Board of Trustees approve tuition rates, attend Crawford topping out ceremony


Grace Springer

Kent State President Todd Diacon, along with trustees and administrators, applaud the placement of last beam of Crawford Hall on June 28, 2023.

Grace Springer, Editor-in-Chief

The Board of Trustees voted to approve tuition, room and meal plan rates for incoming freshmen at their business meeting Wednesday. After the meeting, the trustees, administrators and others watched the placement of the final beam at Crawford Hall, the future business and entrepreneurship building which began construction on March 8, 2022.

President Todd Diacon addresses a crowd of trustees, administrators and others at the Crawford Hall topping out ceremony June 28, 2023. (Grace Springer)

The board approved rates for tuition, room and meal plans for incoming freshmen. Under the Tuition Guarantee model, the rates will be frozen and stay consistent for the incoming class for four years. The board also approved rates for students not covered under the Tuition Guarantee. Finalized rates will be available once the state budget is approved.

The board also established a new Gender and Sexuality Studies major, which will be offered by the College of Arts and Sciences in fall 2023 if approved by the Ohio Department of Education. 

The board approved improvements to the Kent State Airport to accommodate a growing aeronautics program, including airport runway updates to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards that will cost $4.967 million. Additionally, they approved the investment into six new Cessna 172S training fleet aircraft over the next three years.

Trustee Donald Mason presented the report from the Finance and Administration Committee.

“As enrollment in the College of Aeronautics and Engineering flight program continues to grow, maintaining a state-of-the-art fleet of training aircraft is a strategic priority,” he said. 

Additionally, the board approved the establishment of the Center for Advanced Air Mobility within the College of Aeronautics and Engineering, which is meant to facilitate research and collaboration between students, professors and outside partners. 

Trustee Robert Frost presented the report from the Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee. 

“Advanced Air Mobility is the incorporation [of] autonomous aircraft into the national airspace with the aim to provide efficient and sustainable air transportation solutions,” Frost said. 

The board renamed the park outside the Wick Poetry Center as Maj Ragain Poetry Park. Major “Maj” Ragain was a creative writing professor at Kent State from 1969 until 2016. 

In his honor, the Ragain Charitable Fund and Sean Ragain pledged $100,000 in support of the Wick Poetry Center’s “Traveling Stanzas” program.

Trustee Pamela Bobst presented the report for the External Relations and Philanthropy Committee.

“He was a pillar of our core poetry community and received the Outstanding Term Teaching Award in English in 2003,” Bobst said. 

Ragain also led a veterans’ healing circle through the Wick Poetry Center that encouraged connection and healing through participation in the arts, Bobst said.

Topping out ceremony

Contractors installed the final beam at Crawford Hall after it was signed by Kent State trustees and administrators. 

The “topping out” ceremony is a Scandinavian tradition meant to bring luck and as a tribute to hard work by mounting the top of an evergreen tree to the final beam of the building. 

University President Todd Diacon spoke before the beam was installed.

“What’s notable among many things about this building is that it is by far the largest donor funded building in the history of Kent State,” he said while thanking the donors. 

Crawford Hall is expected to be completed for the fall 2024 semester and will house the Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship. 

Trustee Ann Womer Benjamin signs her name on the final beam of Crawford Hall. (Grace Springer)

Additional actions

The board established the Pre-Law Center within the College of Arts and Sciences to provide advising, research and cocurricular activities for pre-law students across the university.

The board approved the renaming of the Leadership Center in the student center to the Pepsi Leadership Center in recognition of their pledged $250,000 in endowed support of the center. PepsiCo has been contracted as Kent State’s official beverage vendor since 2011. 

The Center for Disability Studies and the Center for Innovation in Transition and Employment were merged into the Center for Disability Inclusion to provide more opportunities for funding and enhance collaboration. 

In a routine election as per university constitution, Todd Diacon was reelected Kent State University President. 

Grace Springer is Editor-in-Chief. Contact her at [email protected].