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president nellis commemorates inauguration with a patton legacy leaf

On Oct. 18, as part of his inaugural festivities, Ohio University President Duane Nellis placed the first “Legacy Leaf” on the wall next to The Patton College of Education’s Legacy Tree. Housed on the first floor of renovated McCracken Hall, the tree is the symbol of the Patton College, while the Legacy Leaves, a new fundraising initiative, are engraved leaves mounted on preserved wood from the original building.

During Inauguration Week, each day had a special theme, and on this particular day—the day of the official Presidential Investiture Ceremony—it was “Legacy Day.” Presenting President Nellis with the first Patton College Legacy Leaf was an ideal way to commence the day’s ceremonial events.

“I’m so honored to start our day in The Patton College of Education, which is really the cornerstone of this University in so may ways—not only today, but as we look to our future and the way in which we train our teachers and impact our communities in our region,” Nellis said at the morning ceremony in McCracken. “This College, in every way, whether it’s through the education programs, whether it’s the outreach programs, (whether it’s) the research and creative activities that go on, is truly a leader not only in our region and in our state, but our nation.”

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On Legacy Day during Inauguration Week, President Nellis places the first Patton College Legacy Leaf on the wall next to the College's symbolic tree.



McCracken Hall, which underwent a $32.8 million renovation, re-opened in January. The tree, an artistic highlight of the building, represents life and legacy—past, present, and future.

"The tree is symbolic of everything we do,” said Renée A. Middleton, dean of The Patton College. “We derive strength from our roots and believe in a proud past, we believe in the legacy that has been established by those who came before us, and we touch each succeeding generation with our ever-growing branches.”

The tree, Middleton said, is sturdy yet flexible. It is the foundation of the College and adapts to sustain life on campus and in the community.

“By learning from the natural wisdom of the tree, we honor an enduring legacy as we work to create, draw on, and communicate significant knowledge to a new generation of professionals,” said Middleton. “Our students acquire knowledge from our College but also from colleges across the Ohio University campus. Our learning community comes together to prepare educators and human service professionals who will in turn go on to prepare future communities of learners and professionals.”

Legacy leaves are not only symbolic, but also an opportunity to donate to The Patton College. Bronze, silver, gold, and platinum leaves can be purchased for $500, $1,000, $1,500, and $2,500, respectively. The funds go directly to the College’s Building Maintenance Fund to support the structural upkeep of the building

“In a time when state support for higher education is declining—and it’s been declining over the last 15 to 20 years—philanthropic support is instrumental in moving this College and our University forward in strategic ways,” said Nellis. “I’m very proud to be able to place the first leaf here and be part of this special day.”

McCracken Hall, which hadn’t been renovated since it was built in 1959, added a fourth floor and roughly 34,000 square feet to its original structure, not to mention modern technologies and meeting spaces, as well as green-friendly features and architecture. The renovation has—and will—enhance the learning experience of students for years to come.

“Through the leadership of Dean Middleton and many others, this building has been transformed into a state-of-the-art facility that is truly on the cutting edge as far as what it provides to our students and the next generation of educators,” said Nellis. “I’m so honored and humbled to be part of the Ohio University family. I truly love this University and this community.”

For more information on acquiring a Legacy Leaf, go to

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Leeding the way: mccracken hall's energy and environmental design initiatives are chronicled on a third-floor wall and display

From state-of-the-art classrooms to modern meeting spaces, McCracken Hall’s $32.8 million renovation will give Patton College students a 21st-century learning experience for years to come. It will also a teach them a thing or two about the environment.

Indeed, The Patton College’s green-friendly renovation can be felt throughout the building and is summarized on its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Wall, which is located on the third floor. The wall contains various icons and blurbs, as well as an interactive monitor that allows visitors to learn more about the building’s environmentally friendly features, including Ohio University’s first green roof, which uses rainfall to conserve water and sustain plant life. Other informative topics include, Tradition, Innovation, Building Reuse, Energy Efficiency, Technology, and Community Connectivity.

“The Patton College’s commitment to sustainability is evident in the newly renovated and expanded McCracken Hall project,” said Sam Crowl, Ohio University’s sustainability project coordinator. “Under the leadership of Dean Renée A. Middleton, Patton College staff prioritized the LEED process and incorporated sustainability throughout design and construction phases.”

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Dean Renée A. Middleton demonstrates the LEED Wall display, which contains numerous stories on the McCracken renovation and LEED elements of the building.

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community meets various environmental metrics, including energy savings, water efficiency, and stewardship of resources.

McCracken Hall scores high in these areas. In addition to a green roof and outdoor terrace, the building features LED lighting, which eliminates toxic mercury, and made thermal improvements to exterior walls and windows, which will lead to 40 and 45 percent energy savings on heating and cooling, respectively. The building will also realize, at minimum, 30 percent water reduction, and half of the electricity used in McCracken Hall is generated by renewable energy, such as wind and solar.

The original infrastructure, meanwhile, was also an exercise in reuse. Instead of demolishing McCracken Hall and constructing a new building from scratch, more than 90 percent of the original building’s exterior walls, roof, and floor structure were retained. The Patton College also sought to preserve green space around McCracken Hall. Despite losing 30 trees during construction, the College saved numerous trees and planted 44 new ones. The renovation also called for the installation of dozens of bike racks to encourage emissions-free commuting.

McCracken Hall is expected to receive LEED Gold certification for its efforts. Gold is the second-highest of four LEED ratings: certified, silver, gold, and platinum.

Under Ohio University’s Sustainability Plan, all building and renovation projects budgeted at or above $2 million must achieve LEED Silver certification or higher. The University defines sustainability as “the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

Dean Middleton applauds the University for that message.

“The Patton College’s core values center on serving society responsibly to create a better future, and we cannot do that without respecting the environment,” she said. “As a College and as a University, we must set an example for our students.”

The new McCracken does exactly that. The building lives out The Patton College mission, and the LEED Wall informs all who encounter it.

“The sustainability wall and monitor do an outstanding job of educating the community about LEED and the sustainable features of the project,” said Crowl. “If not for Dean Middleton, this innovative feature might never have been implemented.”

McCracken Hall was recognized with “Outstanding Design” award from “American School and University” magazine. See story here.

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