Remarks by President Ronald M. Berkman at Distinguished Alumni Awards



Welcome, everyone, to Cleveland State and our 26th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards celebration. By evening’s end, 202 outstanding graduates will have been honored with this award. As we approach this fall’s commencement, we will likely have graduated approximately 125,000 students in just over 50 years. Imagine the contributions they have made to Northeast Ohio and their professions.

Tonight we honor 10 men and women who bring tremendous distinction to the university as business, nonprofit, and community leaders and public servants.

Through their career achievements and engagement with the university and the community, these alumni have set a standard to which our students and fellow alumni can aspire. They represent the life-changing impact of a Cleveland State University education. Congratulations to them all.

Before I go further, I want to recognize the CSU Trustees and Foundation Board members who are here tonight. Please stand.

I also want to recognize our Alumni Association and its Board of Directors who sponsor this event and work so hard to make it successful.

For 52 years, Cleveland State University has provided an exceptional and accessible education to the people of Cleveland and northeast Ohio. Today, the University is nationally and internationally recognized for providing students with a world-class education and a clear pathway to a career.

Our commitment to our students has never been stronger.  Our University -- your University -- is thriving.

Enrollment, retention and graduation rates are climbing. This fall, we welcomed more than 1,900 first-year students to campus, the largest-ever freshman class in our history. And from day one, we are focused on guiding them to career success.

CSU is bridging the gap between classroom and career through more than 3,000 student internships, co-op experiences and clinical placements facilitated by our downtown location and community partnerships. And we continue to receive national recognition for our achievements.

For 2016 and 2017 CSU was again named among the best universities and colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.  And our graduate programs also are ranked highly, including our Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, which rose 21 spots, placing it 106th among more than 200 law schools in the country. This marks the highest U.S. News & World Report ranking in the school’s history.

In addition, we have been recognized by CNN, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and other national media for our institution-wide efforts to help students graduate on time and prepared for a rewarding career.

Last year, CSU was the recipient of the National Innovation award presented to a member institution of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.  This year, CSU is one of four finalists for the national innovation award from Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) – an organization with a membership of 237 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations.  The winner will be announced at the APLU National meeting in November, generally attended by 2,500 educators.

CSU is an engaged university, fully interwoven in the business, civic and cultural tapestry of Cleveland. This engagement is demonstrated by strong and unique partnerships that enable us to work with others, sharing our assets to create new approaches and solutions to challenges facing our community and creating bridges for our students and faculty to connect to this great city.

Our new Center for Innovation in Medical Professions was built to foster interdisciplinary health-care education: social workers, occupational therapists, primary-care physicians and others, all learning and working together.

CIMP is the headquarters of our NEOMED/CSU Partnership for Urban Health – one of the few programs of its kind in the nation to train primary care physicians with the skills to work with urban populations.

Directly across Euclid Avenue from CIMP our Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Honors College is providing an outstanding learning environment for our honors students

A block away, we’re constructing a K-8 building for our Campus International School, our hugely successful collaboration with the Cleveland Metropolitan Schools. And a few doors down, we’re ready to break ground on a new state-of-the-art building for our Washkewicz College of Engineering.

Complementing the teaching and learning taking place across campus is the groundbreaking research being conducted by our faculty. CSU ranks #1 in the country for both greatest increase in federal research dollars spent and greatest increase in total research spending.

In short, Cleveland State is providing a pathway for young intellectual capital in Cleveland to learn, grow and thrive. And these students will our distinguished alumni of tomorrow.

Thanks to all of you, and especially tonight’s honorees, for your support and for helping to make CSU the great university that it is.