Board of Trustees break ground at Crawford Hall

Morgan McGrath, Senior Reporter

On Tuesday, March 8, Kent State’s Board of Trustees celebrated “the largest single gift” in its history with the groundbreaking ceremony for Crawford Hall. 

The addition of Crawford Hall is part of Kent State’s Forever Brighter campaign, and this is only the beginning. 

The ceremony, which took place in a “C” parking lot off of Midway Drive, hosted a large crowd of individuals who gathered to recognize Ambassador Edward E. Crawford’s donation to the university.

Crawford is an Irish-American who, “after serving the country as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland from 2019-2021, he returned to America in his current roles as Chairman of Crawford United Corporation, CEO of The Crawford Group and Director of Park-Ohio,” according to the event pamphlet.

Chairman of Kent State’s Board of Trustees Shawn Riley takes to the podium during the groundbreaking ceremony on March 8, 2022. (Matthew Brown)


Amongst many others, Crawford spoke at the event, thanking Kent State for reaching out to him with such a donation opportunity. 

The ceremony began with a short introduction from Valoree Vargo, the vice president of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement and CEO of the Kent State University Foundation. 

“Today’s historic groundbreaking was made possible by the generosity of all of our donors,” Vargo said. “They include alumni, friends and corporate partners who share our collective vision for the transformational education of the business leaders of tomorrow.” 

Crawford Hall, the future home of the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, will be a space for research and learning opportunities for Kent students for years to come, Vargo said.

Vice President of the Division of Philanthropy Valoree Vargo gives the ceremony’s opening remarks. (Matthew Brown)

Following Vargo’s speech, Kent State business student Juliana Buonaiuto as well as Kent State Trustee President Shawn M. Riley gave speeches of their own. 

“This is an incredibly exciting day for us,” Riley said.  “From here on out, every time you walk past this space [referring to the area where Crawford Hall will be located], we’re gonna witness the transformation of the front part of campus…” 

After his speech, Riley welcomed President Todd Diacon to the stage to discuss Crawford’s donation to the university.

“Today, we can all proudly and publicly assert that Ambassador Crawford’s gift is truly a game changer,” Diacon said. “Literally, it will change the face of our front campus, and literally, it will change the way that we teach our students.”

Crawford concluded the series of speakers and said he was grateful to be a part of the newest building. 

“I get asked often now, “Why Kent? Why now?”, said Crawford. 

At first, Crawford said he was reluctant to speak with Diacon and Deborah Spake, dean of the College of Business. However, after hearing their proposal, Crawford was inspired to make a contribution to the cause. 

“It’s about leadership,” Crawford said.  “Hey, just needed a little extra to get it [the building] finished, to get it going.” 

Following Crawford’s speech, Diacon and various donors donned hard hats and shovels to commemorate the official groundbreaking of the building.

Morgan McGrath is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]