Founders Day 2013
Lasting legacies that shape and bind
By Roderick J. McDavis, President
Feb. 18, 2013
Today, we celebrate 209 years since the Ohio General Assembly approved charter plans for the creation of Ohio University. It is a day to remember the collective vision of our founders and the will that was needed to establish our University as a place of promise and transformation in the Northwest Territory. 2013 also marks the 140th anniversary of the graduation of Margaret Boyd, Ohio University's first female graduate, whose contributions have paved the way for many generations of Ohio University alumnae.
Though she did not know it at the time, Margaret's educational pursuits have made a lasting impact on OHIO's identity. Her pioneering spirit resounds within our diverse student body. Her passion reflects upon Ohio University's commitments to access, opportunity, and inclusivity. In many ways, OHIO's historic mission of extending learning opportunities to under-served populations was influenced by Margaret.
Her story is just one example of how Ohio University's rich history continues to define our institution and its ideals. It is an understanding that binds Bobcats throughout time, a camaraderie that traces back through the centuries.
In celebration of our shared heritage, I am proud to announce that the Ohio University Online History Project is underway. Designed for students who are preparing for their first semester at OHIO, the multimedia site, which is set to launch in summer 2014, aims to provide a gateway to the college experience by encapsulating the rich 209-year history of Ohio University and the region.
Engaging new students with OHIO's unique and compelling history can help them to understand the historic richness of their newly selected institution. They are not simply visitors passing through Athens, but rather, they are citizens of a community founded long ago on principles that are still hallmarks today.
Understanding that they too now have a place and an active role—one that is theirs to craft in this distinctive community—can only move students toward further engagement with our institution. Made possible through support from the Executive Vice President and Provost's Office, the Ohio University Online History Project also holds the potential to positively impact students' identification with the institution and community-building efforts.
Today, as we commemorate our University's establishment, I encourage the entire OHIO community to delve deeper into our shared history. Take a moment to stand in Margaret Boyd's shoes as you read through her original diary entries from 1873. Pause to reflect upon the heritage of our University through the articles contained on our 2013 Founders Day website. Seek out Ohio University's Online History Project, a preview of which will be available in fall 2013. And reflect on the brave pioneers, who forged through the wilderness to settle in a place of relative unknown, with education as their sole reward.
By encountering the many treasures of Ohio University's past, you will experience our University and the opportunities it offers in a deeper way. And you will understand the great responsibility that each of us has undertaken as caretakers for its academic mission.