David Descutner

Interim President David Descutner

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A message from Interim President David Descutner


The following message was sent by Interim President David Descutner to the Ohio University community on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017.

Dear Bobcat Family,

In my first communication as Interim President, I want to offer a personal letter of appreciation to the Ohio University Board of Trustees, to everyone who has so warmly responded to the announcement of my appointment, and to President Emeritus Roderick J. McDavis for what he has meant to the university and to me.  

Let me begin by thanking the Trustees for their invitation to serve as Interim President and for their confidence in my ability to manage the responsibilities of the position and facilitate the transition of our new president. I have been making presentations to the Trustees and regularly attending their meetings since 2001. As an educator and administrator, it has meant so much to witness our Trustees’ individual and collective commitment to Ohio University, their investment in our academic mission and institutional success, and their interest in always meeting students and faculty when they visit campus. I am grateful for this opportunity and pledge to do my best.

I am grateful as well for the outpouring of praise and support from faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and members of our campus communities around the state. These kinds of messages remind me of what a privilege it is to work at Ohio University and to live in this wonderful, historic community filled with remarkable people and surrounded by so much natural beauty. Thank you all for your words of encouragement and your expressed willingness to partner with me to advance our university, together.

Allow me finally to express my appreciation for President Emeritus McDavis, who has been a great colleague and a dedicated advocate for the need to improve the student experience. He made it clear early on in his tenure that he wanted an enhanced experience for students on all of our campuses, and he was a strong champion for the initiatives and programs that we developed to meet that need. Critical to the success of our efforts were President Emeritus McDavis’ accessibility to students and his presence at events where we were celebrating students’ achievements. He always took time to know students as individuals and offer them advice, and he was always eager to meet students that I referred to him for guidance. A perfect example of his genuine devotion to students occurred this past week at a gathering of the Margaret Boyd Scholars, which is an extraordinary program designed to encourage young women to become effective leaders. Dr. and Mrs. McDavis were there, as they always are, and each student shared her educational experience and personal aspirations. It was so memorable to see how much it meant for these young women to receive such heartfelt attention and affirmation. 

Just as memorable was another event this past week when I joined Dr. McDavis at the Inter-University Council meeting of presidents from the other four-year public institutions in Ohio. I had the honor of hearing first-hand from the other presidents about the impact that Dr. McDavis has had on higher education in Ohio. President after president shared with me not only how much they will miss him but also how he has mentored so many of them and been so effective in standing up at the state level for the value of higher education. 

I want to close on a personal note. President Emeritus McDavis has been a true colleague who has provided me with unequivocal support and keen advice, and he has always welcomed my perspective even when it diverged from his own. I’ve treasured his grace, good will, and kindness and will forever be grateful for all that he has done to elevate his university, my university, and our university.

David Descutner
Interim President