from the desk of Harlan Sands

To our CSU Community,

Grace DrakeIt is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Senator Grace Drake, a beloved and respected member of our Cleveland State family. As the founder of the Ohio Center for the Advancement of Women in Public Service in CSU’s Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, she worked tirelessly for close to 20 years promoting the advancement of our students in public sector careers. Her efforts partnered close to 1,000 students with public and nonprofit mentors through the Center’s flagship Mentoring Program, many of whom have gone on to build successful careers, making significant contributions to our community.

Following her retirement, she continued to serve as Executive-in-Residence in the Levin College, championing program activities and serving as a mentor and advisor. Colleagues say that as recently as several weeks ago, she was advocating for funding to support the mentoring program.

She was also the inspiration for the newly created “Women’s Leadership Series” that features professional development workshops and showcases women in leadership positions.

Before joining CSU as Executive-in-Residence in 2001, Drake served in the Ohio Senate for 16 and a half years, representing Wayne, Medina and the southeast areas of Cuyahoga County. She was one of two women in the Ohio Senate when she took office in 1984, and while in office chaired committees on small business and economic development, health and human services and aging.

Focused on student success, Senator Drake used her vast network of connections to ensure the successful progression of CSU students, opening doors across the state to help start and advance their careers.

We are grateful for Senator Drake’s dedication, commitment and advocacy on behalf of CSU.

Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

Harlan M. Sands
Cleveland State University

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