I will be your shining star

I just got done listening to a speech given by the new president of Kent State University, Lester Lefton, and I am moved to blog about it. President Lefton spoke to the Akron Roundtable on March 15th of this year (and yes, I *just* got around to listening to it...) about how public universities in Ohio can work together to keep graduates in the state and improve Ohio's staggering economy.

Just as some background information, President Lefton was hired as Kent State's president before the start of the 2006-2007 school year. Immediately, he sent out an email to the entire Kent State community to introduce himself and his family. Since that time, he has continued to send out weekly emails to both students and staff, telling us what he has done that week (meetings, events, talks, award ceremonies, sports events he has attended, etc.) and giving us periodic updates about his cat, Leo, who apparently took a while to adjust to their new home in Kent, Ohio.

Maybe I'm just a geek (read: huge geek), but I think that this is fantastic. President Lefton is not only showing Kent State students that he knows his way around a computer and keyboard, but he's letting us know that he's actually doing something each week, and that he wants us to know about it. I feel almost as if I know President Lefton - and I look forward to his email each Friday. Through this small effort, I feel more connected to a university campus that I've only visited a few times (since I take classes in Columbus), and I've learned a heck of a lot more about what a university president actually does. Most importantly, I trust this guy more than I ever trusted the president of Miami University while I was there. Lester Lefton is transparent (in a very good way), real, and even a little funny.

But back to his speech - the main point was to stress that many smart and qualified college graduates are leaving the state to find employment, and Ohio needs to make a greater attempt to retain some of these talented folks to help improve the state's economy. Having lived in Ohio all my life, I wholeheartedly agree - and I share President Lefton's excitement and optimism about what our newly elected governor plans to do to help.

In any case, the point I'm getting to is this: I would like to offer my services as a future Ohio professional employee. I'm graduating in about 2 1/2 weeks, and I'm currently seeking employment. I want more than anything to stay in the state, and it seems that Ohio wants me to stay... so, here I am, Ohio. Hire me. Keep me here. I don't want to look for an out-of-state job, mostly because I'm too lazy to move, but also because all of my family and friends are here. Ohio, you still have a pretty decent public employee retirement system, and I want to take advantage of it. Don't make me leave. Just hire me! I'll be a good librarian, I promise. I even have a Bachelor's degree in Physics! See, I'm smart! You need me!

Sigh. Anyone think that'll work?

If you are interested at all, you can find Lester Lefton's speech at the Akron Roundtable website. If you have time to listen to the whole thing (30-40 minutes, but it's all audio so you can do other things while listening), it's pretty good.

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