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Library - ursuline college
About the Ralph M. Besse Library

A Brief History


ralph m beese The Ralph M. Besse Library was opened in Fall of 1985. The library was named for a benefactor of Ursuline College. Ralph Moore Besse was a trustee and cherished friend of Ursuline College for almost three decades. His first association with the college occurred in 1963, when he became involved in the fund raising drive to build a new campus and to move the college from its location on Cedar Hill to Pepper Pike.

In 1968, Mr. Besse joined the Board of Trustees as a charter member and later served as a Trustee Emeritus until his death. Mr. Besse's career in law and business included a partnership in the law firm of Squire, Sanders, and Dempsey, and serving as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mr. Besse contributed to a wide variety of local, state and national causes. His contributions to higher education have been particularly noteworthy. In addition to his service to Ursuline College, he was also a trustee at Heidelberg College and Case Western Reserve University. He was a long time member of the Cleveland Commission on Higher Education, serving as Chairman for many years. He also served on the prestigious Carnegie Commission on the Future Structuring and Financing of Higher Education and played an instrumental role in the establishment of Cuyahoga Community College.

Ralph M. Besse died on October 25, 2002.