Trustees say farewell to Ribeau, welcome interim Cartwright

President Sidney Ribeau attended his last BGSU Board of Trustees meeting yesterday (June 25). Members of the board expressed appreciation for all he has done for the University over his 13-year tenure. The president leaves Aug. 1 to become head of Howard University.

President Sidney Ribeau at his last trustees meeting

Also praising Ribeau was Dr. Carol Cartwright, BGSU’s interim president, who will officially begin her duties July 21. “I have a great deal of respect for what President Ribeau has created here, and I value the confidence the board of trustees has placed in me to carry this legacy forward,” said the former president of Kent State University.

“All of you will have a great deal of responsibility to create the kind of institution into which we can welcome a new leader about a year from now,” she told those gathered. That means working together to deal with the “realities we will face every single day,” she said.

Ribeau returned the compliment to Cartwright, saying he had worked with her for 13 years, “but I’ve been an admirer of hers even longer than that, from her time at Penn State and UC-Davis. She has sound academic values and a commitment to valuing people that make her very, very special.”

Ribeau recalled his first trustees meeting 13 years ago in McFall Assembly Room, the same spot as yesterday’s meeting. Though most of the players have changed, “one thing is consistent: This is Bowling Green State University. That’s what lives beyond the careers of each of us,” he said. While he and the University have had their ups and downs, he said, “We got it right more than we got it wrong.”

Michael Marsh, chair of the trustees, told Ribeau that from the very beginning he had “brought a sense of pride to us,” recalling that one of the first orders of business was the Building Community project. Nightly meetings over pizza and Coke at Ribeau’s home (“He was a bachelor then,” Marsh quipped.) with students, faculty and community members led to the initiative that helped refocus BGSU’s outlook in a more collaborative, hopeful and aspirational direction. “You had to believe to succeed” was the watchword, Marsh remembered.

“You’ve led us on a wonderful journey” toward being the “premier learning community in Ohio,” he told Ribeau. Marsh recalled overhearing former Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Chu at his retirement party referring to BGSU as the “secret jewel in Ohio.”

“It’s been an amazing transformation,” Marsh said.

June 23, 2008