University Community

A spring semester welcome from President Gonzalez

The following message was shared with the Ohio University community on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.

Dear Bobcats,

What a beautiful, yet cold, kickoff to the Spring semester! I for one thoroughly enjoyed my first snowfall at OHIO.

Thank you to all of our Facilities Management and Safety members, across all of our campuses that experienced winter weather, who worked hard Monday night into Tuesday morning to clear roads and sidewalks so that students could make it safely to classes. That work continued into Tuesday particularly at Ohio University Southern, where the snowfall delayed the opening by a day. I also want to thank our dedicated faculty and our staff members in Residential Life, Culinary and other student support services who always work hard to ensure classes and services continue for all of our students – even in the midst of inclement weather or other distractions. 

Students: As you dive into to new courses and subjects, and especially for those of you who may be joining us for the first time this spring, here’s a quick reminder of my three simple tips for a successful semester:

  1. Go to class and be engaged. It may seem like an obvious recommendation, but especially on these dark and cold winter days you may be tempted to skip the lecture or group meeting. Don’t give in to the temptation! 
  2. Get involved. The college experience is just that – an experience. Some of the most important skills you learn while you are here will come from your experiences outside of class. 
  3. Ask for help when you need it. There are countless people on every one of our campuses, and on our OHIO Online team, who are here to support you. They sincerely love helping students, and they are just waiting for you to let them know you need it.

To our faculty and staff: I’m excited to continue our University-wide work on our Dynamic Strategy development this semester. If you haven’t engaged with the process yet, it’s not too late. You can find various surveys and input opportunities on our Dynamic Strategy website. Be sure to check out the individual pages for each work group to locate surveys for each. Our team assigned to the Mission and Vision refresh received more than 500 completed surveys from faculty, staff, students and alumni, and they just posted the results of their engagement. It is worth a read!

Even as we build our plan, we have several exciting developments already in the works to move our entire University forward:

  • We are nearing the final stages of launching OHIO’s first bachelor’s degree in Artificial Intelligence as well as a new degree in Cyber Security.
  • Our regional campuses recently achieved a milestone by securing the highly competitive Rural Schools Collaborative Catalyst Initiative Grant, which is a significant step forward in our goal to lead innovative projects that strengthen rural education. 
  • We are making progress on our Ridges Development Strategy with the goal of restoring sections of the historic property for private use. 
  • We are continuing planning and design for the College of Fine Arts renewal strategy and the construction of the Violet L. Patton Center for Arts Education.
  • We break ground in the coming months on our new Heritage Translational Research Facility adjacent to the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Athens Campus facilities.

While we plan our future and invest time and energy into these transformational innovations, let’s all remember our most important priority – the success of our students. We must continue to make time to meet with and listen to our students and provide the support they need. On this first week of classes, I encourage you all to pause and do just that. Check in with a student who may be struggling with the transition back to classes. Share opportunities for students to get involved with clubs, professional associations and career opportunities.  

Often times, a gesture of kindness or the creation of a personal connection can make a world of difference, and such interactions are what we’re known for at Ohio University. It’s why we’re different, and it’s why our students’ experiences here at OHIO stay with them for life. Thank you for all you do to make that true. It’s just one more reason I’m proud to be a part of this community.

Forever OHIO,

Dr. Lori Stewart Gonzalez 

January 17, 2024
Staff reports