On her first day, Warren reaches out to community


Kent State University’s new President Beverly Warren shakes hands with Chief Michelle A. Lee on the Esplanade on July 1, 2014.

Emily Mills

Kent State’s 12th president began her term Tuesday, and after waiting six months since the announcement, she was excited to meet with students, colleagues and community leaders.

 “I’ve been waiting for so long,” Beverly Warren said in a meeting with student media Tuesday morning. “I think all of you know, Jan. 8 was the announcement, so from Jan. 8 to July 1 has felt like a very, very long journey. To finally be here on July 1, starting as your president feels great.”

Warren, 65, succeeds outgoing president Lester Lefton, who has been the head of the university since July 2006. Lefton’s original contract was effective through June 30, 2011, and was extended to June 30, 2014.

Lefton plans to start LeftonGroup, a higher-education consulting firm, in his retirement.

Warren’s three-year contract, which she signed on Jan. 8, gives her the presidential house, located at 1501 Elizabeth Court; a car and a $1,500 a month automobile allowance; 30 days paid vacation; and a base salary of $450,000, which is $40,000 more than Lefton received, according to a previously published KentWired article.

She is eligible to earn an additional $75,000 per year in bonuses.

To better connect with students, Warren launched her own Twitter account, @PresBWarren, on Tuesday morning.

Warren’s schedule for her first few days as president is full of meetings with her faculty, staff and community members and community appearances.

University Spokesperson Eric Mansfield said she will spend most of the day Wednesday in meetings.

Warren will participate in a Fourth of July parade on Friday. After the parade, she is hosting a picnic for international students at 1:30 p.m. at Tri Towers to celebrate the holiday.

She will attend a Cleveland Indians game on Sunday.

After becoming acclimated to the university, the new president plans to make several stops on her Presidential Listening Tour over the next seven months.

The tour will include stops in Akron, Orlando, Los Angeles, Chicago and Cleveland and starts Tuesday at the Ashtabula regional campus.

In the controversial private search conducted by Pennsylvania-based higher education search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates to find the university’s next president, Warren was not among the 21 candidates in a document released by Kent State’s legal department in response to a public records request at the end of the search.

The Daily Kent Stater received the documents on Dec. 6 after submitting the request on Oct. 9, according to a previously published article.

According to a biography on Kent State’s website, Warren served as provost and senior vice president at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2011. She started at VCU in 2000 as a professor and head of the School of Education’s Division of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, and then became the dean of the School of Education. She has also held positions at Smith College in Massachusetts, Auburn University in Alabama, Appalachian State University in North Carolina and Lander University in South Carolina.

Warren, who grew up in North Carolina, earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master of Science from Southern Illinois University. She has an Ed.D. in administration of higher education from the University of Alabama and a Ph.D. in exercise physiology from Auburn University, according to the biography.

The Board of Trustees is also recommending Warren for appointment as a full-time tenured professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Services.

Emily Mills is the principal reporter for KentWired.com. Contact Emily at [email protected].