President & CEO Beverly Warren | Office of the President | Kent State University

President & CEO Beverly Warren

President Warren

Stroll across Kent State University’s campus and you are apt to see President Beverly Warren posing for a selfie with students on Risman Plaza or chatting with faculty about their latest research.

In just a few years, Dr. Warren has distinguished herself as a rock star among students and staff. Whether she’s advocating for academics in the board room or cheering on the Golden Flashes on the playing field, her engaging presence can be felt campus-wide.

A dynamic leader and thoughtful academic, President Warren has used her first term at the helm of Kent State to chart a course for the university’s continued rise in excellence.

Dr. Warren became Kent State University's 12th president on July 1, 2014. She immediately embarked on a six-month-long listening tour, during which she met with faculty, staff, students, alumni and community leaders from all eight Kent State campuses.

The result was Dr. Warren’s ambitious six-year plan: A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State, which established a list of strategies to put the university on track for greater success.

The plan focuses on putting students first and identifies ways to raise the profile of Kent State as one of the top public research universities in the nation, focusing on a distinctive blend of teaching, research and creative excellence.

The plan includes goals for benchmarks such as raising enrollment, retention and graduation rates for students and increasing research funding for faculty, to keep progress on track.

Under Dr. Warren’s tenure, the university has enrolled is most academically advanced freshman class ever, and has achieved record enrollment in its Honor’s College program.

With a background in physical education, President Warren also has led the charge to turn Kent State into one of the healthiest campuses in the nation. She has launched a series of wellness initiatives, including prohibiting smoking and tobacco use on campus as of July 2017.

In her role as the university’s chief executive officer, President Warren oversees one of the nation's largest university systems, dedicated to research and advancement in the areas of brain health, advanced materials and liquid crystals, healthy communities, environmental science and design, and global understanding.

Kent State University is one of 76 public higher-research universities, as categorized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and is ranked in the first-tier list of Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report. With eight campuses spanning Northeast Ohio, a College of Podiatric Medicine, a Regional Academic Center, and academic sites in major world capitals such as New York City, Geneva and Florence, Kent State is one of Ohio’s leading public universities and a major educational, economic and cultural resource far beyond the Northeast Ohio region it has served since 1910.

The student body of more than 40,000 students, includes 2,000 international students from more than 100 countries; while Kent State’s worldwide alumni family exceeds 234,000 members.

President Warren has dedicated herself to creating a university culture where students will discover their passion and purpose in life. In Dr. Warren, students find a mentor, friend and booster.

In 2017, President Warren launched an innovative design initiative to transform the thinking and teaching that takes place at Kent State, to turn the university into the Midwest hub for innovative design.

President Warren is a member of the Board of Trustees for The Cleveland Orchestra and serves on the boards of directors for Team NEO, Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) and Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio Inc. (NETO). A member of The 50 Club of Cleveland and the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Council of Presidents, she is an honorary director of the Board of Trustees for The Portage Foundation.

Prior to coming to Kent State, Warren served as provost and senior vice president at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) since 2011. She arrived at VCU in 2000 as a professor and head of the School of Education’s Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and she went on to serve as dean of the School of Education. Before joining VCU, Warren held faculty positions at Smith College in Massachusetts, Auburn University in Alabama, Appalachian State University in North Carolina and Lander University in South Carolina.

President Warren is an internationally respected and widely published scholar in the fields of education and exercise physiology. Her most recent research focused on urban education, including access and success for urban youth, the preparation of teachers for urban environments and coordination of education through P-20 initiatives. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, was elected to its Board of Trustees in 2004 and is a former president of its Southeast Chapter.

A North Carolina native, Dr. Warren earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Science degree from Southern Illinois University. She holds two doctorates, an Ed.D. in administration of higher education from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Auburn University.

In 2016, the Kent State Board of Trustees voted to extend President Warren’s contract through 2020.

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