The University of Akron is on the rise


By Gary L. Miller, President of The University of Akron
Published in the Akron Beacon Journal on March 1, 2020.

This spring, The University of Akron begins a year-long celebration of its 150-year history as a leading institution of higher education and as an anchor of the Akron community.

What inspires us today is what has sustained us from the beginning: Our People, Our Place and Our Promises.

People are the essence of a university. UA attracts a unique blend of extraordinarily talented faculty, learners of all types, and visionary community partners, all seeking understanding and truth.Our collective talents and toil advance knowledge, educate the citizenry and promote the commonwealth.

Place encompasses more than simple geography. The City of Akron and its people sheltered the early Buchtel College, made the young Municipal University of Akron an integral part of its economy and, when the time was right, nurtured its emergence as a leading public research university. Even as we reach beyond our state to attract students to our world-class academic programs, we are always tuned to our city and our place.

Promise is our reason for being. We exist to extend the promise of education and shared knowledge to all who seek it. UA also insists upon the necessity of the arts, the importance of service and thought, and respect for constructive dialog, tolerance and diversity.

For 150 years The University of Akron has been true to our people, our place and our promises.

Those core qualities are at the heart of our efforts as we, like most institutions across Ohio and the nation, confront this latest cycle of transition and challenge for higher education.


Faculty and staff groups are shaping an academic plan that leverages our strengths and builds on our strong foundation.

This effort will move UA forward in a bold, new way. We will give more students in our area opportunities for a college degree. We will meet learners where they are in their lives. We will meet businesses where new talent and expertise is needed. We will meet government as a full partner.And we will meet the non-profit sector wherever our help can do the most good.

The plan will outline innovative ways to better meet the needs of students, and guide them in personal and academic success. We will, as we always have, contribute to the formation of productive citizens who themselves contribute to the economy and life of our city, state, nation and world.

In the weeks ahead, the community will be asked to comment on early drafts of the plan we call Affirming our Promises .


Recently, we announced a $150 million campaign to coincide with our sesquicentennial. The tripartite focus of the campaign is to bolster student success, enhance faculty support, and launch targeted strategic initiatives. In visiting with UA alumni and friends all over the country, my wife, Georgia, and I have encountered enormous support for our University and for this campaign.

This pride and identity is reflected in our new communications focus: We Are Akron: We Keep Rising.

Much like our namesake city, we are ambitious in our goals and pragmatic in our approach. We take advantage of opportunities and push boundaries. Like the men and women who built the City of Akron, we are self-motivated, resilient in the face of adversity,  and committed to the ethos that we are always open for business.

The University of Akron is a great public urban research university. We are confident in the quality of our people. We will maintain and strengthen our sense of place, through the symbiotic relationship with our beloved city and region.

And, importantly, we will continue to make and keep bold promises, just as we have always done for 150 years.

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