their collaborative efforts in a special research edition of Kent State Magazine published later this month.

I strongly encourage all students to take advantage of the many opportunities we have for engaging in research, particularly as undergraduates. Finding answers for yourselves through research is a rewarding way to learn and pursue your passion for discovery during your college careers.

Aeronautics Advances 
This year, the College of Aeronautics and Engineering is the beneficiary of two new corporate partnerships that will elevate learning and job prospects for our aviation students.

On Sept. 6, we will formally dedicate the new FedEx Aeronautics Academic Center at the Kent State University Airport in Stow. Made possible by generous donations totaling $6.5 million from the FedEx Corp., this new 17,800-square-foot building will provide our aviation students with a state-of-the-art facility to match the high-quality education they receive.

On Sept. 13, we will formally announce an exciting new partnership with Delta Air Lines, which has selected our nationally ranked Flight Technology program to become a Delta Propel Partner, creating career opportunities for students studying to be future commercial pilots.

Through Delta's Collegiate Pilot Career Path Program, the airline will interview, help train and recruit high-quality pilot candidates among Kent State students who meet the program's eligibility requirements. Successful candidates will be employed as pilots at Delta upon graduation.

May 4 Commemoration
The upcoming 50th anniversary of the May 4, 1970, shootings at Kent State will make this year a particularly memorable and important one. I strongly encourage you to take part in the many events we have planned throughout the year. One powerful lesson from May 4 is the danger of polarization, and it is our desire that the legacy of this tragedy advance the cause of peace and civil discourse in our society.

Welcome to Kent State
In closing, I hope that you enjoy the fall semester and all that it has to offer. I encourage you to show your Kent State pride and join me in wearing Blue and Gold every Friday, or other days designated at your campus.

I personally invite all first year students to take part in the Golden Flashes Run at the Kent State football game on Sept. 7. Meet me at the North Endzone Concourse at 11:40 a.m. Saturday, and together, we will storm the field at Dix Stadium to show our blue and gold spirit before we kick off our first home game against Kennesaw State!

Homecoming takes place Sept. 21, and I hope to see you at the parade or the football game when the Golden Flashes take on the Bowling Green Falcons.

In the meantime, I will be at plenty of events across campus doing my best to meet as many students, faculty and staff as I can. If you look hard, you might even spot me in my Elvis costume!

With best regards,

Todd Diacon