Our View: Goodbye Lefton

DKS Editors

After nearly seven years at Kent State, President Lester Lefton announced Wednesday he plans to retire when his contract expires in July 2014. This announcement, distributed to students and faculty via email, came as a bit of a surprise.

Like any public figure, Lefton has met his fair share of critics — including us, at times — and many see him as nothing more than a man who receives hefty bonuses for sending weekly emails to the student body.

But, as is standard for positions of authority, positive achievements are often overlooked. We must not forget Lefton’s contributions to our university, many of which he is still actively pursuing as he finishes his last year as president. His active involvement in the revitalization of downtown Kent cannot be ignored, nor can the record student enrollment under his leadership. Additionally, this year, the university has increased its graduation rate by 13 percent. Lefton has brought in millions of fundraising dollars for the university, a percentage of which go toward student scholarships, and he has been instrumental in the renovation of our campus. While not everyone may like him, it’s clear the impact of Lefton’s presidency will leave its mark at Kent State for years to come.

Lefton’s retirement now opens the door for new candidates, and we hope whoever fills the position strives to make positive changes to our place of higher education. We think it’s important for students to question members of authority and challenge those issues that seem unfair, and we hope whoever is elected as the new president of Kent State really listens to students and addresses our concerns.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.