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Wednesday, June 8, 2005
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President McDavis addresses media at June 8 press briefing

ATHENS, Ohio (June 8, 2005) -- Ohio University President Roderick McDavis met with the local media on June 8 to update them on the university's latest news and initiatives.

McDavis announced that the first class of 12 Urban Scholars has been selected. The program was one of the president's signature initiatives when he assumed the leadership of the university last summer. The first class of Urban Scholars will begin school next fall and includes students from the Youngstown, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati areas. The Urban Scholars program has taken off since McDavis announced that he and his wife, Deborah, would fund the first scholarship during his inauguration address in September.

The university set an initial fundraising goal of $80,000 to pay for 10, $8,000 first-year scholarships in the program. Due to the overwhelming success of the program, the university has raised the amount of each award to $14,000 and increased the number of first-year awards to 12. To date, the university has raised more than $900,000 in support of the Urban Scholars Program.

He formally announced that the university has selected University Cinemas of Athens, which was created and owned by local residents Emmett Conway and Rick Frame, to manage the Athena Theater. The theater, which has been owned by the university since 2001, will continue to show first run films as well as a mixture of independent films. It also will continue to host the annual Athens International Film Festival and the University Programming Council's midnight movies schedule. The theater has been managed for the past three years by Classic Theaters in Columbus, Ohio.

McDavis said he is looking forward to presiding over his first graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies as president of his alma mater. He surprised the media by announcing that he will walk with the College of Education graduates at the ceremony this year. Since Ohio University's commencement ceremonies in 1970 were cancelled due to the Kent State University shooting incident, McDavis wasn't able to participate in his undergraduate ceremony. He said he is looking forward to participating in Saturday's graduation ceremony as both president and as a student.

He praised Saturday's undergraduate commencement speaker Phoebe Beasley, an Ohio University alumna and world-renowned artist who will speak to approximately 3,000 graduates during the two ceremonies. He noted that she is the only artist to twice receive the Presidential Seal on her artworks. On Friday morning, approximately 850 students will receive master's and doctoral degrees during the graduate commencement ceremony at the Convocation Center. Ohio University Associate Professor of Communication Studies Daniel Modaff will be the speaker.

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