Warren’s visit progresses presidential transition

Kent State president-elect Beverly Warren meets with student media Thursday evening, Feb. 27, 2014, on the third floor of the student center, discussing her day spent visiting campus as well as some details about plans for the future.

Jimmy Miller

President-elect Beverly Warren described her third visit to the Kent State main campus on Thursday as “prescribed time.” Warren, who in a “jam-packed” day met with a variety of administrative, faculty and student organizations, said she still wanted to do more.

“I’d like to walk around and get a feel for the campus,” Warren said during a 45-minute interview with student media. “I want more of an opportunity for free-flow visitation.”

Warren spent almost all of her one-day visit in private meetings in the University Library and Student Center. She made two public appearances — one five-minute appearance in the lobby of the library and a longer meet-and-greet with students at Blackstone Launchpad and the Student Multicultural Center.

Warren said she started with breakfast and lunch with members of the Board of Trustees. She then met with members of the president’s cabinet, including Gregory Jarvie, vice president of enrollment management and student affairs, and Iris Harvey, vice president of university relations.

She continued her campus engagement escorted by Michael Allen, chair of Graduate Student Senate, to meet with students in the library.


Kent State president-elect Beverly Warren recieves a Kent State t-shirt after speaking with members of student media, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2014. Warren spent the day visiting the city of Kent and Kent State’s campus. Photo by Melanie Nesteruk.

Warren’s brief appearance in the library lobby left an impression on Jazmyn Fowler, a freshman zoology major.

“[Warren is] really relatable,” she said. “She has that personality that really clicks with people.”

Fowler said the next president, who frequently talks about building relationships with students, asked about the students’ majors as well as what their plans were upon graduation.

Her afternoon continued with meetings with Human Resources and Faculty Senate.

Thomas Janson, Faculty Senate member, said Warren entertained about 40 Faculty Senate in a meet-and-greet for about an hour before being escorted to her next scheduled event. The Senate will meet with Warren again in July to further discuss academic issues.

“I must say that I was pleased that so many faculty senators were able to meet her today,” Faculty Senator and search committee member Thomas Janson said about Warren’s first Faculty Senate event.

Before meeting with student media at 6:15 p.m., Warren visited the student multicultural center where encouraged an open dialogue with students of the Oscar Ritchie Scholars Guild.


Kent State president-elect Beverly Warren talks with student leaders and scholars in the Multicultural Center, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2014. Warren spent the day visiting the city of Kent and Kent State’s campus. Photo by Chelsae Ketchum.

“Her presence is incredible,” said Keith Wisdom, director of the student multicultural center. “Meeting her she, made it a point [that] even though she was moving, she said she wants to come back and sit and talk with us.”

Warren said she intends to come to the university approximately once a month, but must continue to balance visitations with her work — which include two visits to a satellite campus in Qatar — as Provost at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Her term as president becomes official in July, when current president Lester Lefton leaves office.

“I’m delighted to be coming [to Kent],” Warren said. “I am a very, very happy provost at VCU. It makes you think about the decision. I wasn’t hesitant [to accept the presidency] as much as I wanted to reflect.”

Because she said she is still learning more about the university, Warren would not discuss specific issues — such as the credit-hour cap, which imposes a fee on students taking more than 16 credit hours, and whether she would buy up more land to expand the university.

But the president-elect said student leaders have already expressed concerns, such as problems with advising and building more morale and unification on campus.

Warren said such work with students is something she told the Board of Trustees and the search committee that she wanted to make a top priority.

“I’m still exploring [student collaboration],” Warren said, adding she is looking into social media opportunities such as Twitter or Instagram.

Warren also mentioned a desire to make the campus environment generally healthier and more active. A known runner and exercise enthusiast, Warren said she does not have any specific plans to promote healthy activity or dining just yet.

“I want to make activity the easy option and to make healthy eating the easy and the fun option,” Warren said.

Warren will meet with Lefton on Friday before returning to VCU.

“I’m still learning a lot about simply the nuts and bolts,” Warren said. “What I have learned is that Kent State is made up of wonderful people.”

Video by Rachel Smeaton.

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].

Chelsey Milkovich and Madeleine Winer contributed to reporting.