October 17, 2016

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Homecoming never fails to bring a sea of smiling faces to campus, and this year's edition was no exception. It's always great to see our ever-growing Cleveland State University family renewing old friendships and making new ones.

Stormy weather forced the cancellation of the Homecoming Parade, but it didn't stop a horde of Vikings, past and present, from descending on Mather Mansion for a fun-filled VikeFest. The full slate of Homecoming festivities featured many other well-attended events, including special alumni receptions hosted by our various colleges, an exciting scrimmage by our new Division I lacrosse team and our 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony at the Wolstein Center, where we honored Annette Butler, David Fornari, Ann Frangos, Krista Freeman, Grace Gallucci, Zachary Green, James Heckelman, Bonnie Raquet, Kenneth Ricci and Susan Tullai-McGuinness.

Topping it all off – literally – was a wonderful tribute from Cleveland's landmark Terminal Tower, which was lit up Viking green at the conclusion of our Homecoming celebration.

For more towering CSU news, keep reading. . . .

Reality Shifts at TEDxClevelandStateUniversity

Our third annual TEDxClevelandStateUniversity is right around the corner. Set for 2 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, October 21, this year's event bears the theme: “Reality Shifts: Are You Ready?

Ready to take the stage in Waetjen Auditorium are 13 outstanding presenters, including Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Connie Schultz, MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros and Library of Congress General Counsel Elizabeth Pugh, a CSU alumna. Also on the program are Mark Avsec, Honey Bell-Bey, Mississippi Charles Bevel, Fred Bidwell, Thomas Maridada, Roberta Muehlheim, Andrea Muto, Cody Peacock, John Perrine and Ron Soeder.

Outside the Music and Communication Building, an X-shaped tent will mark the spot where attendees will be able to experience various “shifts” tied into our theme.

Tickets are going fast. Get yours today at tedxclevelandstateuniversity.com. I look forward to seeing you there.

Washkewicz College of Engineering Breaks Ground for Addition

Don Washkewicz recently drove by CSU to check the progress of the addition to our Washkewicz College of Engineering. As the proud CSU alumnus and former chairman and CEO of Parker Hannifin approached the construction site, the heavy machinery at work there sent a cloud of dust across Chester Avenue. Mr. Washkewicz took this as a good sign.

He recounted the story last week during our groundbreaking ceremony for this state-of-the-art facility, where we kicked up a little more dust – and some dirt for good measure.

Along with Mr. Washkewicz and his wife, Pam, our shovel-wielding guests of honor included Parker Hannifin Chairman and CEO Thomas Williams; CSU Board of Trustees Chair Bernie Moreno, Trustees Thomas Adler, David Gunning, Morton Levin and Dan Moore and Student Trustees Paul All and Sierra Davidson; benefactor Monte Ahuja; and from the College of Engineering, Dean Anette Karlsson, Executive in Residence Duane Crockrom and Professor Nigamanth Sridhar.

Spring 2016 Commencement Valedictorian Claudine Campos Lacdao, who graduated from CSU with a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, shared her inspiring story during our post-groundbreaking luncheon.

When the 100,000-square-foot addition opens late next year, it will add state-of-the-art facilities such as a makerspace and a new motion and control lab to our College of Engineering, where undergraduate enrollment has increased more than 260 percent over the past decade. The annex also will provide a striking northern gateway to our downtown campus.

Community Partnerships Shine

CSU's close ties to the community are central to our identity as one of Cleveland's anchor institutions. Along those lines, I'm happy to share these updates:

Campus International School, a collaboration between the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and CSU, is the winner of the Shirley Schwartz Urban Impact Award from the Council of the Great City Schools, a national coalition representing nearly 70 of the largest urban public school systems in the nation. CMSD Superintendent Eric Gordon and I will attend the Council's annual meeting this week in Miami to accept the award, which honors outstanding partnerships that have made a positive impact on student learning.

• CSU is strengthening its partnership with our Campus District neighbor, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. St. Vincent already serves as a teaching site for CSU's nursing program as well as CSU's joint medical degree program with Northeast Ohio Medical University. Going forward, CSU's Washkewicz College of Engineering will collaborate with St. Vincent's Spine and Orthopedic Institute to develop prosthetics that will enhance mobility and quality of life for people with disabilities. St. Vincent President and CEO Dr. David Perse and I are also looking at ways to address drug dependency and mental health in our community by combining the strengths of St. Vincent's Rosary Hall treatment center and CSU's School of Social Work. All told, $550,000 in funding was recently committed by St. Vincent toward its partnership with CSU, including support for collaborations between St. Vincent resident physicians and CSU researchers, as well as for tuition scholarships for registered nurses at St. Vincent who wish to earn their BSN at CSU's School of Nursing.

Let's Do Lunch

We held the first President's Lunch of the 2016-2017 academic year this month. Some 200 students entered a lottery for a chance to receive an invitation, with 20 winners chosen at random.

I very much enjoyed the company of my lunch guests, who represented a cross-section of CSU's wonderfully diverse student population. They came from all walks of life, and they were eager to discuss everything from campus safety to opportunities for student veterans.

The next President's Lunch will be held in early December. Details will be announced next month.

As Election Day draws near, I strongly encourage all of you to exercise your right to vote. Participating in the process is particularly important this year, in light of the historic presidential election and important local ballot measures such as Issue 108. The latter would renew a Cuyahoga County tax levy that provides operating revenue for Cleveland city schools. In keeping with CSU's ongoing efforts to improve access to high-quality public education in Cleveland, I am in favor of renewing the tax levy to ensure that schools have the resources to accomplish this goal.

In the meantime, it's hard to believe we're already halfway through fall semester. Good luck on midterms.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't add: Go Tribe!


Ronald M. Berkman

Cleveland State University

2121 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115. 216-867-2000TwitterFacebookYouTubeFlickerLinked InPinterestTumblerInstagram

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