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Claude R. Sowle, J.D., 1928-1997

Sixteenth President of Ohio University, 1969-1974

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Educated at Northwestern University, Dr. Sowle came to the presidency at age 40 from the deanship of the College of Law of the University of Cincinnati. He served during a period of great stress and change nationwide during the later phase of the Vietnam War and its aftermath, with its accompanying malaise of suspicion and cynicism, conditions that deeply affected the nation's universities. Even the University had to close due to riots during Sowle's first year. An advocate of openness in policy determination and administration, he sought through public forums to enhance understanding and support of higher education locally and throughout the state.

Enrollment and income declines forced critical reviews of programs, with adjustments to offerings and staff. Construction, purchase, and renovation of buildings continued, as did demolition of facilities that had outlived their usefulness. An equal opportunities office was created. A statement of aims for the University and improved accounting methods were developed and approved by the Trustees, as was a statement affirming the University's continued participation in varsity inter-collegiate athletic programs. Long-term leases for commercial development of unused lands were consummated.

Dr. Sowle left Ohio University to assume a professorship of law at Ohio State University and later became dean of the school of law at the University of Miami.

Dr. Sowle died in 1997 in Puerto Rico where he had traveled to inspect a law school for the Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association.

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