Board of Trustees extends Tuscarawas campus contract until 2030


From left: Frank Rose, Jr. (chairman of the district board of trustees); Sally O’Donnell (secretary and fiscal officer of the district board of trustees); Kent State University President Todd Diacon; Board of Trustees chair Ralph Della Ratta. 

Elizabeth Gibbs

Kent State Tuscarawas hosted the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday. The regional campus celebrated 50 years in the campus system and signed another 10 year contract to remain part of the Kent State University system. 

Board of Trustees Chair Ralph Della Ratta began the Board of Trustees meeting with the approval of the contract that will continue our “highly successful and long-standing relations with the Tuscarawas community.” 

The contract will be effective from July 1, 2020 until June 30, 2030.

President Todd Diacon said, “You’ve heard me say ‘It’s always sunny in Tuscarawas.’ That’s actually true for me. I’ve literally never visited this campus when it wasn’t sunny.”

“I think that is a reflection on this community,” Diacon said. 

Frank Rose, Jr., the chairman of the Tuscarawas County University Branch District Board of Trustees, said “I am very pleased to be able to sign this contract.” Rose has been a member of the district board since 1985. 

“This has been a mutually beneficial relationship that has lasted over five decades,” Rose said. “We look forward to continuing that relationship with Kent State University.”

The board voted, unanimously, to approve the contract. 

According to campus records, in 1962, the campus began as an academic center. Shortly after, Kent State became a partner and in 1968, Founders Hall opened its doors to the first 200 Kent State Tuscarawas students. 

Today, students can complete 27 bachelor’s and associate’s degrees at the regional campus. 

President Diacon recognized the integral part the residents of Tuscarawas county had in the early and enduring success of the regional campus. 

Diacon talked about the history of the branch trustees. He said in the early 1960s, Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes introduced legislation for what he called his “Blueprint for Brainpower.” His goal was to bring a public institution of higher education within 30 miles of every adult in Ohio. When that legislation passed, Tuscarawas county residents approved a five year tax levy to support the governor’s plan. By doing so, the campus was allowed to appoint their own university grant trustees, the only operating branch trustees in Ohio. 

“It’s a testament to the forethought of the citizens and the leadership of this county that they passed that tax levy, that they built this university and that they continue to support this university,” Diacon siad.

Della Ratta said the contract “will continue our highly successful, long-standing, strategic partnership with the Tuscarawas County University Board of Trustees.”

The number of new students at Kent State Tuscarawas increased to 2089 students, an 11 percent increase since last year. Kent State Tuscarawas was the second highest retention rate within the regional campus system.

“This campus is financially strong, able to build and renovate buildings without borrowing money,” Diacon said. “We are so pleased to be moving into another term, another contract.”

“We wouldn’t have it any other way,” Diacon said. 

Elizabeth Gibbs is the regional campus reporter. Contact her at [email protected].