Dec. 17, 2007
By Joe Brennan | Photo by Rick Fatica
Ohio University's longtime director of legal affairs, John Burns, today announced his retirement. Burns will step down Jan. 1, concluding a career that spanned more than 38 years, the longest of any university lawyer in the state. He has served under five university presidents.
Burns, 63, is a graduate of Miami University and the University of Michigan Law School. He joined Ohio University in August 1969 as director of judiciaries, serving in that capacity until 1973. Meanwhile, the Office of Legal Affairs was created in 1971, and Burns was tapped to head that office as well. He also has taught courses in the colleges of Education, Business and Osteopathic Medicine and plans to continue teaching during his retirement.
"I've had a unique legal career," Burns said. "Over the last 40 years, our society has become much more legally complex, and this has created many challenges for universities. I have enjoyed working with the presidents, the faculty and the staff to help Ohio University respond to those challenges."
As the university's chief legal officer, Burns has played a role in many significant projects over the years. Among the most rewarding for Burns were those that helped boost the Athens economy, including creation of the university's Innovation Center business incubator and technology transfer program; establishment by The Ohio University Foundation of Athenian Venture Partners, which invests in regional businesses; and several real estate projects, including the 25-year effort to develop land along East State Street that formerly served as the university's airport. "I hope one of the last projects I've been involved with will result in a long-needed retirement center for our community," Burns said.
Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis plans to appoint interim leadership while a search is conducted for Burns' successor.
"I extend my sincere appreciation to John for his many years of service to our university, and I wish him a very happy retirement," McDavis said.