Realizing the promise, realizing the dream

Realizing the promise, realizing the dream

Not soon after Board of Trustees Chairman Ronald Weinberg was presented with the President’s Medal at CSU’s Radiance scholarship event, he took the stage, boldly declaring the greatness awaiting the University.

Ronald Weinberg, Chair, CSU Board of Trustees

“Let me predict the future,” he said. “If you think Cleveland State is doing well right now, let me stick my neck out and tell you it is going to be dramatically even more so in the years ahead.”

The statement seemed to characterize the sentiment of the Friday, May 13 event, a first-of-its-kind celebration for student scholarship support, where Weinberg, a 10-year member of CSU’s Board of Trustees and community leader, received the University’s highest non-academic recognition for being one of the school’s chief ambassadors.

“Ron has been and will continue to be a champion of CSU,” said President Ronald Berkman to the crowd gathered in the CSU Student Center Ballroom.

“In my interaction with [him], I’ve always felt that he has maintained the perfect equilibrium of a board chair.  Balancing the need to be informed about the university, the willingness to spend whatever time was needed to help me work through the issues and decisions and the wisdom to understand, at the end of the day, the president must own their own decisions.”

Weinberg noted, in accepting the honor, that though a number of CSU’s new initiatives are in their infancy, it won’t be long before their effect is felt throughout the Cleveland community.

“We’re going to become a University town,” he said.

Figures the morning of Radiance had the total support raised in support of the event and for scholarships nearing a record $400,000.

“The Cleveland business community responded in a phenomenal way,” said Thomas Adler, Co-Chair of the Radiance Host Committee, adding the trifecta of support from the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals sent a clear message about their commitment to urban education.

Throughout the evening, President Berkman also saluted this year’s honorary degree recipients including:  The Honorable Lillian Burke, J.D. ’51, the first African-American woman to sit on the bench in the State of Ohio; William Conway, a generous supporter of CSU and Chairman and CEO of Fairmount Minerals, Ltd.; Edna Shalala, J.D. ’52, who practiced law for nearly 50 years;  Leonard Trawick, Ph.D., longtime CSU English professor and editor of the CSU Poetry Center; and Anthony Yen, an international businessman, working to internationalize education in Ohio.

Melanie McDowell

And perhaps the night’s most endearing moment came with student Melanie McDowell.  A 17-year-old CSU junior enrolled in its Honors Program, McDowell is majoring in both nursing and Spanish with a full scholarship.  She hopes to pursue advanced degrees in nursing, foreign language and business, work abroad as a nurse and found a charity supplying basic medical supplies to impoverished countries.

“All of my dreams can become a reality because of the generous scholarship I have been given and I will never ever take that for granted,” she said.

“Without donors like you, I don’t know where I would be or if I could even afford to think this big. For that, I thank all of you.”

Radiance marks the emergence of a new tradition to be hosted each year on the eve of Spring Commencement.  Next year’s event is planned for Friday, May 11, 2012.

Click here for a look at photos from the event.

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