After 32 years at Kent State, Michael McDonald retires

Angelo Gargaro

Director of campus environment and operations says goodbye

The former director of Campus Environment and Operations said goodbye to Kent State on Thursday after 32 years at the university.

Michael McDonald held the position since 1999. Prior, he worked as a security aide, a Kent State police officer, director of security for Residence Services and director of Residence Services.

“I very much enjoyed being a police officer,” McDonald said. “It was a very interesting and exciting job — being able to be a police officer on a campus in a very progressive department. I always thought the university has been lucky to have that kind of police department on campus.”

McDonald said he also enjoyed being director of Campus Environment and Operations. He worked with approximately 370 people and said they were all very dedicated.

“In the background, behind the curtains, they keep the university running,” he said. “I have a great appreciation for those who don’t always receive the same recognition as other employees yet are vital to keeping the campus open.”

Lt. Thomas Etcher of the Kent State police department hired McDonald as a security aide and also worked with him as an officer. He said McDonald was good with people, a good communicator and was what the department strives to hire.

“(McDonald) was the kind of guy who enjoyed coming to work everyday,” Etcher said.

McDonald said some of his most enjoyable times were watching certain students graduate and move on to new places.

“These students, you get to watch them grow and succeed and are out doing great things — big things.” McDonald said. “You could just see it in their eyes that they were going to do something with their lives — and the university was a springboard.”

The student interaction is what McDonald said he will miss the most, as well as his staff.

As a Kent State student himself, he said he never planned to go in the direction he did. He has given advice to students in the same situation.

“Get your degree because that will open doors,” McDonald said. “It comes down to three things: work ethic, personality and creativity. You take it one day at a time and go where your heart tells you.”

McDonald said Kent State gets stronger and better over time, and it was a great place to live and work.

“I will miss everybody terribly,” McDonald said. “But my time at the university is over. It’s time to turn it over to others that may do a lot more with what needs to be done.”

Contact general assignments reporter Angelo Gargaro at [email protected].