Beverly Warren officially becomes Kent State’s 12th president

Beverly Warren speaks at her presidential inauguration ceremony, held in the M.A.C. Center on May 1, 2015.

Beverly Warren speaks at her presidential inauguration ceremony, held in the M.A.C. Center on May 1, 2015.

Christina Godfrey

Beverly Warren is now officially president of Kent State University.

At her inauguration ceremony Friday in the M.A.C. Center, Warren  told an audience of more than 750 about her plans for student excellence, diversity on campus and becoming one university with a shared vision.

Warren said these points are vital pillars for Kent State’s success in the future.

“I see them as essential elements we must visit, embrace and strengthen together as we move toward a bold future of influence and involvement,” Warren said. “Involvement that continues to benefit all of Northeast Ohio; makes a meaningful difference in the global communities we serve today; and that allows many more nations to know Kent State is an academic ally.”

Warren’s “compass points” have been a part of her main focus since her Listening Tour conclusion in February, but today’s speech marked a more substantial plan for the next coming years.

Dr. Beverly Warren inaugurated as Kent State’s 12th president from on Vimeo.

For her first point, Warren said the “students first philosophy…will require our continuing, laser-like focus on helping every student graduate, and graduate with the knowledge and spirit to lead in extremely challenging times.”

To further the students-first mentality, Warren said the university plans on:

  • Increase funding for financial aid and scholarships to have students graduate with less debt.
  • Extending a commitment to every type and level of student that they will start and end their college careers at Kent State “with a strong academic foundation.”
  • And expand the experiential-learning requirement to add support to study abroad programs and
  • Make more opportunities for freshmen through doctorate to participate in research study.

Ohio Senator John Eklund, who spoke before Bev’s speech, also highlighted the importance of student advancement at the college level, expressing his concerns of “brain drain” and how Ohio could be the state to successfully combat it.

“It’s a manifestation of perception that a place lacks opportunity, lacks a vision for the future and lacks the wealth of resources to execute on any vision,” Eklund said. “But Dr. (Warren), you coming here says a lot to me about where we are, where we’re going as a university, as a community and as a state.”

Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize winner and Kent State alumna, shared her personal experience when she was a Kent State student and said she was so taken by Warren’s enthusiasm, she was ready to move back to Kent.

“Earlier this week she was on a skateboard in her suit — she’s in heels, she’s on the campus, she sees a student with a skateboard and she just went for a ride,” Schultz said.

This is the kind of energy Warren said she will use to tackle every project and fuel her decisions as president to “always (seek) the highest ground.”

“I will approach my work with the dedication and the passion I see in Kent State faculty and staff members,” Warren said. “The energy and enthusiasm of Kent State students; the loyalty and pride of Kent State alumni; and the bold confidence of every black squirrel that ever raced across Summit Street.”

Perhaps the best people to sum up inauguration day were the students of Holden Elementary School’s Writer’s Club, who wrote a poem to commemorate the event.

“Hear our cheers welcoming you to your new home. You are the torch. We are your fire. Together we spark a new story.”

Contact Christina Godfrey at [email protected].