Ronald M. Berkman

Ronald M. Berkman hopes being a difference maker marks recognition of the changes made at Cleveland State University since he became president seven years ago.

Not only was this year’s incoming freshman class of 1,875 the largest in its 50-year history, CSU “has become a school of choice, not a school of default,” he said. “Indeed, it’s absolutely doubled the number that it was six years ago. “

“The other difference I would say is the number of partnerships we’ve been able to foster, including a partnership with Playhouse Square, one with NEOMED to bring a public medical school presence to Cleveland” and one with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District that already has generated recognition of advances the district has made.

Under his leadership, Cleveland State University has forged partnerships with three Israeli institutions of higher learning: The University of Haifa and Tel Aviv University and, at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, a cross-university collaboration based on the Mandel Social Leadership MBA Program there.

“I like that we’re making a difference in students’ lives,” he adds, noting graduation rates and retention rates have risen dramatically at CSU. Now students want to attend CSU, he said: More than 10,000 wanted to be freshmen this year, with only 1,875 enrolled.

It is getting hard to get into Cleveland State?

“It’s getting harder,” says Berkman, who recently re-upped to serve as president until 2019.

“Some people never learn.”

At a Glance

Age: 68

As a professional: Cleveland State University

Children: Cameron; Mikhaila

In the community: Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Cleveland Rock and Roll, Inc., Cleveland State University Foundation director, Destination Cleveland, Downtown Cleveland Alliance ex-officio board member, Greater Cleveland Partnership director, Horizon League, Inter-University Council of Ohio vice chair, Jewish Federation of Cleveland, Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education director, Playhouse Square Foundation, United Way of Greater Cleveland

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