I welcome you to Cleveland State University at the most exciting and challenging time in our comparatively young history.
As CSU’s new president, I came here to continue the growth and evolution of this expanding university – increasing its academic quality and reputation, building up research and philanthropy, growing and modernizing the physical campus, and playing a leadership role in the economic recovery of the city and the region. We are an urban university poised to have a transformational effect on the social, economic, cultural, and political life of the city, the region, and the state and most importantly, on the personal lives of thousands of students.
Urban affairs is in my blood. I love cities, and I love the energy that radiates from being part of the city. That is what has drawn me to Cleveland. I look forward to CSU being a major player in driving the renewal of the city’s urban core and collaborating with the area’s health care powerhouses and our corporate-industrial, community, civic, and cultural partners. The fate of the nation is inextricably linked to the fate of its cities, and both are dependent on educated citizens and workers.
Cleveland is a diverse and rich learning laboratory. It is a major health care and biomedical center with diversified industrial, service, and cultural sectors. The goal of engaged learning is to build bridges between the University and the city that will provide environments for students to apply and expand what they are learning in classrooms and laboratories.
The future of Cleveland State University is bright and focused. Responding to the Ohio Board of Regents’ 10-year Strategic Plan for Higher Education and the establishment of the University System of Ohio, we have adopted centers of excellence that capitalize on our unique strengths and will shape our future and the future of this region.
With Cleveland among the finest and most advanced medical regions in the world with the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, we expect a significant expansion of our collaborative research, teaching, and training programs with these institutions. Our nursing and allied health programs are expanding to produce the work force needed to sustain the continued growth of the health care sector in Cleveland and to ensure excellent care for Northeast Ohio citizens. And we continue to make exciting advancements leading to the diagnosis and treatment of many of the most common diseases found around the world, including cardiovascular disease, neurological disease, infectious disease, and cancer. The Colleges of Business and Engineering are partners in our research and training in health care and life sciences.
We take pride in the breadth and depth of our expertise and experience in sustainable communities. Our Center for the Next Generation Economy fosters a competitive economic climate in the state by improving entrepreneurship and business development, and strengthening the connections between business strategy and management and the economics of regional development.
And year by year, we are becoming a more research-focused institution. Expanding the research dollars our university attracts will bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the community along with the advances and prestige associated with successful research. As an added bonus, there is no doubt that a successful research program is a strong attraction for new distinguished faculty members, who typically are catalysts for their own research dollars.
The higher education marketplace is highly competitive, and students in Northeast Ohio in particular have a wealth of opportunities and choices. One of our highest priorities must continue to be the recruitment of more and better students and fund raising from every sector. At CSU, the majority of our students are dependent on financial aid. We are the only mobility engine for many of them who would not otherwise have a chance to go to college. These deserving students desperately need our help. And beyond that, the state desperately needs these students to be able to remain in college, get their degrees, and get to work in Ohio, helping to make it economically vibrant again.
We have historically done a fine job at the fundamental mission of providing students a quality education and preparing future leaders. Cleveland and Northeast Ohio abound in business, civic, and judicial leaders who are Cleveland State alumni. We will make sure that we never lose sight of our mission as an urban institution to produce the talent and the employees that form the backbone of the region’s economy.
I have spent my entire professional life preparing for this opportunity to lead Cleveland State University. I encourage you to experience with me the CSU of today, with all of its fine buildings, exceptional academic programs, competitive NCAA athletics, and campus life in the heart of a major metropolitan area. More than 100,000 alumni, 300-plus corporate partners and supporters, 550 of the finest faculty, and 16,400 students cannot be wrong - Cleveland State is a very special University and I am proud to be a part of it.
Ronald M. Berkman