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Tuesday, Jun 27, 2017

Partly Cloudy, 63 °F

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President M. Duane Nellis wraps up a busy first week at OHIO


A new era began at Ohio University on June 12, as the OHIO community welcomed its 21st president, M. Duane Nellis, Ph.D., on his first day. Monday kicked off a busy week for President Nellis, who took the opportunity to interact with new Bobcats and their parents during Bobcat Student Orientation, as well as explore other activities happening on the Athens Campus with students, faculty and staff. 

In his first week, President Nellis began preparation for his first Board of Trustees meeting, to take place Thursday, June 22, and Friday, June 23, at the Zanesville Campus, as well as: 

  • Took his first ride on Athens Public Transit and registered for Bobcat Pass on National Dump the Pump Day
  • Attended a Farewell Reception for outgoing Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit
  • Met with the Ohio University Emeriti Association
  • Met with University and student leaders
  • Pledged to use $160,000 of his strategic reserves toward funding the Upward Bound program for the summer
  • Had an introductory conversation with local Athens media


To celebrate President Nellis on his first day, the Ohio University homepage displayed a wall of green to visitors, welcoming the University’s newest Bobcat and marking the special occasion on the institution’s online presence. On the Athens Campus, banners on College Green shared similar welcome sentiments for President and First Lady Ruthie Nellis. The OHIO community also welcomed President Nellis through social media, using the hashtag #Nellis1stDay on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to share messages and follow President Nellis’ first day agenda, which included: 

  • Receiving his Ohio University ID at Bobcat Depot
  • Joining Rufus to have breakfast with a group of University and Athens community leaders 
  • Visiting the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab in Scripps Hall, where he spoke with students and faculty about their work in digital game technology
  • Meeting with Distinguished Professor John Kopchick, Professor Nick Okada and student researchers at the Konneker Research Center at The Ridges to learn more about the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program and the work they are doing concerning growth hormones, obesity and diabetes
  • Connecting with incoming freshmen and their parents during lunch at Nelson Dining Hall 
  • Signing a declaration through the group We Are Still In that OHIO will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement, joining with presidents at 183 other colleges and universities across the United States 
  • Sending a message to the OHIO community sharing his first impressions after a busy first day and looking forward to the future 


President Nellis also announced the appointment of David Descutner to interim executive vice president and provost while the University embarks on a nationwide search process. Dr. Descutner most recently served in the role of interim president, and will continue to work closely with President Nellis in his transition in the coming months.