Remarks by President Ronald M. Berkman at Radiance



Our students work incredibly hard, juggling academics with jobs and family responsibilities, and often they come so close to their goal of earning a college degree, only to come up short those last few dollars needed for tuition or books or lab fees.

So we started Radiance -- to increase the scholarship funds we have available … reward students who are working hard and achieving academically …. ease the financial burden on them and their families … keep them in school and on track to graduation … and help them achieve their dreams.

We’ve succeeded far beyond our hopes. Over the past five years, Radiance has raised $3.7 million, providing scholarships to more than 1,186 students. Tonight’s $1 million-plus will boost those scholarships significantly.

For our Radiance Scholars and their families, these scholarships are more than just dollars. They are truly life-changing, allowing students to achieve their goal of graduating from college.

So on this eve of graduation, thank you.


Radiance is part of our commencement weekend celebration. Tomorrow, in two ceremonies, some 2,200 students will graduate.

They have been taught by the best – our esteemed faculty – whose talent, dedication and commitment have helped our students reach this milestone.

Two outstanding students are representing the Class of 2016 as Valedictorians -- Claudine Campos Lacdao, Bachelor of Chemical Engineering, who is graduating with a 3.93 cumulative GPA, and Lana Erin Sims, Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and International Relations, who is graduating with a 3.99 cumulative GPA. Claudine is with us tonight, please stand.

Tomorrow we also will be awarding two honorary degrees.

Norm Krumholz is a Senior Fellow and Professor Emeritus in our Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. His name is synonymous with urban planning and he is respected worldwide. The city of Cleveland would not be what it is today with him. We will award him a Distinguished Emeritus Faculty honorary degree. Norm, please stand and be recognized.

This month, Bob Rawson will complete nine years on our Board of Trustees, including the past five years as chairman. He also served for 20 years on the board of his alma mater, Princeton University, including 13 years as chair. He was partner-in-charge of the Cleveland office of Jones Day for 15 years and continues today as partner. Bob has been an invaluable partner to me and has been instrumental in making CSU the outstanding university that it is today. We will award him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Bob, please stand and be recognized.

In addition, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree will be presented to Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, at our College of Law commencement on Sunday.


Tomorrow’s commencement ceremonies mark the close of another academic year. And what a year it’s been.

There’s an insert in your program book highlighting just some of our milestones and achievements. And we’ll be here all night if I mention all the reasons we’re so proud. So let me point out just a few.

We were again named among the best universities and colleges in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

In recognition of the progress we have made with retention and graduation rates, CSU won the Excellence and Innovation Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Our student success initiatives also have caught the attention of CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and others.

CSU earned the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, bestowed on fewer than 400 institutions for exceptional connectivity with the community.

The University is number 1 in the nation for greatest increase in federal research spending, up 684 percent, and for greatest increase in total research spending, up 298 percent, according to the National Science Foundation.

We opened our Center for Innovation in Medical Professions -- a state-of-the-art facility housing our NEOMED-CSU Partnership for Urban Health, which is training primary care physicians to work in urban areas.

We also opened our Medical Mutual Tennis Pavilion – the only on-campus, indoor facility in the Horizon League and the only indoor tennis facility in downtown Cleveland.

We are slated to receive $7.5 million from the state of Ohio to build a School of Film, Television and Interactive Media. It will be the only dedicated school of its kind in Ohio and one of the few between the East Coast and West Coast.

For these and so many other reasons, I hope you are proud to be a CSU partner.


And now, it is time to award the President’s Medal -- Cleveland State’s most prestigious non-academic recognition.

Steve Minter has had a profound effect on Northeast Ohio, the nation and CSU.

A tireless and inspirational leader who truly cares about others, Steve left his indelible mark as Director of the Cuyahoga County Welfare Department, first Under Secretary for the U.S. Department of Education, and Commissioner of Public Welfare for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

In 28 years with the Cleveland Foundation, including 19 years as President and Executive Director, he guided engagement and grant-making that impacted public education, jobs, housing, health care, neighborhood development, and the arts.

After he retired, CSU was lucky to scoop him up. Steve has been an Executive-in-Residence at CSU since 2003, and he been invaluable.

As an advisor and facilitator, he has helped shape academic programs and community partnerships that are at the heart of engaged learning.

As Interim Vice President for University Advancement/Interim Executive Director of the CSU Foundation, Steve was instrumental in reshaping the Foundation Board and expanding its membership to the A-class directors who define it today.

And as a faculty member and Fellow in our Center for Nonprofit Policy and Practice, he has shaped policy and students’ futures.

He has been a member of our Foundation Board of Directors for five years, including two years as Chair, and now serves on the leadership cabinet for ENGAGE: The Campaign for Cleveland State University.

He and his wife, Dolly, also are generous philanthropists who established an endowment fund in the Levin College.

And last but certainly not least, he worked closely with Tom Adler and Tim Cosgrove to initiate Radiance and has been instrumental in its success.

Steve has set an example of civic engagement that few can match. Cleveland State University and Cleveland itself would not be the same without him.

Steve, please join me onstage.

In recognition of your professional and personal achievements and your support, commitment and leadership to Cleveland and Cleveland State University, we are pleased to award you the President’s Medal. Congratulations!