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Kent State University Summary of Board Actions from Dec. 13

Posted Dec. 13, 2011

At its Dec. 13 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:

College of Podiatric Medicine

The Board of Trustees authorized President Lester A. Lefton to take the next step in merger discussions with the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine (OCPM), authorizing the signing of an exclusive letter of intent with the Independence-based institution. The agreement will allow the completion of appropriate due diligence and enable leaders at both institutions to move toward plans for implementation. According to the resolution, President Lefton will present a final plan for acquisition or merger of OCPM for review by the Board within six months.

OCPM was founded in 1916 and is the only accredited podiatry school in Ohio. It is also one of only eight fully accredited podiatry programs in the nation. This private, not-for-profit, four-year, graduate-level medical college has graduated more than 5,000 podiatrists, granting an average of 110 Doctorate of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degrees annually. The college is based at a 122,000 square-foot facility in Independence, Ohio, that houses state-of-the-art medical and technical labs and library facilities, a new computer and media center, renovated office space and an upgraded school dining facility.

Representatives from Kent State and OCPM have engaged in discussions over the past several months, exploring the potential benefits and feasibility of OCPM becoming part of Kent State University. For OCPM, a merger with a comprehensive research university is part of its strategic plan to take the podiatric school to the next level in teaching and research. For Kent State, a merger with the podiatric school would have strategic research and educational synergies with a wide array of university disciplines, especially those in health and the sciences.

“This is a great fit and opportunity for Kent State, and I am pleased that our discussions with the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine are progressing,” President Lefton said. “Our organizations, Ohio students and the state will benefit from expansion of STEM-related instruction and degree options.”

Kent State Appoints First National Trustee

In recognition of the fact that Kent State is widely considered a top American university (as reflected in its inclusion in the first tier of best national universities in the 2012 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges), the Board established the position of National Trustee in September 2010. Today, Trustees voted unanimously to appoint alumnus and successful entrepreneur Michael D. Solomon to the new position, effective immediately.

Since graduating with a Kent State business degree in 1974, Solomon has been highly successful in early-stage technology companies and emerging-growth companies as an entrepreneur, investor, senior manager and board member. He set up Apple Computer’s initial Midwest dealer network in the early 1980s; served as the original vice president of sales and marketing for Aldus Corporation, which launched the desktop publishing industry through its PageMaker software; and founded several high-tech startups including his latest company, XYZ Color Science, Inc., which seeks to revolutionize the way color is displayed on all types of display devices.

The business leader, who resides in California, has maintained strong ties to his alma mater. He endowed the Michael D. Solomon Entrepreneurship Speaker Series in 2001; earned the College of Business Administration’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2002; and has served as a member of the Kent State University Foundation Board of Directors since 2002.

National Trustees serve three-year terms. They must be non-Ohio residents who are Kent State graduates or friends of the university; have demonstrated professional success; have earned state, national or international prominence; have the ability to serve as advocates for higher education; and be willing and able to provide counsel to the university.

Solomon was nominated for the new role by Kent State President Lefton. The nomination was reviewed and endorsed by the Board’s Nominating Committee.

There will be a maximum of three National Trustees at any time. Trustees will not be paid, but may be compensated for reasonable necessary expenses related directly to the fulfillment of the National Trustee role. National Trustees will not vote on any matters considered by the university’s Board of Trustees or be eligible to serve as Board officers, but will participate in all Board activities and committees.

Aging Tri-Towers Residence Hall Complex to Undergo Renovation

The Board authorized a phased, major renovation of the Tri-Towers residence hall complex that will require Kent State to issue $30 million in tax-exempt, revenue bonds.

The Tri-Towers complex, which comprises Koonce, Leebrick and Wright halls, was built in 1968 and today houses 1,415 students. Recent internal and external studies of the university’s residence halls concluded that the complex needs a complete replacement or refurbishment in order to continue meeting student needs. The project approved by the Board includes the replacement of building automation controls, heating and air-conditioning systems, masonry pointing and caulking, window replacement, roof replacement, removal of existing flooring and concealed insulation, elevator replacements or upgrades, and replacement of all built-in furniture/partition wall systems with moveable furniture and acoustically insulated wall systems.

The Tri-Towers renovations will be completed during four, consecutive summers, with students occupying rooms during the academic year. Once bond funding for the project is secured, the first phase of construction will begin during the summer 2012 recess.

In other actions:

  • Despite difficult economic times, a reduction in state support and a cap on tuition increases, the Board has approved the university moving ahead with a 1.5-percent salary increase for non-represented classified and unclassified employees. The 1.5-percent increase for non-represented employees is recommended to maintain competiveness with comparable institutions in Northeast Ohio; position the university to recruit and retain talented employees; and to reward employees for their outstanding contributions toward the attainment of the university’s goals. Contract negotiations continue between the university and the Kent State Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP-KSU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
  • The Board named the court in Kent State Memorial Athletic Convocation Center (MAC Center) for donors Jason and Stacie Cope, whose $1-million gift to the university’s golf and basketball programs will support a variety of operational and capital needs. The Cope Court is the site of many Golden Flash athletic events, including men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, wrestling and gymnastics, as well as the site of a variety of university and community events. Jason Cope is a 1995 Kent State graduate and a member of the university’s National Athletic Development Council. He and his wife co-own Copeland Group LLC, which comprises several golf courses in Ohio.
  • Ohio and the nation have an urgent and growing need for college-educated problem solvers who can support the engineering process. A new major in engineering technology, which was established by the Board of Trustees today and will be offered within the bachelor of science degree at Kent State University at Tuscarawas next fall, will help fill that growing need.

    The new degree program will focus on the applied aspects of science and engineering, preparing graduates for practice in areas related to product improvement, manufacturing, construction and engineering operational functions. Students will be able to choose from five concentrations: computer design; animation and game design; electrical/electronics; green and alternative energy; manufacturing/mechanical/systems; and 2+2 integrated engineering technology. The program and the growing field of engineering technology will be promoted as a clear degree pathway and professional next step for technical associate degree holders, and as a promising career option for high school students and career center “tech prep” students.

    The new major was reviewed and approved by the faculty in Kent State’s Regional College and College of Technology, the Kent State University at Tuscarawas Faculty Council, the university’s Educational Policies Council, and the Faculty Senate. It also was reviewed and endorsed by the president and provost.
  • The Board established the fashion design major within the bachelor of fine arts degree. The major has been offered within the bachelor of arts degree since 1982. The change will allow greater flexibility in the design curriculum to respond to changes in technology, career specialization and supply-chain innovations in fashion.
  • The Board changed the name of the undergraduate news major in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to journalism, reflecting the breadth of the field.
  • The Board granted emeritus status to the following recently retired faculty members: Dr. Barbara K. Andreas, professor of biological sciences; Dr. Steven Brown, professor of political science; Dr. Ronald J. Corthell, chairperson and professor of English; Betty D. Freund, lecturer, College of Nursing; Dr/ Edwin S. Gould (deceased), professor of chemistry and biochemistry; Francis G. Graham, assistant professor of physics, Kent State University at East Liverpool; Dr. Carol S. Maier, professor of modern and classical language studies; Mary Constance Stopper, associate professor, College of Nursing; Glenn N. Thomas, associate professor of management and information systems; and Dr. Lowell S. Zurbuch, associate professor, College of Technology. Emeritus status is a distinguished title that honors a faculty member’s contributions by allowing him or her continued access to university resources after retirement from the university.
  • The Board authorized a $1.91-million project to replace the heating system in Allyn Hall, a residence hall built in 1963 as part of the Eastway residential complex. The renovation will, in part, provide individual room air-conditioning units. Residence Services capital-replacement reserve funds will be used for the project, which is scheduled for completion during the summer 2012 recess.
  • The Board authorized improvements to the Schwebel Garden Room restaurant in the Kent Campus Student Center by Sodexo Management, Incorporated, which holds a long-term contract to manage food-service operations on the campus. Sodexo funds totaling $3.3 million will be used for the project, which will include renovations using sustainable products and an expansion onto the existing exterior balcony overlooking Risman Plaza. Construction is scheduled to begin during the 2012 summer recess.
  • The Board authorized a $3-million project to renovate 10,000 square feet on the third floor of the University Library to provide much-needed space for instruction and research by faculty and students affiliated with the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). SLIS has set aside $3 million from its accumulated fund balance for the project, which is scheduled to be completed by the start of fall semester 2013. SLIS is recognized widely as one of the nation’s top schools for graduate education in library and information, and youth librarianship.
  • The Board authorized the purchase of the following properties that are adjacent to the planned University Esplanade extension in the City of Kent:
    • 209 S. Willow St., at the appraised value of $570,000, from MCP Willow 209 LLC;
    • 210 S. Willow St., at the appraised value of $400,000 from George and Patricia Waliga, Trustees; and
    • 208 S. Lincoln St., at the appraised value of $450,000, from Jay and Margie Waliga.

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Media Contacts:
Tom Neumann,, 330-672-8533
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595