Clark State Community College will hold a dedication ceremony for the new Karen Rafinski Student Center at 10 a.m., Wednesday, August 19 on the Leffel Lane Campus. The Student Center dedication will be held in Ryan’s Place, named for Rafinski’s late stepson. Groundbreaking for the 17,620-square-foot center was held in November of 2013. The building will connect Rhodes Hall with the Library Resource Center (LRC).
“The dedication of this building to Dr. Rafinski reflects her commitment to student success,” said Clark State President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin. “Students who use this facility will be reminded of her hard work on their behalf.”
Dr. Karen Rafinski served as president of Clark State for 16 years. Her tenure ended in June of 2013. “She was very successful in garnering external funding from grants and contracts,” said Joe Jackson, vice president for business affairs. “She led the institution during two accreditation visits from the Higher Learning Commission, both resulted in ten-year accreditations, the longest possible.”
Rafinski also secured a federal Title III grant used to implement online learning at Clark State in the late 1990s. She led a major gifts campaign that raised funds for the construction of the Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center which opened in 2011 and construction of the Sara T. Landess Technology and Learning Center which opened in 2007.
Jackson said Rafinski was instrumental in leading Clark State to open the Greene Center Campus in Beavercreek, Ohio, in 2007. “She left the institution with a strong financial position,” he said.
Rafinski received numerous professional awards including Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award by the Ohio Diversity Council (2011), Outstanding Community College President by the Association of Community College Trustees (2008) and Leader of the Year by Community Leadership Association (2005).
She was also presented the inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. award from the City of Springfield and Clark State in 2013.
The new Rafinski Student Center, named in her honor, features a bookstore; dining area; academic and student support services, such as computer labs, tutoring, testing accessibility services, advising and small group study areas. There are areas with wireless access and charging stations for electronic devices.