A holistic approach

Osteopathic physicians realize that without an understanding and focus on the person as a whole, treatment cannot be successful. Yesterday, as I welcomed the Heritage College’s Class of 2018 at its 39th Convocation and White Coat Ceremony, I couldn’t help but wonder if this “whole-person” approach also explains the transformative power of our osteopathic program.

Through rigorous academic training, cutting-edge research and transformational service learning opportunities, the Heritage College’s holistic approach to medical education is transforming healthcare one student at a time – across two (and soon to be three) campuses in Ohio. The result is caring, compassionate physicians who are fully prepared to tackle the complex health issues of our time. For Ohio University’s newest aspiring osteopathic physicians, the journey began this weekend.


The Class of 2018 comprises 140 students who will study in Athens, as well as our first class of 50 students to study at our new Dublin campus. 91 percent are from Ohio; 25 percent are first-generation college students; and 22 percent are minorities. But all, in some way, shape or form, will improve the human condition.

In the words of Dean Burke: “You have chosen a great college, at a great university, at a great time in our history.” We look forward to your transformation and the transformation that your medical careers will surely inspire!


Kids on Campus

If you have been on Ohio University’s Athens campus this summer, you have likely encountered Kids on Campus – a 6-week summer camp serving school-aged children from Athens and Perry counties. Today, Deborah and I had the pleasure of joining Kids on Campus at Byrd Arena – where we engaged with the more than 200 campers over lunch.

Kids on Campus_July 22 2014_1

While Deborah and I had informal conversations with the children about their experiences, some of my staff had the opportunity to talk University policy with the kids. Here are a few of the kids’ suggestions:

  • “Have a ton of field trips.”
  • “Let all kids into the pool for free, even if they don’t know how to swim.”
  • “Make everyone share some of their food.”
  • “More math.”
  • “Clean sidewalks and good managers.”
  •  “Make sure everyone was ‘satisfacted’ with everything at OU, and that everyone was happy.”

And my personal favorite…

  • “Make sure all kids can go to school and grow up and do whatever they want.”

I couldn’t agree more!

Kudos to the Kids on Campus staff and volunteers for their commitment to children in Southeast Ohio! With your help, Ohio University is providing educational opportunities to children of every background and socio-economic status, fostering skills to be successful in school and in life. Thank you for all you do! Thanks also for a lunch break that Deborah and I won’t soon forget!

Kids on Campus_July 22 2014_2




National spotlight

In a few moments, I will be heading into the editorial offices of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the final stop of our 2014 National Media Tour. The past two days have been a whirlwind – but a deeply rewarding whirlwind, to be sure! In addition to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet with reporters at The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. (Quite an impressive line-up, I must say!) Below is an iPhone snapshot of yesterday’s interview with Washington Post Higher Education Reporter Nick Anderson (compliments of Renea Morris, Executive Director of University Communications and Marketing).

Washington Post Interview

It’s been a true pleasure to share our story – a story of triumph in the face of adversity. At a time when many universities have been hindered by the critical budgetary, operational and regulatory challenges facing higher education, Ohio University has thrived. We have emerged from economic downturn as a stronger University. Today, we are revered as a highly sought-after educational partner, an economic driver and one of the nation’s leading public research Universities. As a result, we are expanding our footprint, growing our enrollment and actively addressing societal needs.

I attribute this success to foresight. Over the years, Ohio University has worked strategically and tirelessly to develop comprehensive initiatives to face modern-day challenges and position our University for success. Our story is an example to the higher education community, as evidenced by the national media interest that we are attracting.

Over the course of this two-day tour, the media has taken great interest in initiatives like the Innovation Fund, OHIO’s Strategic Enrollment Management Campaign and, perhaps most notably, The OHIO Guarantee. They want to understand the smart growth principles that fuel our success. They want to understand how we are achieving record applications and unprecedented enrollment amid difficult circumstances and tough economic times.  And it is my hope that they share our story.

Bobcats, each of you plays an important role in Ohio University’s story – a story that is an inspiration to the higher education community… and a daily inspiration to me. Thank you for all that you do to make our Ohio University a national model of success!


Top-10 OHIO Memories

In celebration of 10 years, I’ve decided to implement a little blog tradition. Let’s call it “Ten on the 10th.” On the 10th of each month, I will post a Top-10 list of some sort relating to our University. For starters, here are my Top-10 OHIO Memories:

1) My inauguration in 2004

2) Our campaign goal attainment

3) The opening of the Academic & Research Center

4) The opening of Adams Hall

5) President Obama’s campus visit

6) OHIO’s “Sweet 16″ appearance

7) OHIO’s first Bowl Game win

8) International Street Fairs

9) A Night in Athens event in New York City

10) My first Homecoming Weekend in 2004


Be sure to check back on August 10th for my next “Ten on the 10th.”



A glimpse of what’s coming

With the launch of my new blog, I’d like to take a moment to give you a glimpse of what’s coming…

This isn’t going to be your standard University update. Rather, I’m hoping to provide insights and personal reflections on our great University and my experiences – the ins and outs of my presidency, snapshots of my day-to-day life, recollections of my student days, and occasionally anecdotes from my encounters with you. I’ll post as my schedule permits – every few weeks to be sure, but hopefully more often.

We will have many important discussions in our University community, but I’m also looking forward to mixing in some fun, light-hearted conversations through this blog. I welcome your readership, your ideas and your support as I take this blog – and our University community – onward and upward.


10 years and counting

Dear Bobcats,

As you may know, today marks my 10-year anniversary as President of Ohio University. It’s hard to believe that a decade has come and gone since my first day at the helm of my beloved alma mater. But the anniversary video provided by the Ohio University Trustees at its last Board meeting certainly made it feel real. Take a peek…

Bobcats, thank you for your companionship and support during these past 10 years. What a journey it has been! Just look how far we have come together, as a University community. And yet, we have so much more to accomplish.

In the past few months, I’ve done a good deal of reflecting – and an even greater deal of planning and goal-setting for the future. As my presidency starts its second decade, I remain committed to expanding opportunities for engagement with students, faculty, staff and community members. Through Open Office Hours, Conversations over Coffee with faculty, Bobcat Coffee Hour with students, guest lectureships, and engagements with organizations across campus, I’ve sought to strengthen relationships with our University community. Today, with the launch of my new blog, I’m hoping to further those connections with the addition of yet another line of communication.

Thank you for lending your ear (or should I say, your computer screen) to my first blog post. I’m looking forward to sharing memories, reflections, insights and anecdotes “From the President’s Desk” in future weeks…