Students Share Hopes, Wishes for Campus in Response to New President

As President Miller is set to take office on Oct. 1, several students have different visions for the future of The University of Akron.


(Image via The University of Akron)

Students had the opportunity to meet President Miller and his wife during a meet-and-greet on Aug. 15.

By Megan Parker, Editor-in-Chief

In response to the Board of Trustees selecting Gary L. Miller as the 18th President of The University of Akron on Aug. 14, several students share their hopes and visions for the future of UA.

Prior to assuming his duties on Oct. 1, President Miller was the Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay from 2014 to 2019 and held several administrative roles in different academic institutions.

In the transition to Presidency of UA, Miller and his wife, Georgia, are most excited to meet with students and learn more about the campus community from their perspective.

“We want to introduce ourselves, keep on a first name basis and get to know them because we’ll be able to have relationships with them forever,” Georgia said during an Aug. 14 press conference.

For students, there are mixed hopes for how the new president will act on campus and what things should be held as important focus points for the future of campus.

Senior Molly Goldman, a psychology major, hopes Miller will be able to bring stability and consistency to the University with all the changes administrators have made on campus.

“I’m hoping that having a new president will help settle down things for the University. I would like to see more consistency,” Goldman said. “There’s a lot changing on campus too and I’d like things to just be set in someway.”

One of the changes impacting student views of UA is the decision to
phase-out 80 academic programs based on the Academic Program Review that took place across all departments at the University.

Micki Buckner, a junior financial management major, wants Miller to re-examine some of the graduate programs that were listed as being phased-out with the possibility of bringing some back.

In relation to consistency on campus, several students would like to see Miller stay at UA in his leadership position for several years, considering he marks the fourth president at UA in the past four years.

Tony Elias, a senior accounting major, would like to see the new president “stay for at least two or three years” in order for the campus to “develop some chemistry with him.”

Meanwhile, other students have acknowledged that some of these recent changes, such as Five-Star Fridays and the phasing-out of 80 programs, were due to factors UA can’t always control.

Senior Morgan Suponcic, a nursing major, believes despite the changes the University has had to implement in recent years, UA is making good efforts and moving in the right direction.

“I don’t think there’s anything specific that we need to change here,” Suponcic said. “I think we have a good campus environment… we are taking steps in the right direction.”

Nonetheless, students all shared one common wish regarding the actions Miller will take as president: there should be an increased focus on the student body over other parts of the University.

When Former President Mathew Wilson was in office, students enjoyed his campus engagement through basketball games, quick discussions in the Jean Hower Taber Student Union and easy accessibility.

Students may have similar accessibility to President Miller as during the Aug. 14 press conference, he said he and his wife have never turned down a meeting with a student in the past and he hopes to continue that promise at UA.

Senior Bryce Chekan, a public relations major and President of the UA PRSSA, said he is looking forward to connecting with a president willing to step out of Buchtel Hall to chat with students and engage with the campus community.

“I am just ready for a president who will help our campus grow,” Chekan said. “I felt connected to UA with President Wilson and he actually listened to what we wanted. A new president who does this is what UA needs.”