Reports: Presidential search totals to almost $200,000

Jimmy Miller

Kent State spent nearly $200,000 over the course of nine months to find its next president, Beverly Warren.

The university spent the bulk of the money on paying search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates to assist in finding presidential candidates. Food, banquet rental, travel and hotel stays made up the rest of the expenses, according to presidential search expense documents provided by Kent State’s legal department. Other expenses included flowers and Kent State apparel as welcoming gifts for the new president.

The Board of Trustees announced Warren as the 12th president of the university at a meeting Jan. 8. She was the only candidate whom the 17-member presidential search committee publically recommended to the board to be KSU’s next leader.

Expense reports revealed how much money the university spent and where it spent it while conducting the search.

Food Expenses

The university spent approximately $15,000 on food and banquet rental. Food expenses primarily came from banquet catering. On Nov. 18, 2013, records indicate the university spent $11,000 at Cleveland’s InterContinental Hotel on banquet hall rental and food.

The members of the search committee and other university officials associated with the presidential search spent $417 on alcohol charges during their stay at the hotel. According to records, the President’s Discretionary Account, composed of private donation money, reimbursed the expense.

The university also provided food at each of the search committee’s meetings. The committee conducted five meetings in Heer Hall, an administrative building across from the Ice Arena, with food and room costs totaling $1,485.

Travel Expenses

Because the committee did not want to reveal the names of any candidates they interviewed, travel expense documents do not indicate the names of those transported.

For example, the university paid Mogadore’s transportation company, Local Travel Solutions, Inc., $405.97 to transport unidentified passengers to and from Kent State’s College of Podiatric Medicine in Independence Dec. 4, the same day the Board of Trustees had a six-hour private executive session.

The university spent just under $6,000 in transportation expenses spread across a variety of dates. It spent $2,579.02 on Aug. 1 to bring in search consultants Shelly Storbeck and Julia Patton of search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates. Expense documents do not indicate the exact dates and where the women traveled.

Hotel Expenses

Records show the committee paid four hotels expenses worth a total of $7,300.

The largest expense came from the committee’s stay at Cleveland’s InterContinental Hotel Nov. 18. The university paid $6,600 for 16 people, consisting of search committee members and university officials,to stay at the hotel.

While the majority of this expenditure came from room charges, invoices noted mini-bar charges such as Diet Pepsi for music professor and search committee member, Thomas Janson, and Pringles and pistachios for anthropology professor Owen Lovejoy. Committee members also stayed the night for $6,000.

Another $115 charge came from the Kent State University Hotel and Conference Center, where Warren stayed the night after her presidential announcement.

Search Firm Expenses

Almost the entire price tag of the university’s expenses came from paying executive search firm Storbeck Pimentel & Associates more than $170,000 to help in finding KSU’s next president. 

Expense and contract documents indicate the university paid the firm two $57,500 installments, one on  July 1 and the other on Aug. 15. It paid another $46,000 on Sept. 18 as part of the firm’s contract with the university in July.

The university also reimbursed the firm Nov. 1 for $8,758 worth of advertising costs in higher education publications with Connecticut-based Graystone Group Advertising.


The committee also paid for miscellaneous items that came from December to January when the presidential committee was set to conclude the search process.

The committee paid for a $75 floral arrangement of hydrangeas Dec. 10 and a $90 custom gift basket from West Point Market on Jan. 7, the day before Warren was announced as KSU’s next president. It also paid $73 for Kent State apparel from the University Bookstore Jan. 9.

More details on the search have not been confirmed from the public records provided. Further investigations are in the process of determining who the committee interviewed for the position, why the committee met for a variety of banquets and where the university obtained the money to fund the search.

Contact Jimmy Miller at [email protected].