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Ohio


Kent State President Lester Lefton announces his retirement
The university's 11th president will step down at the end of June 2014


 
Kent State President Lester Lefton plans to retire next summer, six years after he took over Ohio's second-largest university.
Courtesy of KENT STATE UNIVERSITY
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Lester Lefton has announced he’s retiring as president of the state's second largest university next summer.

He’s headed the university of eight campuses, 42,000 students and more than 5,000 employees since July 2006. Before that, he was provost at Tulane University in New Orleans, and dean at George Washington University and the University of South Carolina. He holds a doctorate in experimental psychology from the University of Rochester.

Here’s the letter announcing his retirement.

Dear Members of our University Community:

It's another great day at Kent State, and yet it is with a mixture of sadness and excitement that I am writing today. After careful reflection I have decided to retire from my post as President of Kent State University, effective July 1, 2014. The moment seems just right for the university, for me, and for my family to begin the next chapter of my life.

A major life decision such as this one is never reached easily or quickly. As the end of the academic year rapidly is approaching, I felt it important to share my plans now to accord the Board of Trustees and the university community time to find the right person to become the 12th president of this remarkable institution.

It has been my highest honor and privilege to serve as your president. Together, we have accomplished so much, on so many fronts and our university is stronger academically, financially, athletically, and in every other way possible. At the end of the day I think that is the hope that each of us has as we do our jobs--to make a difference.

I am so proud of where our University is today, and our record-setting performances have exceeded even our own high expectations and captured regional, state and national attention. Kent State is well positioned for the future, and the academic and physical transformations we have begun--across our campuses and our home communities, most notably, in Kent--will pave the way for an even more exciting future.

There is still much to do, and I will not be leaving my post for more than a year. For those of you who've worked closely with me, it will come as no surprise that I intend to double down in these remaining months on key issues of importance to us all. As I've asserted before, we are the architects of our own destiny. Let us continue to build a great, lasting and meaningful institution--one that changes lives for high-achieving students from northeast Ohio and beyond.

During the next few months, the Board of Trustees will be forming a search committee and process to select the next president of Kent State and I am sure you will offer your assistance, cooperation, and active participation.

Thank you for your collaboration, help, guidance, and advice over the last seven years--and over the next 14 months. Kent State is what it is today because of superb faculty and staff, highly motivated students, dedicated alumni and friends, committed community members, and an outstanding leadership team of trustees, vice presidents, deans and many others. You are this institution; I am only the orchestra conductor trying to get us all to play coherently, with precision, clarity, and focus. It truly has been a joy to work with you and to have the opportunity, as your president, to shine a spotlight on your accomplishments.

Linda and I are proud to be Golden Flashes and part of this extraordinary community. Kent State is such a special place and always will be first in our hearts among universities, as I know it is with you. Let us all look forward to what surely will be a dynamic and productive year together.

Lester Lefton

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