President Todd Diacon reflects on university history at Bowman Breakfast

Kent State President Todd Diacon spoke to an audience on Kent State’s history and the importance of a good relationship with the city of Kent at the 56th semi-annual fall Bowman Breakfast in the Student Center Ballroom Wednesday.

Kent City Manager Dave Ruller introduced Diacon and spoke on Diacon’s sense of humor and personality.

“Todd has both the depth and the breadth,” Ruller said. “And as the mayor says all the time, he seems to be the most genuine guy going.”

Faculty, staff and city leaders participated in an interactive “So You Think You Know Kent State” quiz. The quiz featured questions about Kent State’s history, like traditions, statistics and other Kent State facts. Diacon also emphasized the importance of the town-gown relationship with the city of Kent, which means how the university and the city of Kent coexist. 

“Today we’re going to do a quiz to see how much all of us know about Kent State, and it will give me an opportunity, in all seriousness, to then talk a little bit more about the wonderful town-gown relationship that we have,” Diacon said. 

Diacon walked around the ballroom and asked questions to audience members. In a question about how many miles of Route 59 are in the city of Kent, Diacon took the opportunity to speak on Kent State’s relationship with the city of Kent.

“We will engage in a very important infrastructural project to make (Main Street) safer… We have some traffic calming infrastructural work to do, we’re going to make a beautiful road running through our town and past our campus,” Diacon said. “We want to enhance the experience for the neighbors and for our own Kent State employees and we’re very proud about that. And really, it’s the best example I can think of the importance of town-gown relationship.”

Diacon asked a question about how many of the 11,500 parking spaces were available to students. Of the 11,500 spaces, 7,000 are available for students. Diacon then discussed updates to add parking decks on campus. 

“We will have a very tastefully designed, aesthetically pleasing parking deck that will fit in between Williamson House and Nixon Hall,” Diacon said. “We’ll start working on that in the summer. It will provide a safe and covered and effective parking solution for that side of campus.”

Kent State has seen an increase in four and six-year graduation rates. In the 2018-19 academic school year, Kent State awarded 9,915 degrees. 

“Every time I see this number… it reminds me of the power of Kent State University,” Diacon said. “It reminds me that we’re a university system that geographically covers an area that’s larger than the state of Connecticut… It reminds me that our goal is to educate the state citizenry, and we do that in record number.”

Diacon said the town-gown relationship Kent State has with the city of Kent helps make the university better. 

“Those communities make our campuses better and our campuses make those communities better,” Diacon said.

Contact Molly Heideman at [email protected].