Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis

Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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Ohio University announces investiture of Dr. M. Duane Nellis to take place Oct. 18, complementary inauguration thematic days to be held Oct. 16-21

Mid-October inauguration events to focus on OHIO’s rich history, present-day excellence and promising future


The week-long inauguration celebration of M. Duane Nellis as the 21st president of Ohio University will feature an official investiture ceremony, a game day presidential tailgate, an historical campus retrospective and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with a strategic international partner during the week of Oct. 16. The inauguration events will take place two weeks following OHIO’s Homecoming celebration; the investiture ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

Additional details can be found at www.ohio.edu/inauguration.

Presidential Investiture Ceremony

The investiture of a new university president is a special ceremony with many traditions and protocols and is typically held in the president’s first year. An investiture includes an academic procession of delegates from other colleges and universities as well as the institution’s own faculty. The procession members wear the colorful academic regalia of the institution from which they received their highest degree, much like during commencement exercises. The investiture ceremony can include greetings from members of the University community, musical selections, and an official inauguration address delivered by the new president.

The investiture of President Nellis, as with prior ceremonies for Ohio University presidents, will include the conferral of the Medallion of the Office, along with the display of the Ceremonial Mace, which are both symbols of Dr. Nellis’ leadership role for the institution. Board of Trustees Chair Janetta King will present the official seal of office to Dr. Nellis, which represents the conclusion of the presidential search process and the Board’s unanimous selection of the new president.

“A presidential investiture is an important tradition that marks a significant milestone for any university,” said Chair King. “The appointment of Dr. Nellis to president gives us great optimism for the future of Ohio University. With a week-long celebration planned, we will appropriately honor the University’s accomplishments and our vision for the future under Dr. Nellis’ leadership.”

The investiture is expected to attract the University and Athens communities, alumni and friends, and academic leaders from around the state and nation. For those unable to attend, the investiture event will be web streamed and watch parties will be planned on OHIO’s five regional campuses so that all members of the Ohio University community can partake in such an historic event.

Following the ceremony, the celebration will continue with a reception on College Green and other celebratory events still in the planning stages. Additional event details will be released in the coming weeks; an updated, comprehensive list will be maintained at www.ohio.edu/inauguration.

Themes of Inauguration Events

The Ohio University Inauguration Planning Committee has named the following thematic days to highlight some of Dr. Nellis’ presidential priorities. The intent of these thematic days is to inspire members of the Bobcat family and friends of Ohio University to find their own unique ways to participate in the next chapter in the storied 214-year history of Ohio’s first university by planning their own corresponding events.

Inauguration Week Theme: Charting a New Direction

Monday, Oct. 16: "Our Past, Present and Future"
Tuesday, Oct. 17: "OHIO for Ohio"
Wednesday, Oct. 18: "Legacy Day"
Thursday, Oct. 19: "Sustainability Day"
Friday, Oct. 20: "A Day of Service"
Saturday, Oct. 21: "Bobcat Pride"

Dr. Nellis was officially named the 21st president of Ohio University on Feb. 22 after a months-long, national search process and a unanimous vote from the Board of Trustees; he officially took office on June 12. Dr. Nellis replaced Dr. Roderick J. McDavis, who served as Ohio University’s president from 2004-2017 and stepped down in February.

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Nellis has a progressive and broad career in higher education. He has served as president at Texas Tech University and the University of Idaho as well as provost at Kansas State and dean at West Virginia University.