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A Message From the President

“There is no education like adversity.”
 – Benjamin Disraeli, 19th century Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 

If there is anything we have learned in 2020, it is about the resilience and strength of our  CSU family – and our Cleveland community. In a year that has tested all of us, we have nimbly pivoted to a hybrid model of teaching and learning, learned new approaches to how we work and live, and leaned on each other more than we ever thought possible. 

Given our challenges, I have never been more proud of the many new ways we have collectively delivered our unique brand of “Engaged Learning”: in our newly-configured classrooms, across thousands of Zoom rooms, in labs, and out and about our campus buildings, residence halls, athletics facilities, and open spaces. It has taken a true team effort – and every inch of our campus – to provide the kind of learning experience and cutting-edge research that is the hallmark of CSU.

In this issue of Cleveland State, we will share stories about our year that will make all of you proud. You’ll meet the retired U.S. Navy Surgeon General who is leading CSU’s pandemic response efforts. We’ll share the story of how we came together during unprecedented times to safely repopulate our campus, support our students and contribute in meaningful and measurable ways. CSU donated PPE, our theater staff made face shields and masks, and a team of professors and students converted an app they developed to help track ventilators in support of the community’s pandemic response.

You will read about the innovative ways we are supporting our students, including our groundbreaking 2-for-1 Tuition Promise, and how the generosity of our donors eased the financial impact of COVID-19 through our Lift Up Vikes! emergency grants program.

We also feature Destination Cleveland’s David Gilbert – a CSU alumnus – and his work in increasing the visibility and profile of our region and our downtown development.

Since we missed out on celebrating Homecoming Week with you in person last fall, I want to personally invite you to join us next year, when we hope the pandemic is in the rear view mirror.

Just recently, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine unveiled the newly formed Cleveland Innovation District, and CSU was named the lead public higher education partner to serve as a talent pipeline for burgeoning healthcare and IT careers in Northeast Ohio. We’ll share more about this exciting collaboration in our next issue.

Until then, my heartfelt thanks go out to you, our alumni – 140,000 strong – for creating the strong foundation that carries CSU and our students Forward Together.


Harlan M. Sands, J.D., M.B.A.
President, Cleveland State University

Also in this Issue...

Hope, Strength, Resilience: How the CSU community responded to the global pandemic

Difficulty is often the ground from which some of life’s greatest triumphs bloom. And there’s no mistaking that COVID-19 plagued 2020 with what seemed to be an never-ending barrage of challenges. But the CSU community swiftly responded with compassion and a laser-focused determination to emerge better for having weathered the storm. Read more >>

Leading with Honor

Meet the man helping shape CSU’s response to the pandemic. Read more >>

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