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Bari Watkins

Bari Watkins

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Lancaster

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Ohio University mourns Bari Watkins, former Lancaster campus dean


Bari Watkins’s love of teaching, her energy, humor, and her community involvement are remembered as Ohio University’s Lancaster campus, the entire University and community mourn her passing.

Watkins, 64, succumbed to pancreatic cancer on Saturday.

Since becoming the first woman to lead the Lancaster Campus in July 2000, Watkins opened the stand-alone Pickerington Center on Stonecreek Drive, developed a campus master plan, worked to create new scholarships for students, fundraised for construction and renovation, and increased student enrollment.

After resigning the position of dean in 2003, Watkins became an associate professor of history at the Lancaster campus. She served as an associate professor until her retirement last November.

She also became involved in many civic activities and served on the boards of the Lancaster Festival, Community Bank, and the Lancaster Fairfield Chamber of Commerce. Her support of local initiatives earned her the 2001 Chairman’s Award from the Chamber of Commerce.

“In addition to being a well-respected historian and educator, Dr. Watkins led the campus through the master plan development process and eliminated a longstanding deficit in our operating budget. She also became very involved in local activities. We’re quite saddened; her death leaves a void on the Lancaster campus and in the community,” said Campus Spokeswoman Jennifer LaRue.

Prior to serving as dean on the Lancaster campus, Watkins was vice president and academic dean at Bradford College (Mass.), as chief academic officer at Morningside College (Iowa) and Queens College (N.C.). She also served as the director of the Program on Women at Northwestern University (Ill.) and as dean at Rollins College (Fla.).

She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Yale University and her undergraduate degree at Rice University. She also attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.

Watkins retired from the University on November 30, 2010.

She is survived by her husband, Bill Steinman, and his son, Billy.

A memorial service for Watkins will be held Friday, April 8, at 4 p.m., at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 107 Broadway East, Granville, Ohio. Watkins requested that memorial contributions be to The Lustgarten Foundation www.lustgarten.org/*.        

Related Links

The Lustgarten Foundation* Ohio University Lancaster

Additional Info

*Following this link takes you away from the Ohio University website.