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Kent State University Summary of Board Actions from Sept. 14

Posted Sep. 15, 2011

At its Sept. 14 meeting, the Kent State University Board of Trustees took action on the following items:

Approval of FY 2012 University Budget

The Board approved a balanced operating budget that reflects Kent State University’s record enrollment and continues a university-wide commitment to academic excellence and student success. The budget, which totals $574.1 million ($574,165,859) for Kent State’s eight-campus system, spans fiscal year 2011-12 (July 1, 2011–June 30, 2012). Because the state’s fiscal year 2012 appropriation for higher education was not finalized when the Board met last June, Trustees enacted a continuation operating budget that took effect July 1, 2011, and ends with the Sept. 14 action.

Priorities identified for the new budget are investments in academic programs and new faulty; student scholarships; library collections; international programs; and facility costs associated with the Twinsburg Academic Center that is under construction. A 1-percent salary increase pool was reserved for employees.

The budget reflects a 13.1 percent decrease in state funding for fiscal year 2012. Trustees noted that in anticipation of decreased state funding, Kent State identified and enacted efficiencies and cost savings in a number of areas and was able to reallocate savings from its early-separation program. Despite these cost savings, the university had to enact a 3.5 percent tuition increase to help offset the state funding cut as well as increases in health insurance costs for full-time employees and increased costs for software licenses and maintenance agreements.

Kent State Fashion School Designated Ohio Center of Excellence

The Board joined Ohio Board of Regents Jim Petro at a press conference to announce the selection of Kent State’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising as an Ohio Center of Excellence in Cultural and Societal Transformation. The designation recognizes programs that are making a significant impact on the study of the human condition as they contribute to the social and economic prosperity of individuals and communities. Kent State’s Fashion School is ranked as the third best fashion school in the nation and 13th in the world. For details visit

In other actions:

  • The Board received a comprehensive report about Kent State’s record enrollment for the current semester following the release of official 15-day enrollment statistics yesterday. The report included the achievement of the largest freshman class in university history; a 35-percent increase in international student enrollment; a 6.45-percent increase in student diversity; and a 3.09-percent increase in graduate student enrollment. The full fall enrollment report is available at
  • The Board revised the name of the College of Technology to the College of Applied Engineering, Sustainability and Technology, effective summer 2012. The change reflects the creation of the college’s applied engineering major; its growing focus on sustainability, including two certificate programs; and the development of a minor in innovation, which incorporates sustainability, applied engineering and technology.
  • The Board passed a resolution of appreciation acknowledging the accomplishments and contributions of Ravenna native Robert “Yank” Heisler, who will complete his term as dean of Kent State’s College of Business Administration on Oct. 1, 2011. Heisler, who holds a master of business administration degree from Kent State, was lauded for his many contributions to the College of Business, which include “supporting growth of its foci on entrepreneurship, enhancing linkages with the business community and ensuring the quality and relevance of its academic programs, reflected in its designation as one of the best business schools in the nation by The Princeton Review.”
  • The Board appointed Dr. Paul L. Gaston to a second and final five-year term as Trustees Professor, effective July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2017. The appointment recognizes his service as provost from 1999-2007 and his outstanding scholarship in higher education, public policy and the humanities.
  • The Board granted emeritus status to the following recently retired faculty members: Dr. Robert E. Carlson professor of biological sciences; James E. Dalton, professor of architecture and environmental design; Edward J. Murray, psychology, Kent State University at Ashtabula; Dr. Michael A. Pearson, accounting; Carol A. Puthoff-Murray, Regional College, Kent State University at Ashtabula; and Joseph M. Zingaro, English, Kent State University at Ashtabula. 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 $1.435 million project to restore the deteriorating roof, masonry, windows and door systems of the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center (MACC), which was constructed in 1950 and last underwent various renovations in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The project is scheduled for completion during the summer 2012 recess.
  • The Board authorized the use of $1.7 million in state capital funds for a project to upgrade the power plant and cooling tower that serves the university’s flagship Kent Campus. The upgrades will maximize the plant’s chilled water production capabilities and meet growing campus cooling demands.
  • In keeping with Kent State’s commitment to sustainability, the Board authorized a $1.7 million renewable energy project at the Kent Campus Field House that will yield significant savings in power production through the installation of solar photovoltaic panels on the facility’s roof. The project will take advantage of federal and electric utility provider incentive programs and is expected to be self-funded within 15 years through low-cost financing through the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and a third-party developer.
  • The Board authorized the expenditure of utility infrastructure replacement funds totaling $1.625 million to replace a gas turbine engine at the power plant on the Kent Campus with a rebuilt engine. The engine, which produces steam that is used to heat and cool campus buildings, has operated for more than 25,000 hours and has come to the end of its lifespan.
  • The Board authorized a $2 million ($2,040,000) project to restore the aging masonry and roof on the Kent Student Center on the Kent Campus, as well as other exterior ceiling, soffit and glazing systems. The project to restore the exterior of the 39-year-old facility is scheduled for completion during the summer 2012 recess.
  • The Board authorized the senior vice president for Finance and Administration to restructure or refinance the 2008B Series bond issue when market conditions are favorable. The bond issue, which has a principal value of $60 million, was issued to finance a number of small campus maintenance and renovation projects.
  • The Board authorized the purchase of the following properties in the city of Kent:
    • Property located alongside the State Route 261 corridor adjacent to the university’s baseball diamond and owned by the Gaffey family was purchased for $22,500.
    • Properties owned by Dorothy V. Meyer and located at 428-430 E. College Ave. were purchased for their appraised value of $230,000, with an option to buy Meyer’s property at 308 S. Lincoln St. for $200,000.
    • Seven parcels surrounding the Kent State University Esplanade were purchased from individual and corporate owners for a total of $2.218 million. The purchases will position the university for future expansions and enhancements. The properties are: 408 E. Main St. and 424 E. Main St., purchased from Christopher and Deborah Smeiles for $375,000 and $610,000, respectively; 116 S. Lincoln St., purchased from Kent Campus Rentals, LLC for $338,500; 129 S. Willow St., 117 S. Willow St. and 123 S. Willow St., purchased from Kent Willow Street Rentals, LLC for $259,000, $150,000 and $145,000, respectively; and 402 E. Main St., purchased from RHS Development, Inc. for $367,000.
  • The Board elected its officers for fiscal year 2011-2012. Jacqueline F. Woods was elected to a second term as Board chairperson; Jane Murphy Timken was elected to a second term as Board vice chair; and Dennis Eckart was elected to a second term as Board secretary.

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