Cleveland State University

Alumni & Friends

A new Vike in Town
Alma Matters: Homecoming 2013
Be seen at the dazzling, Distinguished Alumni Awards
Born to be (legally) wild
WANTED: six insightful words for college students.
President Berkman welcomes Class of 2017
Blob it
Historically Speaking
Green with pride:
Meet Brian Breittholz
Assistant Vice President, Alumni Relations and Executive Director, CSU Alumni Association

Welcome, Brian! Apart from your current lack of office furniture, what are your initial plans?
While I'm waiting on some furniture, I have been making rounds around the city, meeting with so many dedicated alumni who volunteer for CSU in different capacities. I've found their enthusiasm for CSU to be truly inspiring. I've also had the opportunity in the past few weeks to meet with each of the deans representing our different colleges. We're fortunate to have so many distinguished academicians leading our colleges.

Over the next few months I plan on continuing to assess the programs and services we deliver to our alumni and students, benchmark against other leading institutions, and lay the foundation for the CSU Alumni Association to be among the best in the nation. No small task—but we should expect nothing less.

Tell us four essential facts about you.
First, I believe my 25 years in higher education has prepared me well for this opportunity at CSU. My career began at The University of Akron, working directly with students in programming and leadership capacities. I continued that commitment at Miami University, working as the director of Greek Affairs leading a student community of 5,000+. With the new millennial, I changed career paths and moved to alumni engagement. I've thoroughly enjoyed these different roles and the challenges with each.

I am dedicated to student success. One doesn't typically think of students when considering alumni relations. Big mistake. I believe we need to reach out and engage students from the moment they begin considering CSU, and remain engaged with them throughout their lifetimes. The CSU Alumni Association will remain committed to student success and we'll seek more opportunities to partner students with our alumni in mentoring experiences.

Third, I'm a native New Yorker. Most folks don't know that because I've "lost" my accent. Although I still refuse to call soda "pop," I've adapted to my midwest surroundings. My New Yorker does come out in me behind the wheel sometimes.

Lastly, I'm also a foodie. You may be able to tell that from my waistline. I never suspected Cleveland had so many wonderful restaurants. This discovery has been a "filling" surprise.

We're 100,000 strong, based mostly here in northeast Ohio. How will you and the AA connect with us?
Great question. We are so fortunate to have so many alumni in the area. It's my goal to expand and enrich alumni engagement through our programs, our communication channels, our volunteer experiences, and through our recognition efforts. Along with some of the traditional activities we've been known for, I'm working with our leaders to plan outreach efforts that are truly meaningful for our alumni at the different stages of their lives. We're always interested in learning more about needs. So, I encourage alumni to share with me their thoughts on directions moving forward.

You've achieved a great deal for students and alumni throughout your career. Of what are you most proud?
Whether it be student affairs work or alumni relations, I've been part of great changes that have led to positive results. The processes haven't always been neat and tidy…but I've never been let down by the end-product. I'm a firm believer that "people support what they help create," and you'll find with me a lot of emphasis on expanding the pool of volunteers and participants.

What are you discovering about CSU?
That's an easy one. The enthusiasm the folks have about CSU's future. Students are excited to be here as are the faculty and staff. Our volunteers are proud of CSU's trajectory in recent years, and everyone seems to be on board—committed to advancing CSU.

What do you like about Cleveland so far?
There's so much to do. We are a world-class city and I am thrilled to be here. We've got so many positive things going for us. The roads, however, are another story—I've already replaced my shocks.

Where/when can we meet you?
I hope to meet many of our alumni at the Distinguished Alumni Awards (DAA) program and at Homecoming. We are honoring exceptional alumni at the DAA and it is my understanding that the awards program is always a special night. We're committed to continuing that tradition. Homecoming has becoming increasingly a great time for alumni and their families to return to campus and enjoy the festivities. We've got a great slate of events planned this year for all to enjoy.

Brian at a glance
  • Bachelor's degree in journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University
  • Master of education from Ohio University
  • Director of Greek Affairs and Director of Advancement for Student Affairs at Miami University
  • Associate Director, Alumni Continuing Education at Miami
  • National Educational Director and Leadership Academy Dean, Phi Kappa Tau
Question or comment for Brian? Email him at


Alma Matters: Homecoming 2013

How excited are we to see you at Homecoming this year? We're jumping out of our seats when we think of how we'll be seeing you for an unforgettable weekend of laughter, memories and the grand ol' green and white. Please say you'll be there. Read more.

Be seen at the dazzling Distinguished Alumni Awards

Every year hundreds of alumni, students, community leaders, and friends of Cleveland State University join together to honor some of CSU's most accomplished leaders, citizens, and dedicated public servants at the Distinguished Alumni Awards.

On behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, you are invited to join us in the induction of this year's class of honorees on Friday, October 18, 2013 at the Bert L. & Iris S. Wolstein Center—in the heart of downtown. This magical evening will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by a sumptuous dinner. The program includes video tributes, live music, and special remarks.

The presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, the George B. Davis Award for University Service, the new President's Alumni Awards for International Achievement and for Community Service will cap off the evening. Read more.

Head out on the highway
Law Dean Craig Boise takes to the road to connect with alumni.

Craig Boise is possibly the only Harley-riding, piano-playing, calf-roping law dean in the country. And while he's not the only CSU dean busy reaching out to alumni, his style is in a class all his own.

"I'm a big believer in building relationships. It's a really enriching part of the job. It's inspiring to me," he says. "We have such amazing, accomplished alumni. They help me understand who we are as a law school and develop our vision."

Turns out a number of C|M|Law grads are Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiasts. They're in good company, as Ohio has one of the largest concentrations of Harley riders. So it was a natural for Dean Boise, himself a longtime Harley man, to join in and lead rides around the state, connecting with both alumni and Ohio wonders as a returnee following his stint at DePaul University in Chicago.

Their first ride took them to the historic covered bridges of Ashtabula County. On their second, they explored Ohio's Amish country with visits to the town of Kidron, the world-famous Lehmann's store and Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen, where they fueled up with hearty Amish fare. More rides are planned.

"We want to help keep the connections between classmates alive, and ask our alumni to provide us with a more complete picture of what we need to do," says Dean Boise.

The dean has also joined thousands of motorcyclists during Ohio Bike Week, cruising through Sandusky, Catawba Island and Put-in-Bay.

If you don't ride a Harley, you might catch Dean Boise, who is also classically trained in piano performance, tickling the keys at an upcoming event. And about that calf roping: the dean grew up spending summers on his aunt's ranch in Nebraska, so he's a pretty accomplished horseman, too.

For more about Dean Boise, click here.

Check out C|M|Law's Stories Book here.

A look at C|M|Law
  • Approximately 10,000 graduates
  • 80% live within 60 miles of Cleveland
  • Large numbers of grads practice in New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, Wisconsin and San Diego
  • Find out more at

Wanted: six insightful words for college students

What would you tell them? Share your serious, lighthearted and poignant thoughts here.

We were recently reminded of the power of words to vividly illustrate life's milestone events. Smith Magazine, creators and home of the Six-Word Memoir project, shared that legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in six words and his response was, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Now that's powerful. There are so many different directions those six words could lead.

The folks over at Oprah Winfrey's "O" Magazine challenged readers to "tell us about who you are and the life you've lived in six well-chosen words." The responses were plentiful. Some of our favorites:

"Mind, spirit, heart, open for growth." "Born, breathed, observed, participated, challenged, lived" "Looking for the person I am" "Be a positive person every day" "Got knocked down. Got up again" "My family is my life's work"

As we begin the milestone of starting college for new, energetic students, we want to pick your brain and ask for your six words of advice to share with them. Six words to set our students on the course for success at CSU and beyond.

So, go ahead and let your mind go. Share your six words of advice at We'll share the best responses with our students. We'll even post a few in the next issue to share with you.

President Berkman welcomes Class of 2017

For the fourth straight year, the incoming freshman class is the largest, while continuing to be academically competitive. With approximately 1,800 students, the new class represents a 15% surge over last year.

CSU President Ronald M. Berkman has focused CSU's recruitment efforts on attracting a greater number of high-quality freshmen. Since the beginning of his tenure at CSU in 2009, freshman enrollment has nearly doubled, while increasing and maintaining academic competitiveness.

"For all of us at Cleveland State this is a significant indicator of success, knowing that an ever-increasing number of students, who have a plethora of academic options, are choosing Cleveland State over other schools throughout the region," Berkman said. "This result speaks to our intense focus on student success and the many initiatives we have under way to save students money and accelerate time to graduation."

Of CSU's total enrollment, about 1,200 are international students from more than 80 countries. The top three are Saudi Arabia, India and China. In addition, last year more than 3,000 CSU students did internships and co-ops with local corporations, government institutions and cultural organizations. In addition, last year more than 3,000 CSU students did internships and co-ops with local corporations, government institutions and cultural organizations.

The Beloit Mindset List for the Class of 2017
The Mindset List was created at Beloit College in 1998 for the class of 2002. Now in its 15th year, it continues to reflect the world view of entering first year students. This year's students in the class of 2017 were born in 1995.

  • For them, Gaga has never been baby talk, and a chat seldom means real talking.
  • Eminem and LL Cool J could show up at parents' weekend.
  • Their TV screens keep getting smaller as their parents' screens grow ever larger.
  • PayPal has replaced a pen pal as a best friend online.
  • A tablet is no longer something you take in the morning.
  • Threatening to shut down the government during Federal budget negotiations has always been an anticipated tactic.

    For the complete Beloit College Mindset List, click here.

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    Blob it
    Blogs are online sites in which authors can share their thoughts, advice, information, etc., with followers on an ongoing basis. Millions of Americans read and contribute to blogs every day.

    We're interested in featuring a handful of Blogs on our site from alumni across the generations for other alumni to follow. So, if you're interested in being a featured blogger, drop us a line. Tell us about your blog and why we should feature it. Submit your blog or sample blog here.

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    Friday, August 30 was National College Colors Day, and we invited you to celebrate by participating in CSU's own Get Your Green On Day. You did, and overwhelmingly so. Thanks to everyone who participated. Head over to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to take in all that "Green On" Viking pride. Search #GetYourGreenOn to find our photos from the day.

    Getting your Green On, however, was just a precursor to CSU's Homecoming, a way to prep for the weekend of fun we have planned for all of you. Check out for all the juicy details on the parade, tailgate party, Viking Madness, President's Luncheon, Campus Village, reunion festivities, and so much more.

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    Historically Speaking

    We recently whipped our Facebook alumni family into a delightful frenzy when we posted a picture of the former student center, more affectionately known as The Cage. One alumnus even recounted how he met his wife. So tell us: what are your favorite memories from The Cage? Email us at

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