Ohio University held a groundbreaking for its Lancaster campus fifty years ago on April 16, 1967. The ceremony was attended by a crowd of 350 supporters, among them Governor James Rhodes, Ohio University President Vernon Alden, local attorney Kermit Sitterley, as well as three fifth graders from Tallmadge Elementary School representing the class that gave the first contribution to the $2 million project, a sum total of 38 cents.
“From those humble beginnings and limited offerings years ago, Ohio University Lancaster now offers many associate's and bachelor's degree programs that can be completed right here on the beautiful Lancaster Campus as well as the ability to begin more than 250 majors and finish in Athens or online,” said James M. Smith, Dean, Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington, "Decades later, we continue to provide the convenience of a small campus setting, the affordability of state-assisted tuition, and the relevant education for today's competitive job market."
Ohio University Lancaster was established as a branch of Ohio University in 1956 with classes held at Lancaster High School serving 295 students. From 1964-66, it was determined that a more permanent building was needed, as there were 600 students at that time but that was expected to expand to between 800 and 1000 by the time the building was completed for September, 1968 classes. Additional acreage was acquired from the Fairfield County Commissioners on the State Route 37 county home working farm site just two miles from Lancaster High School.
Lancaster was the fifth Ohio University regional campus to break ground with classes already in session at the Chillicothe, Belmont County, Portsmouth, and Zanesville campuses.