The term ombudsman arose from Sweden, where it is a common word meaning 'the people's representative or agent'. The first ombudsman was appointed by King Charles XII in 1713 during a time of war to oversee public officials and make sure they carried out their jobs capably and according to the laws.
Over time the concept spread to the rest of the world. The United Nations views the activities of an ombudsman as a tool to help protect and promote international human rights. In the United States and Canada, ombudsman services have been established to assist those with concerns about administrative matters. The ombudsman function is used in state and local governments, nursing homes, universities and colleges, private industries, and most recently in agencies of the federal government.
During the nationwide campus unrest in the late 1960's and early 1970's, many universities established ombudsman offices to respond to demands for a neutral and confidential place to discuss concerns and complaints. More than 200 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada now staff ombudsman offices.
The Ohio University Office of the Ombudsman was established in the fall of 1970, following the campus riots and school closing in the spring of that year.
1970-74: Dr. Lester Marks, Associate Professor, English
1974-76: Dr. Carol Harter, Assistant Professor, English
1977-82: Dr. Lester Marks, Associate Professor, English
1982-91: Dr. David Heaton, Associate Professor, English
1991-97: Dr. Nancy Bain, Professor, Geography
Dianne Bouvier, Assistant Ombudsman
1997-2002: Dr. Butch Hill, Professor, Engineering
Dianne Bouvier, Assistant Ombudsman (until 2001)
Katherine Ziff, Assistant Ombudsman (beginning 2001)
2002-2008: Dr. Elizabeth Graham, Professor, Communication Studies
Katherine Ziff, Associate Ombudsman
Micah Mitchell, Graduate Assistant
2008-2010: Merle Graybill
2010-Present: Dianne Bouvier