In the nine years that Robert H. Rawson Jr. served on the Board of Trustees of Cleveland State University, freshman enrollment doubled; fundraising increased substantially; student-success initiatives received national media attention; a new honors college was established; six new buildings were constructed on campus; research spending rose at the highest rate in the country; and community partnerships increased in number and quality in the arts, healthcare, engineering, education and other areas.
“CSU is providing a new generation of students with a high quality educational experience while playing a vital role in the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Cleveland,” Rawson said. “I am very proud and honored to have been a part of this advancement, but the true credit for this success lies with CSU’s leadership, including current President Ronald M. Berkman, former President Michael Schwartz and my fellow Board of Trustees members.”
“Bob has been an invaluable partner to me and has been instrumental in making CSU the outstanding university that it is today,” said Berkman.
Rawson was appointed to the CSU Board in 2007 by then-Governor Ted Strickland for a term ending May 1, 2016. He served as treasurer; chair of the financial affairs, audit and facilities committee; and three years as vice chairman of the board and chair of the academic affairs committee. In June 2011, he was elected chairman of the board and served five consecutive terms. He is being succeeded as chairman by Bernardo “Bernie” F. Moreno, president of Bernie Moreno Companies, which owns 31 car dealerships in four states.
Rawson and his wife, former Shaker Heights, Ohio, Mayor Judith Rawson, are expressing their ongoing commitment to CSU and its academic mission with a $500,000 gift to the university. The couple’s donation will fund the construction of the Law Learning Commons in CSU’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
“We are enormously grateful to Bob and Judy for their generous commitment to current and future CSU students,” added Berkman. “Their gift is a valued vote of confidence in the future of this university.”
The Rawsons’ commitment counts toward Engage: The Campaign for Cleveland State University, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign. Announced in 2015, Engage seeks to raise $100 million for scholarships, programs and campus improvements that help students succeed.
Apart from his CSU service, Rawson is a successful attorney who served 15 years as partner-in-charge of the Cleveland office of Jones Day. He also served for 20 years on the board of his alma mater, Princeton University, including 13 years as chair of its executive committee.
Judith Rawson, a former assistant director of law for the City of Cleveland, served the City of Shaker Heights for 21 years, first as a city council member, then as mayor for two terms. She also was a key leader of the successful effort to reform Cuyahoga County Government.
CSU awarded Robert Rawson an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at its Spring Commencement ceremony on May 14, where he served as the afternoon commencement speaker. In honor of their civic commitments, Robert and Judith Rawson were honored by CSU's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs as the 2009 recipients of the In Tribute to the Public Service Award.