The buck stops at David Creamer

Andrew Hampp

The signature of David Creamer, vice president of administration, appears on all university-issued checks.

Credit: Beth Rankin

If and when you receive a check from the university, one man’s signature will be found at the bottom.

As vice president of administration, chief financial officer and treasurer, David Creamer is responsible for a variety of tasks including managing the budgets for Kent’s eight campuses, making recommendations for tuition increases and, of course, having his electronic signature appear on every university-issued paycheck.

So does Creamer’s hand ever get tired from “signing” all those checks?

“Every day,” he said with a laugh. “I burn a lot of midnight oil doing that.”

Creamer has been referred to by many people as “the money man,” and with good reason. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from Ohio University in 1976 , during which time he also owned and operated a small business — a pool hall.

“It was just another source of income,” Creamer said. “Jobs were important, even then.”

Creamer commuted to Ohio University from his home in Coolville, located about a half-hour outside of Athens. Although he never experienced dorm life firsthand, he said he has no regrets about where he lived during his college experience.

“(Commuting) at that time was OK for me,” he said. “Living on-campus does broaden the experience, and I think there are advantages for students who do that.”

After college, Creamer went on to hold a number of finance-related jobs at colleges across the country.

Creamer first came to Kent State in 1982, when he served as director of internal audit. Over the next eight years, he earned his master’s degree in accounting and a Ph.D. in higher administration in addition to performing his auditing duties.

Although Creamer has held positions at Shawnee State and Iowa State universities, he said his most memorable pre-Kent State occupation was at the University of Alaska from 1995 to 1998. As vice president for finance and planning, he often visited several regional campuses all across the state.

“Most of my time was spent on airplanes,” he said. “It was very interesting because the state’s so huge. The weather in Juneau is not going to be the same in Anchorage, and the weather in Anchorage is not going to be the same in Nome.”

Winter weather conditions in Kent are nothing compared to those in Alaska, he added.

“When someone suggests we close the campus for weather, I say no since I was in Alaska, and we never closed there,” he said.

Creamer returned to Kent in 1998, when he was named vice president of business and finance. After holding that position for four years, he became vice president of administration in 2002, a job that Creamer said he has enjoyed very much.

“My favorite part is the interaction with the students,” he said. “I like getting to understand them better, assisting them with their goals.”

As for his free time, Creamer said he doesn’t really have much. What little spare moments he does have are spent with his two teenage sons or occasional trips to the movie theater. He thought Wedding Crashers was OK, War of the Worlds was so-so and cites Ron Howard’s Cinderella Man as his favorite film of the summer.

One place you will not find Creamer too often, however, is the kitchen.

“I only know how to operate the microwave,” he said. “If it can be defrosted and cooked, I can help in that way.”

While Creamer may not be able to dispense much culinary advice, he did have some helpful words for this year’s new crop of freshmen.

“The most important thing is to get comfortable with the environment at the university,” he said. “Spend time getting to know other students and faculty in areas of (your) interest.”

Contact Pop Arts editor Andrew Hampp at [email protected].