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Office of the President

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

It’s the most wonderful time of the (academic) year. I’m talking, of course, about Commencement. As president of Cleveland State University, nothing brings me more joy than shaking hands with our graduates when they receive their diplomas.

Congratulations to the Class of 2017! Fall Commencement is set for Sunday, December 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wolstein Center. The ceremony will be livestreamed here.

Our valedictorian is Dominique Tapia, who is graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in education from the College of Education and Human Services.

The Commencement address will be delivered by one of the most prominent figures in American higher education: Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, who formerly served as president of The Ohio State University, the University of Colorado and Brown University, as well as chancellor of Vanderbilt University.

CSU will confer honoree degrees on Dr. Gee and Maggie Jackson, professor emerita in CSU’s School of Social Work. During Commencement, we’ll also present the Distinguished Faculty and Staff Awards. This year’s honorees are Petru Fodor, Zhiqiang Gao, Debbie Jackson, Jeff Karem, Mary Therese Kocevar, Bibo Li, Karen Locker and Wenbing Zhao. Congratulations, one and all!

Please read on for more engaging items from the Home of Engaged Learning…

Must-See TV

If you haven’t already had an opportunity to check out my 2017 State of the University address, I encourage you to view it here. We filmed the video at the new Campus International School building, whose opening was among the highlights of an eventful fall semester. In addition to a rundown of recent CSU news of note, the address offers my thoughts on challenges and opportunities facing the University in the future. Please have a look and let me know what you think by sending an email to Hi.President.Berkman@csuohio.edu.

Top Architects Tapped for Film School

CSU has enlisted Bastien and Associates, an internationally renowned architectural firm specializing in film/television studios and education facilities, and Van Auken Akins Architects LLC to design our new School of Film & Media Arts.

Under the direction of Frederic Lahey, the school will occupy the top floor of the Idea Center at Playhouse Square, complete with studio space, editing bays and a screening room. Beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year, six tracks toward a bachelor of fine arts degree will be offered, including cinematography and writing/directing.

These programs will thoroughly prepare our students for successful careers in the burgeoning film and media arts industries, in Northeast Ohio and beyond.

The Shape of Higher Ed to Come

I look forward to joining President Alex Johnson of Cuyahoga Community College and President Matthew Wilson of the University of Akron at the City Club of Cleveland on Friday, December 15, for a panel discussion on the future of higher education in Ohio. Micki Byrnes, president and general manager of WKYC, will moderate the conversation. If you’re unable to attend, you can catch the forum live on WCPN FM/90.3 or online at cityclub.org/live-stream, starting at 12:30 p.m.

Volleyball Vikings Shine

Let’s hear it for the CSU volleyball team! They went 22-8 this season, winning their third consecutive Horizon League regular season and tournament titles and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in program history. Congratulations to Coach Chuck Voss and his exceptional student-athletes, especially senior standouts Shannon Grega, Gina Kilner, Alexis Middlebrooks and Katie Mihalik.

It was wonderful to catch up with so many of you last week at the President’s Holiday Reception, where more than 300 toys were collected for the less fortunate children in our community by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Your generosity is deeply appreciated.

Remember: CSU will close at the end of business on Friday, December 22, and reopen on Tuesday, January 2. Have an enjoyable and restful break, and here’s wishing the very happiest of holiday seasons to you and yours.


Ronald M. Berkman

Cleveland State University

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