Former Ohio University President Roderick McDavis released his final presidential report Tuesday, chronicling accomplishments under his administration.
Increase in national prominence
McDavis reported OU as first in the nation for student satisfaction, and fourteenth in the nation of college and university “best buys.”
OU also fosters the right environment for bright students and faculty, McDavis said. The university is a top producer of Fulbright-award students and five professors were named members of the National Academy of Inventors during his time here. The Honors Tutorial College is ranked one of the top 20 programs nationally.
Increase in diversity
McDavis said his top priority when he assumed the presidency was increasing diversity. One of his first actions at the university was implementing the Ohio University Diversity Initiative. His administration also created the position of vice provost for diversity and inclusion. He also created the Urban Scholars and Appalachian Scholars programs to include students from a variety of regions. As a result, enrollment of minority students has increased by 170 percent, and international student enrollment is up 73 percent in the last 12 years.
Under McDavis’ presidency, initiatives like the OHIO Guarantee were secured into place, making college more affordable, he said. Beyond student cost, his administration has worked to ensure financial security under the Century Bond Debt Management Plan, which will generate $1.4 billion without debt over the next 100 years.
In addition, the Promise Lives Campaign raised half a billion dollars, $325 million of which will be used for faculty and research, academic programs and scholarships. Another $114 million will go toward building renovations and capital projects, which has been a main priority during his administration, with 12 new or renovated building projects and the first residence halls built in 30 years. The remaining $60 million will be used for other university programs.
Increased strategic partnerships
OU’s relationship with the City of Athens, which was named America’s Best College Small Town by USA Today, is the best it has ever been, McDavis said, with increased partnerships like joint safety patrol and improved public transit.
He has also worked closely with branch campuses. McDavis received the honor of 2016 Business Person of the Year from the Dublin Chamber of Commerce for all his work with the Dublin branch, including a partnership with the city to create a professional theater group. The university also has 20 regional community college partners where students can complete two years of coursework toward an OU degree closer to home.
Looking to the future
Although McDavis is no longer president, he said his aspirations for the university continue. In the report, he said he looks forward to the completion of the Campus Master Plan and a continuation of support for students, faculty and research.
Originally published for The Post on March 21, 2017.