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President McDavis addresses media at August press briefing

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 1, 2005) -- Ohio University President Roderick McDavis met with the local media on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at Cutler Hall to update them on the university's latest news and initiatives.

McDavis talked about the profile of the incoming freshmen class, which will be around 4,200, more than 400 more than last year's freshman class. He said the university has the needed residence hall space to accommodate the large class because many of the rooms will be restored to their original capacity. He stressed that an official headcount would not be available until the 10-day headcount is compiled.

The president announced that more out-of-state and multicultural students in this year's class. The university expects an increase of 132 multicultural students in the incoming class. He said 357 multicultural students are in the incoming class, compared to 225 a year ago. The African-American class is projected to grow by nearly 100 students. The number of Hispanic, Latin and Native American students has also increased.

He credited the largest freshman class in school history to a more focused recruitment effort that has included: more involvement from the faculty, visitation programs, increased phone calls, receptions in major cities in the state and nearby cities, a redesigned Web page and an online chat room for admitted students and their parents.

McDavis announced his goals for the coming year. He says he wants to implement the Vision Ohio Strategic Plan, begin an Appalachian Student Scholarship Program, expand the Urban Scholars Program to students outside of Ohio, continue to grow enrollment, especially among multicultural and out-of-state students, decrease alcohol abuse and increase research expenditures. He also announced that the new multi-screen movie theater soon to open on E. State Street has been named the Athena Grand.

The president also unveiled the new Ohio University Web Site's Front Door. He said he believes the new page is one of the best in the nation. He also said that he was excited about the new Ohio University 30-second television ad that will be shown on ESPN2 at halftime of the Bobcats' home game with Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 9.

McDavis said the university intended to improve its 2006 rankings in the U.S. News and World Reports rankings. This year, Ohio University was ranked 52nd among public universities and 109th in national universities, after being ranked 46th and 98th in those categories last year. He said the university would especially focus on improving in the ranking areas of peer assessment and selectivity.

He mentioned that he was disappointed in the Princeton Review Party School rankings, because they were not based on the proper criteria. He said he doesn't know how the rankings listed Ohio University as the second best party school in the nation because the university didn't provide students to be surveyed. He highlighted some of the civic responsibility and health and wellness initiatives that the university has in place that are focused on reducing high-risk drinking and irresponsible behavior.

McDavis reminded the media that he will join Dean of Students Terry Hogan in welcoming new students to campus at 1:15 p.m. on Thursday, the first day of the move-in process for students at the residence halls.

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Media Contact: Senior Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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