By Tracy Galway
Alumni Robert and Margaret Walter of Columbus, Ohio, are donating $2 million for the purchase and renovation of a property that will house an international center at Ohio University, President Roderick J. McDavis said Monday.
The property, 15 Park Place, is the former Sigma Chi fraternity house, which sits immediately east of Baker University Center.
The Walters will be providing the capital to acquire the 10,000-square-foot home and land for $700,000. The sale is expected to close in December.
The Walters both graduated from Ohio University in 1967, Robert Walter with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and Margaret Walter with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. Robert Walter, who also received an honorary doctorate from Ohio University in 1997, served on the Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2005 and was chairman of the board from 2003 to 2005.
A Sigma Chi, Robert Walter said he was happy to facilitate the transaction on behalf of the fraternity and Ohio University.
"My fellow Sigma Chi alumni wanted to be good partners, to be respectful of the property at 15 Park Place and to do something good for the university and its international students," Robert Walter said. "I'm proud that Sigma Chi alumni came together in support of this project and am pleased to provide the capital to make it happen."
McDavis said the gift will support an important Vision OHIO priority.
"With the purchase of 15 Park Place, we will have a space that brings together the support services for international students and faculty and opportunities for international education,'' McDavis said. "It is an important project that will promote a welcoming environment and support diversity at Ohio University."
Once renovated, the facility will house an international center, which will consolidate services for the university's international students and faculty.
Services that could be moved into the facility include International Student and Faculty Services (currently in Baker Center), Education Abroad (Lindley Hall), the Office for the Associate Provost for International Affairs (Cutler Hall), visa processing (Baker Center) and international recruitment (McKee House).
Executive Vice President and Provost Kathy Krendl added, "Ohio University has an exceptional international heritage that will be strengthened by bringing together offices that provide essential international services. Thanks to the generosity of the Walters and the Sigma Chi Fraternity, Ohio University will continue to enhance its global presence and connections."