Lefton sees ‘new energy and new morale’

Christina Stavale

After his first year on the job, President Lester Lefton said he anticipates “a new day” for Kent State.

In a meeting with Summer Kent Stater editors, Lefton reflected on this past year and discussed what he would like to see in coming years.

“I sense a new energy and a new morale among the faculty and students,” Lefton said.

He said his new appointments of Gene Finn as vice president for institutional advancement and Robert Frank as provost are likely to change the university.

“I’ve made a couple of very important appointments, especially in the case of the provost,” Lefton said. “This is likely to have a significant impact on students.”

In the future, he said the university will have to make a number of difficult decisions, for example, shutting down programs or turning down someone who wants a specific program in place.

“We can’t continue to do what we’ve always done just because we’ve always done it,” he said.

Lefton said he would like to see a number of things from students.

“I take enormous pride in what we’re doing at Kent State,” he said. “I’d like to see a bit more Kent State pride.”

He said he would also like students to become more involved with faculty and extracurricular activities.

“These are ways for students to round out their educational experience, have a more in-depth educational experience and put their own excellence into action,” he said.

Lefton also discussed burdens of the state-mandated tuition freeze.

“The reality is, we’re getting $4.7 million less,” he said. “That’s not insignificant.”

He said, however, students and faculty will not be negatively impacted this year.

In addition, Lefton discussed the following topics:

• Freshman enrollment for next year is around 3,700, which is higher than previous years, and continuing student enrollment is looking better than last year.

• Allerton Apartments and smaller dorms may closed down because of high costs for renovation.

• The Board of Trustees remains committed to becoming a magnet school and top research institution.

• The new budget model is on track in the switch to a Responsibility Management System, which would prevent a centralized administration from distributing funds. It will allow individual colleges to decide how to spend their income from tuition and other sources.

• The Centennial Campaign, a fundraising campaign which coincides with Kent State’s 100-year anniversary, is doing well. The university has raised more money than ever before.

Contact principal reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].