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Office of the President

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

Here’s to new beginnings! As another academic year gets underway, the excitement and energy across campus are palpable.

In case you missed my previous message, let me begin by sharing a bit of wonderful news that bears repeating: A new report from the highly respected Brookings Institution ranks Cleveland State University at No. 18 in the entire nation among public universities that provide social mobility AND conduct vital research. We are the only Ohio public university on this list.

The authors of the study assessed the relative strengths of 342 four-year public universities across the United States. Only 20 percent of these institutions fulfilled a dual mission of improving opportunities for students from underprivileged backgrounds and expanding boundaries of knowledge via impactful research. I’m happy to report that CSU is among the elite few that deliver on both counts, according to Brookings.

Please have a look at the entire report at your convenience. In the meantime, read on for the latest and greatest from CSU…

A New Home for Campus International School

From the start, one of my top priorities at CSU has been cultivating a dynamic neighborhood around our campus. A great school for young students was a must, because you simply can’t have great neighborhoods without great schools.

Enter Campus International School, which we opened in 2010. This trailblazing collaboration between CSU and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District — the only school in the district with a challenging International Baccalaureate curriculum — has earned national recognition, including the Shirley Schwartz Urban Impact Award from the Council of Great City Schools.

As of the 2017-2018 academic year, Campus International School students in grades K-8 have a new home on the CSU campus. We’ll officially dedicate the school’s beautiful new building on Payne Avenue during a ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 20.

Let’s Hear It for Our Donors

We launched Engage: The Campaign for Cleveland State University at the annual Radiance benefit in 2015. CSU’s first major fund-raising effort sought to raise $100 million to support student success at CSU.

We’re not ready to reveal just yet if we met our goal, but I will tell you that there will be much to celebrate when we gather at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 14, in the Student Center’s Glasscock Family Foundation Ballroom to mark the completion of the campaign. Engage co-chairs Monte Ahuja and Don Washkewicz will be our guests of honor for the festivities, which will include the unveiling of a new donor wall honoring those whose generous support was essential to making the campaign a resounding success. Hope to see you there, too!

Engineered to Engage

As you read this, construction crews are in the home stretch of work on the Washkewicz College of Engineering’s stunning new addition. CSU’s top-ranked engineering programs will be right at home in this 100,000-square-foot annex, complete with technologically advanced learning environments and the Dan T. Moore MakerSpace. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being planned for later this year. Watch this space for details. In the meantime, have a look at this video for a hard-hat tour of the addition.

Go Vikes!

Congratulations to our favorite mascot, Magnus, who was the runner-up in the hard-fought Mid-Mascot Madness competition. He’ll always be No. 1 with us, of course.

And speaking of athletics, our cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis and volleyball teams are in action. I encourage you to check out their schedules and cheer the Vikings on to victory.

AHA! Festival Wows ’Em

Our very first AHA! Festival earned its exclamation point! Presented by CSU in collaboration with Playhouse Square and other community partners, this unique celebration of the arts and the humanities had campus and the neighboring theatre district abuzz from June 7 through June 9.

Among the highlights were a book fair, theater productions (Love, Loss and What I Wore and The Frog Bride), a TEDx Salon with astronomer Lucianne Walkowicz, a sneak preview of the Ken Burns/Lynn Novick documentary series The Vietnam War and packed appearances by Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Jon Meacham and Isabel Wilkerson, actress Yvette Nicole Brown and dancer Karina Smirnoff.

Don’t miss this recap of AHA! highlights — and stay tuned for details regarding next year’s festival.

A Public-Private Partnership for CSU Parking

As a result of recommendations by the Ohio Task Force on Affordability and Efficiency in Higher Education, CSU has been investigating a public-private partnership that would enhance parking resources on campus and provide additional funds to support University operations. I have formed a Stakeholder Advisory Committee of students, faculty, staff and community members to assist the University in reviewing options and to make recommendations to the Board of Trustees. Committee members and upcoming campus forums on the topic will be announced shortly.

In closing, let me leave you with a couple of quick programming notes:

The annual President’s Picnic is set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, September 7. Please mark your calendars and join us on the Student Center Plaza for free food and lots of fun. See you there!

The next date in our popular President’s Lunch series is booked for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 20. I look forward to sharing a meal with 20 students, hearing what’s on their minds and getting their perspectives on issues of interest. Interested? For a chance to win an invitation, students can submit this auto-populated form. Deadline to enter the lunch lottery is 5 p.m. Friday, September 8.

Best wishes for a successful fall semester. Let’s make it another one to remember at Cleveland State University!


Ronald M. Berkman

Cleveland State University

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