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Game Changers: Cleveland State University President Dr. Laura Bloomberg

'I sit here, truly, every single day and think I'm just the luckiest woman in the world.'

CLEVELAND — Cleveland State University just celebrated winter commencement -- the second under President Dr. Laura Bloomberg.

Born and raised in Minnesota, she spent most of her working adult life there, but in an interview with 3News anchor Dave Chudowsky, Bloomberg says she is embracing her new hometown and new role.

“This city and this campus tugged at our heart and we have loved every minute of being here in Cleveland,” she said.

But despite her enthusiasm for "The Land," living in Northeast Ohio was really never on Bloomberg's radar until the summer of 2021, which is when she was Dean of Students at the University of Minnesota and was recruited for a new role at CSU. Bloomberg says she and her husband, Jon, had never even visited Cleveland, so they decided to secretly book a trip to check out the city.

“We tried to understand the different neighborhoods, the areas of the city that have perhaps been more neglected than others, where there is a new upsurge of economic development....and then we talked to people and we learned a lot about the city, and we fell in love with it.”

After a long career in education, including as a high school principal, and 24-years at the University of Minnesota, Bloomberg accepted CSU's job offer in August of last year – becoming the university’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. But just eight months into her time in that role, she was named eighth president of the university, replacing Harlan Sands who had served as CSU’s president since 2018.  

"If you have one lockstep plan for your life and you are not open to possibilities, you might miss a golden opportunity," Bloomberg said of stepping into the role.

As just the second female president at CSU, she says, she understands the importance of being a role model.

"You have an opportunity, and I would say perhaps an obligation to mentor, to be open to the questions about it. So if somebody reaches out, I will always try to make time for that conversation."

But some of her conversations have already been difficult. The university recently made headlines when the CSU board of trustees voted unanimously to accept Bloomberg’s recommendation to remove the name Cleveland-Marshall from its College of Law.

"We decided that the slave holding past of John Marshall mattered. And [we weighed] the fact that John Marshall...had really no tie whatsoever to Cleveland, to the state of Ohio or to Cleveland State University outside of his legal work that impacts every single citizen of the country," Bloomberg said.

Editor's note: Video in the player above was originally published in a previous story on Nov. 17, 2022.

As for the future, Bloomberg supports the school’s existing CSU 2.0 plan, which aims to add more students and staff by 2025. But challenges await -- including a dramatic drop in the traditional, college-aged population nationwide, a deficit largely due to the pandemic and aging infrastructure.

"We have needs to modernize this campus and create the kind of amenities that will entice students to want to be here," Bloomberg said. "A big part of the Master Plan is creating residential opportunities for our undergraduate students to live right on campus and graduate students to live very near or adjacent to campus."

Also in the Master Plan, a new right-sized arena with a capacity around 6,000.

"That would be a significant change for this campus and the way people engage with the campus. I can tell you, I'm excited about this, but if you were to say, when is it gonna happen? I would have to say, I need to get back to you," she said with a laugh.

A mother of two with four grandchildren, Bloomberg says she believes in fostering a sense of family on campus.

"It's a big reason why I care so deeply about education, because I care so deeply about younger generations. Our own kids had a great opportunity to get a good education. I want everybody else's children to have those same opportunities."

It's a view of the future and of her new city that she relishes every day.

"When the sun goes down and the sky turns that dark, dark blue, I'm often still in my office and the city lights come on," Bloomberg said. "I sit here, truly, every single day and think I'm just the luckiest woman in the world. I'm on this campus, in this city, in this office with the opportunities to steward this campus. What could be better than that?"

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