ALONG THE WAY: David Dix

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Kent State University continues to be ranked as Northeastern Ohio's largest university, according to Crain's Cleveland Business' annual "Book of Lists," which just arrived in the mail.

Listed in terms of enrollment, KSU comes in with 30,710 full-time equivalent students, its nearest rivals being the University of Akron with 21,842 students, Cleveland State University with 17,738, Tri C at 16,279 students and Youngstown State at 10,819 students. Annual tuition plus room and board at KSU is listed as $19,352, slightly less than Akron's $20,438

Area private liberal arts colleges make the list. Hiram is ranked 21st in size with 1,283 full-time equivalent students and the University of Mount Union at 2,141 students. NEOMED, or Northeast Ohio Medical University, shows an enrollment of 832, which makes it more than double the size of the original 400 medical students that were envisioned four decades ago as coming to Rootstown. Hiram's tuition plus room and board is listed as $38,925, Mount Union's is $36,130, and NEOMED's is listed at $46,525.

Education, perhaps Portage County largest employer, shows up prominently on Crain's Book of Lists nearly every year. Kent State's 5,257 employees makes it the 16th largest employer in Northeast Ohio. Our other two largest employers on the Crain's list are Robinson Memorial Hospital with 938 full-time equivalent employees, which puts it in the 92nd slot, and the government of Portage County, whose 934 full-time equivalent employees puts it in the 93rd position.

Banks, businesses listed, too

We are not as significant a player in the private sector of Northeastern Ohio, but we have a few local businesses that make the rankings.

On the largest Northeast Ohio banks list, Portage Community Bank, with estimated assets of $225 million, comes in at 18th. Hometown Bank, with estimated assets of $136 million, comes in at 11th on the "Largest Savings Institutions" list. Portage Community is ranked 10th on the list of Northeast Ohio's Top Small Business Association lenders with approved loans estimated at $5,508,100.

The list called "Largest Privately Held Companies" has The Carter Lumber Co., headquartered in Brimfield, with estimated revenues of $808 million, ranked as 10th largest in Northeast Ohio and The Davey Tree Expert Co., with estimated revenues of $680 million, as 12th largest. East Manufacturing in Randolph Township, with estimated revenues of $110 million, is ranked 38th.

Among manufacturers of Northeast Ohio, Newell Rubbermaid, headquartered in Mogadore, which last year opened its giant distribution center in Brimfield, is in 27th place, employing an estimated 1,000 full-time equivalent employees. East Manufacturing in Randolph shows up on that list, too, with 410 employees, which puts it in 47th place.

Portage County has one software developer in the largest local category in terms of employees. FeneTech, Inc. in Aurora, with 42 full-time equivalent employees ranks 21st. None of our local CEOs made the list of "highest paid."

Of course there are many much bigger companies operating in Portage County whose headquarters are elsewhere and many play constructive roles in the community over and above their own business concerns.

April date filling up

Elsewhere, those who like to support worthy local causes will have at least three choices to consider Saturday, April 5.

The Kent State Orchestra Society is holding its annual fund-raiser at the Student Center Ballroom. It usually draws a good crowd of those who want to promote orchestral and classical music.

The Kent City Schools Hall of Fame induction is planned for the same evening. It, too, is popular and for those being inducted has great appeal among their friends and well-wishers.

The Portage County Park District and its Foundation are holding their big fund-raiser that evening, too. It draws people from all over Portage County who are interested in parks and the environment.

Hiram's next leader

My comments last Sunday about the presidential search at Hiram College were clumsily stated. My apologies.

The point I was trying to make is that the skill sets of academia and administration/management differ and success in one does not automatically guarantee success in the other. Some people are strong in both. Others may be terrific in one, but not the other.

I do not know what kind of president Hiram College is seeking to succeed Tom Chema. I wish the search effort the best and hopes it lands Hiram College exactly the president it needs.

Most colleges and universities have their ups and downs in hiring presidents and both Kent State and Hiram College have certainly had their share of that. The right president at the right time can make a huge difference.

Ravenna book selling well

Last week, Friends of the Flagpole told me that "The Ravenna Record," the book by Roger Di Paolo, had sold more than 200 copies with several days of Christmas shopping still remaining. The more than 400-page book, beautifully designed and edited by Justin Barber, reprints many of Roger's popular Portage Pathway columns, some of them updated, that tell the story of those who during the 19th and 20th centuries contributed to making Ravenna the community it became. A similar book of Roger's columns that focuses on the Kent community, "Rooted in Kent," was published by the Kent Historical Society four years ago.

All of the proceeds from the Ravenna book, priced at $25, go to the campaign to repair and restore the historic, 150-foot steel-truss flagpole that has stood in front of the Portage County Courthouse since 1893. Proceeds from "Rooted in Kent" benefit the Kent Historical Society.

Locations selling "The Ravenna Record" include the Ravenna and Kent branches of Portage Community Bank; the Ravenna, Kent and Brimfield branches of Hometown Bank; Triangle Pharmacy, Copper Kettle Antiques, House of Holiday Ornaments and Susie K's in Ravenna; Walgreen's in Kent and Ravenna; McKay Bricker Gallery in Kent and at the Kent Historical Society and the Record-Courier.

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