Remarks by President Sands at Introductory Reception




Thank you, Bernie, for that generous introduction, as well as for the incredible support you’ve shown me over the past few weeks.

I also want to thank you for your very generous gift to the University last week – I am really looking forward to helping advance the cause.


Let me also express my deepest appreciation to the Cleveland State University Board of Trustees for entrusting me with what is truly the opportunity of a lifetime.

Dan, David, Tom, David, June, Deborah, Stephen, Len, and our two students, Sierra and John – your collective passion made a huge impression on me and my family, and for that I am grateful.


Many thanks, too, to the Presidential Search Committee for creating a sense of excitement around this opportunity.


I am honored and humbled to serve as the next president of this great institution.

To all of YOU – the students, faculty, and staff of CSU – I look forward to becoming part of what you have created here.

I already have a strong sense of how special this place is, and what makes it special:

…the feeling you get when you walk through campus;

...the nationally recognized commitment to student success;

…the world-class faculty and staff who are “all in” when it comes to fulfilling CSU’s mission.


Forgive me if I am repeating one of President Berkman’s proudest lines: Some universities provide opportunity for upward mobility; some universities conduct impactful research; but very few universities excel at meeting BOTH of these objectives.

CSU is one of them – in fact, among the Top 20 in the nation and Number 1 in Ohio, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institution.

This is a place where lives are transformed and knowledge is expanded.

I can’t wait to be a part of it.


This will be a tough act to follow.

President Berkman has done a fantastic job establishing CSU as a best-in-class urban research university.

His leadership over the past nine years has generated forward momentum that has advanced CSU’s reputation, not just regionally but across the country.

I have seen the respect that President Berkman garners among his peers at the national level for his tireless advocacy of the importance of CSU’s mission in our changing world.

I want to thank President Berkman for his outstanding stewardship of this great institution.


In the coming days and months, I look forward to engaging our campus community as well as the broader community as we look forward – together.

Here is my commitment all of you, as well as the citizens of Ohio:

  1.  I will work for the CSU community. As a firm believer in the concept of servant leadership, I will do my best to learn about the needs of campus and use that “fuel” to forge a common vision to make us all successful.
  2.  I will work tirelessly on behalf of CSU’s students, faculty, and staff to help us collectively achieve common goals and perform at the highest possible levels.
  3.  I will set a high bar for integrity and mutual trust in everything we do.
  4.  I will commit to building upon CSU’s already strong reputation among our various stakeholders – including state, regional and local government; the Cleveland business community; alumni; and donors – so that supporting CSU in any way possible – whether it be time, money, or words of support – becomes as natural as breathing and eating.

Translating this commitment into deliverables that directly support organizational priorities is what I really enjoy.

In the words of Thomas Edison: Vision without execution is hallucination.

Building teams around core missions, putting talent in the right places, and creating environments where achieving difficult objectives is possible – that is what drives me, and that is what I look forward to doing at CSU.

I’m so excited – and ready to get started!


Let me also say a few things about coming to Cleveland.

From my first visit here almost 10 years ago, I have always been impressed with the city, its people, and its energy.

This is a remarkable city with a rich multicultural heritage, a proud history of innovation across multiple industries, and an enviable quality of life, complete with a variety of natural resources and cultural amenities that are second to none.

The success of CSU and Cleveland are inextricably linked together, and understanding how to best drive future growth of this region with talented graduates will be high on our list of objectives.


Over the course of my career, I’ve been privileged to serve at four other urban universities, and as far as I can see, the relationship between Cleveland State University and Cleveland is truly something special.

I pledge to do everything in my power to nurture this unique symbiosis.


Finally, I want to thank my wife of 17+ years, Lynn, and my boys, Samson and A.J.

Lynnie, it’s been quite a ride so far, and the best part is yet to come.

I know all of you will realize very quickly how special my family is when you get to meet them.

I am truly blessed.


So once again, thank you for the faith and confidence you have placed in me.

I can’t wait to become part of the Cleveland State University family.

Thank you.