News & Announcements

Steven Minter and Albert Ratner to be awarded honorary degrees

Cleveland State University's Fall Commencement Ceremony is Sunday, December 16

Cleveland State University's fall commencement ceremony will take place on Sunday, December 16 at 1:30 p.m. at the Bert L. and Iris S. Wolstein Center, located at 2000 Prospect Ave.

A procession of graduates and faculty begins at 1 p.m.  Nearly 2000 students who completed their studies at the end of summer or fall semester are eligible to take part in the ceremony.

Graduates of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Sciences and Health Professions, Fenn College of Engineering, Monte Ahuja College of Business, College of Education and Human Services, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, and the School of Nursing will participate.

Graduates will be recognized by name as they cross the stage and receive their diplomas. Ph.D. and doctoral graduates will be hooded on stage.

President Ronald M. Berkman will deliver the commencement address. Two prominent local Clevelanders will be recognized with honorary degrees for their outstanding achievements in business, leadership, innovation and public service:

  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters: Steven A. Minter 
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters: Albert B. Ratner
Honorary Degree Profiles

Steven A. Minter is esteemed throughout northeast Ohio and the nation as a leader, mentor and tireless champion of change whose work has had a lasting, profound effect on the success of our region.

For more than 40 years, Minter has guided and nurtured businesses, schools, the arts, and nonprofit groups into transformative enterprises that contribute greatly to a dynamic community. He has served with distinction as a fundraiser, public policy maker and national voice for cities and their citizens.

As President and Executive Director of The Cleveland Foundation, Minter provided leadership on key community issues and focused on improving the quality of life for all. His 28-year tenure is noted for his efforts to build a strong, vibrant region and especially for his active role in revitalizing Cleveland.

Minter began his career in 1960 as a caseworker at the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department and rose to the rank of Director. He served as the first Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, then as Commissioner of Public Welfare for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Back in Cleveland, his guiding hand is seen as the founding Chair of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the county's first public funder for the arts and culture sector, and for his active leadership on the boards of KeyCorp, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, KnowledgeWorks Foundation, which works to transform K-12 education, and many other prominent business and civic groups.

Minter's contributions to Cleveland State are equally impressive. An Executive- in-Residence since 2003, he has advised two Presidents and provides a vital connecting point for collaborations between the University and the business and civic communities. His work advances the University's reputation nationally and provides students with countless opportunities for hands-on, engaged learning.

An able steward of the University during times of transition, he served as Interim Vice President for Advancement and Interim Executive Director of the CSU Foundation. He currently serves as Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors. Minter continues to reach out to students as a popular teacher in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs and Fellow in the College's Center for Nonprofit Policy and Practice.

A nationally respected business leader and outstanding philanthropist, Albert B. Ratner has distinguished himself through more than 50 years of generosity and expertise that continue to benefit all northeast Ohio citizens.

One of the region's most fervent boosters, Ratner embraces his role as a "son of Cleveland" who pushes for positive change, from better management of our schools, to bringing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to Cleveland, to ensuring that hungry families have enough to eat.

He began working for the family business, Forest City Enterprises, Inc., in 1951, serving as CEO for 20 years and continuing as Co-Chairman Emeritus. His leadership drove the firm's dramatic redevelopment of the Terminal Tower and Tower City Center and helped Forest City grow into a national commercial and real estate giant with a $7.2 billion portfolio of properties.

Ratner is also a founding partner and Director of Glengary LLC, a venture capital firm that helps early-stage companies achieve commercial success. As a board member of Global Cleveland, he works to increase Cleveland's population and boost the economy, and he has served on the boards of American Greetings, RPM International and the Greater Cleveland Partnership, among others.

Ratner's philanthropy has had a major impact on the region. He and Sam Miller, a former CSU Board of Trustees member, and their wives Audrey and Maria recently donated $2 million to Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute to advance research into early diagnosis of chronic and life-threatening diseases.

Along with city, legislative and school leaders, he worked tirelessly to create the Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools, the most progressive urban education statute in the country that provides opportunities for nearly 40,000 children. His many honors include an award from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for revitalizing the American downtown marketplace.

Ratner champions Cleveland State University as well, serving as a valued advisor to CSU leadership and supporting scholarships and the Center for Arts and Innovation. He continues to drive the University and the region forward through his unstinting service to his community.