University’s Challenges and Strengths in Focus in Statehouse Hearing

Kent State University President Todd Diacon focused on the benefits to Ohio from state support of Kent State during his April 10 presentation before the Ohio Senate Workforce and Higher Education Committee in Columbus, Ohio. 

Watch Diacon’s full presentation: 

Diacon’s presentation kicked off the second of six sessions in which all 14 Ohio public universities are asked to discuss their capital funding requests for infrastructure repairs and improvements. Presidents are also asked to summarize their institutions’ financial health amid a changing higher education environment and additionally, to detail spending on diversity, equity and inclusion and discuss the response to the growing presence of artificial intelligence. 

Kent State seeks just over $29 million in the 2025-2026 biennium for capital projects ranging from network enhancement in academic buildings on the Kent Campus to library roof repairs on the Trumbull Campus and projects on each of the other Regional Campuses. 

All told, Ohio’s public universities collectively seek about $300 million in capital funding for the coming biennium. 

“We believe that expenditures of those amounts – not passing judgment on any of them – is worthy of great scrutiny and questions to be asked by the legislature,” said Committee Chair Jerry Cirino, (R-Kirtland).  


Capital project summary of budget requests


Diacon summarized Kent State’s capital funding needs for the coming biennium. 

Diacon noted Kent State’s history, going back to the 1960s, featuring significant physical growth to keep up with the Baby Boom student generation, and that’s left the university with much upkeep amid today’s challenging enrollment climate.  

“Our enrollment can fluctuate due to outside factors like demographics, but the buildings remain, regardless of enrollment,” Diacon said. 

Placing the infrastructure-related budget requests in a broader context, Diacon noted several ways Kent State has tightened its operational budget, along with efficiency measures that have cut costs further. 

Budget considerations


Efficiency Considerations


The president provided several examples of expense reduction and cost avoidance the university has undertaken over the past several years. 

Diacon will share more about his presentation during his next Talking With Todd webcast, delivered live for faculty and staff on Wednesday, April 17, at 2:30 p.m. and posted afterward on the president’s homepage.  

POSTED: Wednesday, April 10, 2024 09:22 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 11, 2024 09:23 AM
Stephen Ward