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“This is one of the most amazing things that could ever happen to a city. In a small town like this, it might only happen once every 100 years. I have to admit I’ve never seen anything like this.”
- Howard Boyle, Hometown Bank

Foundations of Excellence - Building the Future


The Visionaries

Lester A. Lefton
Dave Ruller
Lester A. Lefton

Kent State University President

Dr. Lester A. Lefton became Kent State University's 11th president in July 2006. As Kent State president and chief executive officer, Dr. Lefton oversees one of the nation's largest university systems. Kent State's eight campuses provide more than 280 academic programs to nearly 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students from throughout Ohio and the nation, and from more than 100 countries. One of the largest employers in Northeast Ohio, the university employs more than 5,000 full- and part-time faculty and staff.

Prior to coming to Kent State, Dr. Lefton was senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Tulane University, dean of George Washington University's College of Arts and Sciences, and dean of the University of South Carolina's College of Liberal Arts.

Dr. Lefton is respected internationally for his scholarship in the field of experimental psychology.  An authority on visual attention and memory, his research has been supported with numerous federal grants and has been published widely in scholarly journals. He was elected a fellow of the American Psychological Association, an honor that recognizes his impact on the field of psychology.

Read more on the president's biography page.

Dave Ruller

Kent City Manager

Dave Ruller has been Kent’s City Manager for seven years, arriving in Kent in June 2005. Ruller brought to Kent 16 years of local government experience – 11 years in Alexandria, Va. (population 125,000) and five years in Kingsport, Tenn. (population 45,000).

Ruller is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hobart College and he holds a masters degree in administration from Alfred University. Ruller is also a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute (SEI).

Ruller has four years experience in Malcolm Baldrige Quality Assessment training and he has been a featured speaker at national and international conferences on the deployment of quality practices to produce high performance in public sector organizations.

Ruller has been recognized by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), Chamber of Commerce, Jaycees, and the cities of Alexandria and Kingsport for leadership excellence. Ruller is a former chapter president for the American Public Works Association (APWA), a former board member of Keep America Beautiful and he is currently a member of Rotary International.

Ruller is a competitive mountain bike racer and avid outdoors enthusiast.


Media Note:
Members of the media who are interested in scheduling an interview with Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton or Kent City Manager Dave Ruller can contact Eric Mansfield ( or 330-672-2797) or Emily Vincent ( or 330-672-8595).