Vice president leaving KSU after semester

Jackie Valley

David Creamer, senior vice president for administration, called Friday a day of “lots of emotions” following the announcement of his acceptance of a similar position at Miami University in Oxford.

Effective June 1, Creamer will assume the role of Miami’s vice president for finance and business services and treasurer.

“I’m probably more down right now than I am up,” he said.

Creamer said his decision to leave is not a negative toward Kent State. Many elements contributed to his decision to accept the position, including the opportunity to try something new at this stage in his career.

“There’s a certain excitement that comes from doing something new,” he said. “I’m later in my career than earlier in my career.”

Creamer, who said a firm conducting the candidate search for Miami contacted him, spent Jan. 28 and 29 in Oxford attending an open forum as one of the final two candidates. Miami University notified Creamer Feb. 1 that he had been chosen to replace Richard Norman, who retired from the position in December.

“David Creamer is a proactive leader, who is highly knowledgeable about higher education and its challenges,” said President David Hodge of Miami University in a press release. “His extensive experience in finance, and his energy and enthusiasm will help Miami navigate the challenges ahead and achieve our vision for the future.”

President Lester Lefton called Creamer one of his “most trusted, valued senior colleagues at the institution.”

“We’re going to miss him,” he said. “However, this is an exciting institution and I expect in our search for a replacement, there will be many qualified candidates to fill his shoes — perhaps differently — but fill his shoes.”

Lefton said he expects that the candidate to fill Creamer’s role at Kent State will come from outside the university because the former Director of Financial Affairs Matthew Fajack — “Dr. Creamer’s heir apparent” — just left for a senior vice president position at the University of Florida.

“Sometimes it’s a perfect storm,” he said. “Everybody leaves at the wrong time.”

Lefton said he already wrote a request for qualifications for a search firm. He expects to begin receiving applications in 30 days and to start making arrangements to bring candidates to campus in 60 days.

“We may have a lapse of 30 or 60 days — maybe 90 days — over the summer, which is a relatively quiet time in his area,” he said.

In the meantime, Creamer said he will be working to transition projects that are already in progress. The budget for next year, however, will be finalized before he leaves.

“We intend to be very busy,” he said. “Our goal is to make this nonconsequential.

“The key is just trying to leave as much information so that the hand-off is one that goes smoothly.”

Former Kent State President Carol Cartwright, who appointed Creamer to his current position, said he possesses a “rare combination” of excellent strategical thinking and analytical skills.

“Many people who do one well, don’t do the other well,” she said.

Cartwright said she is pleased Ohio will continue to benefit from Creamer’s talents as a vice president at another state public university.

“I think he’s a very significant loss to the university,” she said. “I’m glad he’s staying in Ohio, because he’s always been a statesman about thinking about financial matters that are important to all higher education in the two-year and four-year sectors.”

Creamer has spent nearly 20 years working at Kent State during the span of his 30-year career, beginning in 1982 as the director of internal audit and then comptroller.

In 1998, Creamer came back to Kent State for a vice president position after holding senior level positions at universities in Iowa, Ohio and Alaska.

As senior vice president for administration, Creamer oversees the university budget, facilities, building planning and construction, bursar and cash and investment management among other responsibilities.

Creamer said he has enjoyed both the time he spent and people he met working at Kent State.

“I couldn’t identify anyone I haven’t enjoyed working with here,” he said. “I will greatly miss Kent State.”

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].