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Sept. 16, 2014

CSU plans yearlong celebrations for 50th

By Ashli SpeedGreen Turns Gold

This year green is turning gold. Two thousand fourteen marks the 50th Anniversary of Cleveland State University, founded in 1964. The milestone birthday will be celebrated with a yearlong span of events.

Tentatively, the calendar of festivities spans from September to May. The list of events promises to attract not just students, but alumni and community members as well.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary the popular TEDx series will make its way to Cleveland State’s campus Oct. 24. A 50th Anniversary panel discussion, featuring past university presidents and former Board of Trustees Chairmen, is in the works for November. President Emerita Claire Van Ummersen, who served at the university from 1993-2001, and President Emeritus Michael Schwartz, who served from 2002-09, are among those confirmed for the event. Dr. Toby Crosgrove, current CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, will also be making his way to campus. The university is planning a 50th Anniversary Networking Bash for all students providing them with the opportunity to meet and network with people in different career fields.

The variety of events has kept Barbara Smith, Director of Special Events and Protocol Office of the President, busy. Smith has been involved in many aspects planning the 50th celebrations. She works on numerous 50th Anniversary planning committees — coordinating efforts and overseeing that all details are in place.

Having been employed at Cleveland State for 20 years, Smith understands the significance of celebrating its 50th year. She has seen the university grow into what it is today.

“We are only 50 years young by university standards and look what we have to offer,” Smith said. “We are moving in the right direction, gaining momentum and being recognized.”
As she reflects on the growth of Cleveland State she recalls a conversation she had with President Emeritus Schwartz.

“The sleeping giant is waking up and people will pay attention,” he said during that conversation.
His remark about Cleveland State’s progress is proving to be true.
Faculty and staff are not the only people taking notice of the strides that Cleveland State is celebrating — students are seeing it too.

“It’s great to see how proud Cleveland State is to be turning 50, I’m excited for the events to start,” junior Biology major Nkemdilim Ndum said.
Ndum has seen many changes in her time on campus.

“From the first time I visited Cleveland State to now it has grown so much in a positive way," Ndum said. “They are really engaging students in the 50th celebration — I see posters and flyers everywhere on campus.”
The University Marketing department has developed a wide range of the posters and flyers that Ndum and other students see on campus.
The traditional paper method is not the only way the university is spreading the word about all that year 50 has in store.
Many students have found their way to the 50th Anniversary website, www.csuohio.edu/50.

“Scrolling through Cleveland State’s homepage I saw the link to the 50th Anniversary site so I clicked on it,” sophomore Accounting major Morgan Davenport said.

Davenport was impressed by the information she found on the website.
“It was cool to see all the pictures from the past and see all that’s been planned for the year — I’m excited for the block party for sure.”

The website, devoted entirely to the golden celebration, has been developed by University Marketing to take its visitors on a visual trip throughout the last 50 years and see how the university has evolved. The site showcases Cleveland State’s history from its first homecoming parade to its first parking lot — which boasted the hefty price of 25 cents.

The organizers hope that the website and social media will help to create yearlong excitement and anticipation, helping students stay up to date all year.
The innovation of social media is a major component of the golden jubilee celebration. Social media is being used to engage people through marketing and advertising.
People can keep up with the celebration through the hashtag #CLESTATE50 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“We wanted to showcase CSU’s history in a visual way," senior writer for University Marketing Lisa Doyle said. “People can go through the timeline and see milestone events.”

Doyle is a member of the team working to create a buzz for the 50th celebration through social media.

“We are really using social media to get the word out,” Doyle said. “It gets the university and community involved so they know exactly what’s going on.”

The website will certainly spark memories for alumni, who can browse through pictures and share stories about their experiences at Cleveland State.

Homecoming is the kick off to the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Starting this year’s "50" themed homecoming is the 24th annual Distinguished Alumni Dinner, Thursday, Sept. 18, held in the Wolstein Center.

Prominent alumni will return to Cleveland State for a night of dinner and fun.

More than 400 guests are expected to attend, including alumni, community members and current Cleveland State students. There are eight alumni being honored at this year’s dinner.

Among the honorees are Paul Gemperline who attended CSU from 1973-1982, obtaining his Bachelors of Science in Chemistry in 1978 and Ph.D. in Clinical-Bio Analytical Chemistry in 1982. He is currently the Dean of the Graduate School at Eastern Carolina University. Elizabeth Pugh attended the Marshall School of Law from 1975-1978 and obtained Juris Doctorate of Law in 1978. Pugh is currently General Counsel of U.S. Library of Congress in D.C. and has been working for the government for 36 years.

The celebration continues with a block party on Friday Sept. 19, right in the heart of campus from 18 to 21 Street. Euclid Avenue will be closed from 18 to 21 Street beginning at 9 a.m. Sept. 19.

NBA player and former Viking basketball player Norris Cole will be the Grand Marshall of The Parade of The Decades leading into the block party accompanied by Cleveland State’s own President Berkman.

Food trucks, Sushi on the Roll, The Orange Truk, Krav Food Truck and Sweet! The Mobile Cupcakery, as well as a beer garden, a live DJ and a parade will be some of the attractions.

Live performances from 10-piece band, The Avenue -- a group made up of Cleveland State alumni -- DJ Lo-Key and the main performer Svet -- the hip hop violinist from America’s Got Talent will be the two performances at the party.

Students can try their luck in a raffle where the prize is spring tuition paid in full, even if they do not win there will be plenty of giveaways and entertainment.

Green Turns Gold promises to show students and the community just how much work has gone into making this year one to remember.

Stay up to date on all events in celebration of the 50th by following the social media accounts.