“Ambassador Crawford has lived his life as a successful entrepreneur and business owner and built his company from the ground up,” said Dr. Todd Diacon, President of Kent State University. “We are very proud to have won his trust in our School of Business Administration, which will bear his name both on the university and on its new building. Not only are our students trained in an iconic facility with a trendsetting design, but they can also approach him as a mentor for their own entrepreneurial and business endeavors. We are very grateful to him for his support. ”The Kent State University Board of Trustees also voted on Friday to immediately rename the College of Business Administration to Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship.

Construction on Crawford Hall is scheduled to begin in December. Classes there are scheduled to begin in autumn 2024.

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In a press conference following the meeting, Diacon declined to reveal how much Crawford donated to the university, but as the greatest gift in the university’s history, it would have to be greater than the $ 10 million donation recently made to the College of Podiatric Medicine was bequeathed.

According to university documents, funding for the new hall includes $ 24.7 million in gifts, $ 6.7 million in bonds, and $ 42.6 million in local university funding. The budget includes $ 3 million in emergency funds, bringing the total project to $ 74 million.

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Crawford founded Park-Ohio, a publicly traded industrial supply chain logistics and diversified manufacturing company valued at $ 1.6 billion with more than 7,000 employees in 125 locations worldwide.

“The President and Deborah, I want to challenge you for your amazing efforts to come to my office,” he said. “It was such a good idea; it was so dynamic. You sat there, the two of you, and you get credit for that. I was interested because most of the ideas in this office are my ideas, and they’re always great ideas. I got caught here unprepared. I thought, ‘This is a great idea and it’s not mine.’ “

He said deacon and business dean Dr. Deborah Spake deserves a lot of credit for reaching out to him and impressing him with her vision.

Crawford Hall will be built on the ground plan of Terrace Hall, which will be demolished, and is located east of White Hall on the north edge of campus along East Main Street.

“… We know this iconic building will be seen by almost everyone who drives through Kent, and certainly future Kent State students and their families, and so it will really be at the heart of our efforts to transform this part of our campus. “” Said Deacon. “We have this iconic, amazing collection of buildings from 1910, and now we are adding Crawford Hall to its beauty.”

The interior design of Crawford Hall may be redesigned based on experiences from the COVID-19 pandemic, but it has already been designed with collaboration, modern education and technology in mind.

“We’ll likely set up an additional studio beyond what we planned,” said Spake. “We know that with all the technology we use in class, we need to expand Wi-Fi, so much of it is technology-driven.

Crawford will continue to mentor students through the college’s ASPIRE Entrepreneurial Workshop Series that Crawford launched during his stay in Ireland.

He also noted that entrepreneurship is more than a set of skills and knowledge built over four years.

He said that people who want to be entrepreneurs need to be willing to stand out from the crowd and stand in the center of the room with everyone else lingering on the walls and in corners.

“Entrepreneurship can be misunderstood,” he said. “It’s a word that gets thrown around a lot … It teaches you how to deal with rejection.”

Spake said spirit is featured in many business school courses.

“There are a lot of very smart and important people, maybe just as smart and ambitious, but they want to be in the corner, not in the middle,” said Crawford. “It’s full of rejection. Entrepreneurship is the ability to block out incoming negative thoughts; you have to train yourself. “

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