The Board of Trustees of Cleveland State University voted unanimously on Sunday to appoint Ronald M. Berkman as the sixth president of the University, succeeding Michael Schwartz who will retire from CSU’s top post on June 30.
In making the announcement, Ronald Weinberg, Chairman of the CSU Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Presidential Search Committee, said, “I am delighted that after a diligent and thoughtful national search, we have come up with the best choice for our institution’s next president. The fact that we have been able to attract a very special individual of Ron Berkman’s caliber is testimony to the achievements of Michael Schwartz as President for the last eight years. It speaks well for Cleveland State University, the Greater Cleveland Region and the opportunities we can pursue. I am confident we have been able to attract the finest person to be our next president, and I look forward to working with him, as I am sure we all do.”
Dr. Berkman, 62, is currently Provost and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Florida International University in Miami, where he has been since 1997. He also served as Executive Dean of the College of Health and Urban Affairs at FIU. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1977.
Dr. Berkman stated, “I am honored to be asked to serve as the next President of Cleveland State University. I am impressed with the work President Schwartz has done in creating an urban university poised to have a truly transformational effect on the social, economic, cultural, and political life of the city, the region, and the state.”
Dr. Berkman’s accomplishments at FIU include:
Prior to coming to Florida International University, Dr. Berkman has taught at The Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, Brooklyn College, the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, and has served as visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley, New York University, and the University of Puerto Rico.
Dr. Berkman has authored, co-authored or co-edited five books and numerous articles on municipal government, public policy, economic development, community development, crime and corrections policy.
As the Dean of Urban Affairs at the CUNY, Dr. Berkman was responsible for developing research and technical assistance partnerships with all facets of New York City, New York State and federal government agencies and non-governmental organizations. In 1994, he was named the Founding Dean of CUNY’s first School of Public Affairs, located at Baruch College. He served as University Dean of Academic Affairs at CUNY from 1992 to 1994.
In addition to his academic leadership, Dr. Berkman has had a record of distinguished public affairs leadership. In 1990, he was the Director of the Urban Summit, a historic meeting of mayors of America's largest cities. After the summit, he co-edited a book of research articles written by the most respected urban scholars in the U.S. dealing with the issues discussed at the Summit. He directed former New York City Mayor David Dinkins’ Work Force Commission and authored a report and analysis of public/private partnerships for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. In 2001, he was appointed to chair Florida Governor Jeb Bush's Health Care Summit. He recently served as Co-Chair of the Miami-Dade Empowerment Zone Planning Committee, overseeing the preparation of a successful application for designation as a Federal Empowerment Zone. As a commentator on urban and public affairs, he has frequently appeared on CNN and other major television and radio networks.
Dr. Berkman is married to Patricia Bilbao-Berkman, and they have four adult children.
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Michael Schwartz has been at CSU since 2001. After stepping down as president, he will take a one-year sabbatical, then return to teach at CSU. During his eight years in the top CSU job, the campus underwent tremendous change, including a $300 million campus improvement master plan. which has transformed the downtown institution into a university campus in the heart of downtown Cleveland.
Dr. Schwartz will be remembered as the catalyst that made CSU an integral player and key component in the economic growth of Cleveland, embracing a philosophy that for Cleveland to be good, Cleveland State University must be good. His forward thinking has revitalized the campus in every respect, from restructuring it to run as a business, to reengineering student services to put the proper emphasis on the “customers” of the University – its students, to drastically improving campus buildings.
“After serving as president for almost eight years, I feel that the advancement of CSU and the accomplishments of its faculty, staff and students have far exceeded my expectations. I am confident that the management team that is currently in place is the best I have ever had the privilege of working with, and they will continue to carry on the growth and quality enhancement of CSU with vigor through a seamless transition of leadership to Dr. Berkman. It is with pride that I leave the leadership of this great institution in their capable hands.”
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