A message from President R.J. Nemer


Dear campus community,

With honor and humility, I write to you today as the president of The University of Akron.

As some of you know, The University of Akron is home for me and, as a double alumnus, I recognize the vast opportunities that exist here and the world-class education we have provided for more than 150 years. I thank Dr. and Mrs. Gary L. Miller for their years of leadership and service to this great university. UA is a catalyst for business, industry and not-for-profit organizations and is a hub for leadership, professional development and meaningful connection. This university helps drive the economy of our region and is a stabilizing force of educational integrity in Northeast Ohio and far beyond. We have so much to be proud of. Yet, at this critical juncture, we must pause, evaluate our self-concept, and ultimately recalibrate to meet the changing landscape of education and our vital place within it.

Today, I vow to lead, through listening and with an open mind and understanding, a twofold effort characterized by renewed culture and transformational identity. In the coming weeks and months, I will seek input from across the campus; please share your experiences, your ideas and your passions for this place. As a first step, I invite the whole campus community to a University-wide forum as an opportunity to have your questions answered, followed by a casual meet and greet, on Thursday, May 23, from 2-4 p.m. (location TBD). I know that many of you are currently off campus so, rest assured, there will be more opportunities for this type of engagement in the fall. My leadership will underscore the vital work of this past year's strategic planning initiatives, promoting flourishing people, lifelong learning and social impact. The interdependency of brand and culture is something to embrace and celebrate, so that a positive work culture is cultivated and reflects our institutional identity.

I make firm commitments to financial stability, strengthened internal and external relationships, and student opportunities. To achieve these necessary goals, we must grow as an entity, exercise fiscal stewardship, and maximize our geographical location and regional influence. We must strategically structure our personnel and ensure that the proper people are in place to accomplish our vision. Further, as I promised during the interview process, each semester, Provost Wiencek and I will meet with the shared governance executive teams to foster better communication and authentic relationships. Furthermore, I assure you that our shared governance leaders will be part of our working group this summer as we navigate our way through the current budget challenges. As we start making specific decisions in that regard, we will be fully transparent in our communication to you. We simply cannot improve culture or create a renowned brand if our people cannot feel heard, thrive and escape the vulnerabilities that have weakened our institutional effectiveness in the past.

We will simultaneously work together with the City of Akron, Summit County and our many stakeholders throughout the community, our nation and the globe. One entity's success is of net benefit to all of us as we look to strengthen our regional appeal. The education we provide, in concert with the cultural and professional opportunities that abound in our region, build the narrative that will assist in keeping local talent and attracting people from the far reaches of the globe.

Ultimately, we must prioritize our most significant stakeholders - the students who rely on us to help shape them into prepared, connected, marketable professionals with meaningful lives. When I first became dean at the UA College of Business, I formulated collaborative committees to devise a new mission statement for the college and promote our Experience Business motto. Students are living that every day - it's the "x-factor" that sets them apart. Infusing students with purpose has revolutionized the College of Business in just two short years. We have the opportunity to do this pan-University.

I look forward to working with the Board of Trustees, all of the colleges and other campus entities to reignite enthusiasm, endorse positive culture and make room for necessary change University-wide. We have a great opportunity ahead of us, and we have all of the tools necessary to implement purpose-driven stability, ensuring our next 150 years.

The future is bright, and I am excited to get started alongside each of you. I look forward to seeing you on May 23 (details to follow).

With thanks and enthusiasm for the future,

President Robert J. (R.J.) Nemer signature

R.J. Nemer
The University of Akron

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476, cboyd@uakron.edu