Diacon to leave University by end of semester, accepts job at Kent State

By Collegian News Staff

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Courtesy of Kent State.edu

University of Massachusetts Deputy Chancellor Todd Diacon will be leaving Amherst at the end of the semester. After 18 months at the flagship campus, Diacon will become the senior vice president and provost at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

Though Diacon’s time at UMass has been brief, he said he did not expect to be leaving so soon. The decision to do so was partly due to Chancellor Robert Holub’s upcoming departure.

“I planned on staying for a considerable amount of time at UMass,” said Diacon. “Those plans changed when Chancellor Holub’s contract was not renewed.”

Diacon was ushered into his position in 2010 at the suggestion of Holub, with whom he worked at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

“Because of our great working relationship, [Holub] asked me to join him here at UMass, which I was happy to do,” said Diacon. “That’s why I had assumed that when I moved here, I would be here for quite some time. When he was not renewed, that left open opportunities for me to seek employment elsewhere.”

Diacon said that a greater role in student affairs also played a part in his decision to move to Kent State.

“This is a great job at a great university,” he said of his upcoming job. “It’s in academic affairs, and I have vast experience in academic affairs. It’s really the heart of the university, so those were the attractions of the Kent State position.”

Diacon’s legacy at UMass involves his contributions to relations between the University and the town of Amherst.

“I spent a lot of work cooperating with town officials and members of the town Select Board to address issues of mutual concern between UMass and the town of Amherst,” said Diacon. “Those have been great discussions, and Amherst is really fortunate to have great town officials, and I’m proud to have played a small role in improving town-gown relations.”

This work can be seen in his leadership of the ‘Gateway’ Project, an urban development which aims to create more significant connections between the University and the town of Amherst and to develop a tract of land previously maintained by the University into a mixed-use, residential-retail cluster connecting the campus and Amherst Center.

The ‘Gateway’ Project plans to do this through “significant housing, diverse private commercial development, lodging, parking, and UMass functions,” according to a 2011 press release from the Amherst Planning Department.

While Diacon is satisfied with his contributions to the projecy, he is faithful in the ability of his successors to extend his efforts.

“I surely hope and completely suspect that they’ll continue on,” said Diacon. “They’ve laid a great foundation, and we have great people on both sides to keep it going after I leave.”

Diacon could not comment on who will take his position.

– Sarah Fonder, Collegian News Staff