History of the term 'Ombudsperson'

The term ombudsperson arose from Sweden, where it is a common word meaning 'the people's representative or agent'. The first ombudsperson was appointed by King Charles XII in 1713 during a time of war to oversee public officials and make sure they carried out their jobs capably and according to the laws.

Over time the concept spread to the rest of the world. The United Nations views the activities of an ombudsperson as a tool to help protect and promote international human rights. In the United States and Canada, ombudsperson services have been established to assist those with concerns about administrative matters. The ombudsperson function is used in state and local governments, nursing homes, universities and colleges, private industries, and most recently in agencies of the federal government.

History of the Ombudsperson at Ohio University

During the nationwide campus unrest in the late 1960's and early 1970's, many universities established ombudsperson offices to respond to demands for a neutral and confidential place to discuss concerns and complaints. More than 200 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada now staff ombudsperson offices.

The Ohio University Office of the Ombudsperson was established in the fall of 1970, following the campus riots and school closing in the spring of that year.

Ohio University Ombudsperson 1970-Present

1970-74: Dr. Lester Marks, Associate Professor, English

1974-76: Dr. Carol Harter, Assistant Professor, English

1977-82: Dr. Lester Marks, Associate Professor, English

1982-91: Dr. David Heaton, Associate Professor, English

1991-97: Dr. Nancy Bain, Professor, Geography
Dianne Bouvier, Assistant Ombudsperson

1997-2002: Dr. Butch Hill, Professor, Engineering
Dianne Bouvier, Assistant Ombudsperson (until 2001)
Katherine Ziff, Assistant Ombudsperson (beginning 2001)

2002-2008: Dr. Elizabeth Graham, Professor, Communication Studies
Katherine Ziff, Associate Ombudsperson
Micah Mitchell, Graduate Assistant

2008-2010: Merle Graybill

2010-2013: Dianne Bouvier

2013-2016: Judith Piercy

2016-Present: Mac Stricklen