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President Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D.

Board of Trustees Announces Jay Gershen’s Plans to Retire

On September 30, 2019, nearly 10 years after his appointment, NEOMED President Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., will retire. Dr. Gershen holds the longest tenure of any state university president currently serving in Ohio.

In October 2009, when the Northeast Ohio Medical University Board of Trustees approved the appointment of NEOMED was a medical college serving three partner universities. Today, it is a health services university with three colleges of its own – a university that has grown in enrollment, endowment, campus size, services to the community, research areas of focus, collaborations and public-private partnerships. The University recently celebrated raising $44 million for its Shine On Campaign.

With NEOMED’s firm foundation and a new strategic plan in place, “This is the perfect time to hand the baton to a new leader,’’ says Dr. Gershen. On Thursday, Oct. 4, Robert Klonk, chair of NEOMED’s Board of Trustees, announced that Dr. Gershen plans to step down on September 30, 2019.

Robert Klonk’s letter follows.


October 4, 2018

Dear NEOMED Community:

After nine years at the Northeast Ohio Medical University, President Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D, has informed me that he will be retiring.  He intends to conclude his presidency of NEOMED on September 30, 2019, nearly 10 years to the date of his appointment which was approved by the board in October 2009.  He will also be discontinuing his faculty appointments in the University’s Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy.

A firm that specializes in presidential searches for universities will be identified this fall to assist the Board of Trustees with the selection of NEOMED’s next president.  The Board is seeking a leader of excellence and quality for the next decade.  The search will be national in scope and a diverse pool of candidates, both internal and external, will be considered.  I have asked Richard Lewis, secretary, Board of Trustees; Michelle Mulhern, interim chief of staff; and Maria Schimer, general counsel, to provide the administrative support to the Board of Trustees as they begin the process of identifying a search firm to manage the search.  This process will include establishment of a timeline geared toward identifying up to three finalists for consideration by the NEOMED Board of Trustees.

Let me publicly state what I have expressed so often in private and with the Board of Trustees ― Dr. Gershen’s performance as president has continually exceeded the Board’s high expectations.  Under Dr. Gershen’s leadership the University has succeeded in many ways.  He has recruited, led and supported an outstanding executive leadership team, faculty and staff who have produced remarkable successes since his appointment in October 2009.  Under his leadership, NEOMED has been transformed into a university and an academic health center with three successful colleges that have produced outstanding graduates and an impressive research portfolio led by scientists with a national reputation for excellence.

President Gershen has strengthened relationships with higher education and hospital partners throughout Ohio.  During his tenure he has firmly established NEOMED as a key member of the higher education, health care, business and economic development communities in Northeast Ohio and beyond.  His tenure has been particularly effective statewide and nationally through his work and advocacy with numerous boards and organizations.

As the sixth president of NEOMED, Dr. Gershen has led our transformation into an independent university using advanced business principles and a community-based approach.  NEOMED is now recognized as a leader for health professions education, public-private partnerships and advancements in research and innovation ― all of which make the University a substantial force in the region’s economic growth.  The accomplishments of the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies are truly remarkable, and their positive impact is being felt locally, regionally and nationally.  During his tenure, our student body has increased significantly, and the physical size of the campus facilities has doubled. Such achievements set an exceptionally high bar for any successor.

Dr. Gershen created Education for Service, an innovative health workforce development program that is designed to diversify the health care workforce in Northeast Ohio while reducing student debt, providing health care to underserved rural and urban communities, and contributing positively to the economic growth of this region.  In partnership with Cleveland State University, Dr. Gershen has expanded NEOMED’s regional mission to the Cleveland area, working with local hospitals, community health centers and other providers to create an urban training program.

He has provided leadership to expand NEOMED’s research activities through investments in state-ofthe-art laboratory facilities, the recruitment of renowned scientists, and the growth of commercialization activities.  His efforts in guiding the completion of campus expansion projects include a research tower, a residential “village,” and the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center.  The $166 million campus expansion has transformed NEOMED into a community-based institution that encourages public access and includes a fitness facility, an innovative clinical pharmacy, a primary care clinic, and conference and event services.  The NEW Center also includes Bio-Med Science Academy, a public STEM+M school.  The Academy is the first rural STEM school in Ohio and the first in the nation to be located on a medical university campus.  This innovative campus expansion project resulted from a public-private partnership and required no capital funding from the state of Ohio.

A plan is underway to construct additional space for the Bio-Med Sciences Academy as a major component of a medical office building which will also house an expanded Wasson Center for the Study of Clinical Performance.  This plan will create space in the south wing to modernize educational facilities for our students and faculty to incorporate 21st century technology and teaching methods.  Also, the fourth floor of the Research and Graduate Education Building will be completed to allow for expansion of our research and commercialization activities.

Dr. Gershen has had a major impact on increasing NEOMED’s visibility.  He currently serves as the chair of the Inter-University Council’s (IUC) Presidents Council, representing the 14 public universities in Ohio.  He also serves on the boards of numerous area Chambers of Commerce, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Stark Economic Development Board, Centennial Celebration Committee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Team NEO and the Ohio Advisory Committee of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition.    Nationally, he has served on the Board of the Association of Academic Health Centers, the Sullivan Alliance to Transform America’s Health Professions, and the Board and Executive Committee of Research!America.  These organizations represent just a few of the many groups with whom President Gershen has worked during his tenure to enhance the University’s image and impact.

Dr. Gershen has indicated to me and the Board of Trustees that he still has much to accomplish in the coming year.  I invite all members of the NEOMED community to join me in offering him our support.  I look forward to working closely with him as he prepares the University to take its next steps into the future.  There will be many opportunities to also wish him well informally and at events to be held in celebration of his many accomplishments here and throughout his professional career.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, please join me in thanking President Gershen for all his contributions and leadership.



Robert J. Klonk, Board of Trustees Chair

Northeast Ohio Medical University