After Claire Van Ummersen's undistinguished presidency, Cleveland State was encouraged to recruit a high-wattage star. Names like Dick Celeste and Mike White were discussed. But instead of going for glamour, the university lured Michael Schwartz, who led Kent State in the '80s, out of semiretirement. It was the right choice. A self-described mechanic among hood ornaments, Schwartz recognized immediately that CSU had become a mere finishing school for Tri-C. He has roused the university from its bunker mentality, encouraging higher standards, a livelier campus, and greater interaction with the city.
He's also been a feisty critic of pea-brained state legislators who balance budgets on higher education's back. Schwartz has even challenged Ohio Student Choice Grants, a cake-eater handout that gives $1,038 scholarships to residents enrolled in private colleges. By awarding the grants without regard for need or merit, the state might as well hand out checks to random mall-walkers.