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May 18, 2015 : Lancaster Campus Dean Speaks to Rotary
- Cheri Russo
Communications and Marketing Manager
Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster Dean Dr. Jim Smith spoke to the Lancaster Rotary Club during its weekly meeting on Monday, May 11.  Smith talked about the many ways the campus is growing.
“We’ve recently added degree offerings on campus. I’m always amazed at the number of the people in the community that don’t know about the many degrees we offer at OUL,” said Smith. “You can complete 11 bachelor’s degrees and 15 associate’s degrees without ever leaving the Lancaster Campus.”
Smith also talked about growth in the arts and culture events on campus.  The OUL Theatre recently finished its production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” and is now starting work on its community theatre production of “West Side Story” this summer.
“There have been 19 productions in the last five years,” said Smith. “Theatre students have been asked to perform at the Kennedy Center College Theatre Festival the last two years.  Director Victor Jones is doing an amazing job.”

The Covered Bridge Music Series is preparing for its next concert on May 23. Texas musician Ray Wylie Hubbard is performing with opening act John Evans. The partnership between OUL and the Lancaster Festival to bring music to the community year-round started about three years ago.
“The Covered Bridge Music Series committee is doing a wonderful job picking artists to bring to Lancaster,” said Smith. “After they perform here, many of them are getting national attention, and that’s great.”
Smith also told the crowd what a wonderful year it has been for OUL athletics.  Several OUL athletic teams won the Ohio Regional Camps Conference East Division and the OUL Women’s Basketball Team won the state title.
“It was a stellar year for athletics at OUL,” said Smith. “There is great work being done by our students.”
Finally, Smith talked about the upcoming conclusion of the three-year Promise Lives fundraising campaign at OUL.  About $2.5 million dollars has been raised for several initiatives. 
“We’ve raised nearly one million dollars for scholarships,” said Smith. “We have plenty of students with need because the cost of higher education is going up.”
Funds were also raised to build a new fitness center on campus, relocate the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts, renovate space on campus into a tutoring center, and renovate the student lounge area on the bottom floor of Brasee Hall. 
“The Bobcat Bistro construction work was done this past winter,” said Smith. “The fitness center construction is set to begin this fall.”