Barb Harrison to retire after 31 years at OHIO

Published: November 30, 2022 Author: Maya Meade and Jennifer Cochran

Barb Harrison, assistant director for community engagement and experiential learning, will retire in December after 31 years as a student affairs professional at Ohio University.

In her time at OHIO, Harrison has served in various capacities including positions in Residential Housing, the Campus Involvement Center, and most recently the Center for Campus and Community Engagement and the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning.

“Barb's commitment to students and the community is unmatched,” said University College Dean David Nguyen. “She has been a steadfast champion for students fostering their connections at OHIO and in the community. She will be deeply missed by all those who have interacted with her.”

Harrison earned a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications at Ohio University and a master’s degree in higher education from New York University.

While earning her degree and living in residence life housing at NYU, she realized she was doing what she loved and decided to pursue jobs in higher education. She had opportunities to work in higher education all over the country, but ultimately chose to return to OHIO.

For her first five years at OHIO, she served as a hall director on South Green, the same green where she served as a resident assistant while earning her undergraduate degree. 

In 1996, Harrison was promoted to associate director of Residence Life, a position she held for 14 years before transitioning to overseeing community engagement programming within the Campus Involvement Center. For the last several years she has supported community engagement and experiential learning in a position housed jointly in the Center for Campus and Community Engagement and the Center for Advising, Career, and Experiential Learning.

“I’ve had a really great career and I'm really proud of where community engagement is at Ohio University,” Harrison said.

Harrison said she will miss the daily connections with the students she serves. Talking to young leaders gives her hope for the future and keeps her sharp. She looks forward to continued community engagement after her retirement. 

In the community, Harrison serves as board chair for UCM Center for Spiritual Growth and Social Justice and as vice chair for the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens. She has been an active member of the Ohio College Student Personnel Association and Ohio Campus Compact.

“The position that I've had in community engagement has definitely been a rewarding part of my career, and it gave me a deeper understanding of the community,” she said.

University College and the Center for Advising, Career and Experiential Learning invite campus and community partners to join in celebrating Harrison and her contributions to OHIO and Athens at a reception on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 3-5 p.m. in Baker University Center’s 1804 Lounge. Please RSVP to