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Office of the President

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I write to inform you of my decision, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, to retire as President in June 2018. My goal in making this decision is to best position Cleveland State University to continue the progress we have collectively achieved.

Having exceeded our $100 million campaign goal two years early, it is imperative to prepare for the next campaign, which needs to be led by a new President. Continued student success and academic growth are only achievable through philanthropic support. While I have every intention of aggressively pursuing external support in 2018, the long-term trajectory requires donors to know and connect with the new leadership of CSU. The shorter the interval between my departure and the installation of new leadership, the more likely we are to sustain the very significant progress we have made in the last decade.

This coming year will be a critical time in undertaking a number of current projects and will provide a pivot to the next generation of strategic initiatives for CSU.

Among the projects slated for completion are the development of the opportunity to create a funding stream that allows us to build 500 units of freshman housing, add additional parking and potentially build a new Event Center without negatively impacting the academic enterprise. The senior leadership has worked tirelessly to devise a path to this goal, but it will take another year to bring it to closure.

Next year will also be the next round of capital budget allocations. My hope is to build on our success and innovation and secure a significant share of capital dollars. The programming and construction of the School of Film & Media Arts and Washkewicz College of Engineering will be completed in 2018. New leadership will be required to chart the next phase of development.

In 2020, CSU will stand for its national accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission. The vast amount of preparation for that visit will be completed by the next academic year. This will give a new President the time to understand the institution and best represent the University during the visit of the national accreditation team in early fall of 2020.

The opportunity to lead Cleveland State University for nine years is, without question, the most rewarding experience of my over 40-year academic career. I am very grateful to all of my administration, faculty colleagues and the Board of Trustees for your support and fidelity to our mission. At the core of this mission is the opportunity we afford to an exceptional student body. I pledge to do everything possible to facilitate a smooth leadership transition and provide whatever continuing support a new administration may need.

I will always be, first and foremost, a Viking!


Ronald M. Berkman

Cleveland State University

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