Trustees meet, tour renovated Franklin Hall

Jackie Valley

James Gaudino, dean of the College of Communication and Information, speaks at the Board of Trustees meeting yesterday in the Hirsch Lab of Franklin Hall about media convergence. TRACY TUCHOLSKI | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

For Patrick Mullin, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, nostalgia marked the first board meeting of the new year in Franklin Hall yesterday.

“For me, this is coming home,” said Mullin, a 1971 Kent State graduate. “I was a business student here when Franklin Hall was a business college.”

Business-attire clad trustees and administrators filled the corridors of Franklin Hall, touring the new home to the School of Journalism and Mass Communication in between meetings in the Hirsch Lab classroom.

President Lester Lefton said Franklin Hall’s student-friendly approach should model how future academic buildings are organized to better prepare students for the job market.

“I think the faculty and students who were involved in planning did a good job,” he said. “Instead of rushing to get it done quickly, they took their time and did it well.”

During the meeting, the Board of Trustees approved a resolution to allow David Creamer, senior vice president for administration, to make changes to ensure the lowest possible interest rates for bonds.

Creamer said the resolution is not about the university’s bond rating – which is positive – but rather a “precautionary measure” to potentially use in the wake of insurance companies’ troubles due to the subprime mortgage fallout, which negatively affects bond ratings. To get the lowest possible rates for bonds, he said an insurance is used that adds to the quality of the bond.

“Our hope is that this will get settled out in the market without us having to do something,” he said. “But it may be necessary at some point to take a step that better ensures we get the lowest interest possible given the current situation.”

In other business, the Board of Trustees approved:

• the establishment of the Kent State Center for Materials Informatics in Fall 2008. It will involve the fields of biotechnology, chemical physics, information architecture and knowledge management to generate, exchange and disseminate materials data.

• the establishment of a respiratory therapy technology major at Kent State Ashtabula in Fall 2008.

• the establishment of an allied health management major at Kent State Trumbull in Fall 2008.

• the conferral of an honorary degree to Kent State alumnus Mark Mothersbaugh, founder of the musical group DEVO best known for its 1980 hit single “Whip It.”

• the award of the President’s Medal to Dr. Gordon W. Keller, former Kent State faculty member and the executive head of regional campuses from 1980 through 2001. The President’s Medal is the university’s highest level of recognition for faculty members and administrators who have made large contributions to Kent State’s advancement.

• the conferral of an honorary degree to liquid crystal display pioneer Jun Souk, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics.

Contact administration reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].