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Thursday, September 18, 2003
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Ohio University President Robert Glidden details progress, announces plans to retire at annual address

ATHENS, Ohio -- While detailing Ohio University's ongoing initiatives and challenging faculty, staff and students to continue efforts to strive for excellence, President Robert Glidden, 66, used the occasion of his annual State of the University address to announce his plans for retirement, effective June 30, 2004.

Named the 19th president of Ohio University in 1994, Glidden said, "It is with a certain degree of sadness that I announce my plans for retirement. My wife René and I have called Athens and Ohio University our home for the last 10 years. When I began my tenure here, my hope was to elevate Ohio University's profile nationally, to live up to our reputation as the very best, most caring, personal kind of place for a quality undergraduate education, to enhance our research capability and to use our university expertise to help the economy of Southeast Ohio. I believe we have made good progress in each of those areas. But while it's time for René and me to embrace new challenges in our lives, there is much for us to do yet this year as we celebrate the university's bicentennial."

The university's Board of Trustees accepted Glidden's announcement to retire with regret.

"On behalf of the board and the entire Ohio University community, I wish to express the most profound sense of gratitude and appreciation for Bob Glidden's inspired leadership over the last 10 years," said Robert Walter, chairman of Ohio University Board of Trustees. "Under his guidance, we saw an active and aggressive melding of teaching, research and service. He guided the university's advancement in technology. He has also spearheaded the most successful fundraising campaign in Ohio University's history. He leaves the institution uniquely positioned to enter its third century as a national leader and innovator in education."

In his State of the University speech, Glidden built upon his five-point mission statement, set forth in his 2001 address, which he will actively pursue in his remaining time as president. He challenged the university community to continue to raise the expectations for student engagement and achievement, develop a culture of assessment and accountability and embrace inclusiveness to build a shared sense and commitment to community.

Glidden said he hopes to align the initiatives of the Academic Quality Improvement project, general education revision and enhancement of student engagement, and streamline and facilitate the process of course approval for the revised general education program.

"I want the university to continue to find new niches and opportunities for distinctive graduate offerings, intensify graduate student recruiting and develop graduate programs that couple with baccalaureate programs to offer a five-year plan in disciplines where that is possible," Glidden said.

He said the university continues to emphasize, expand and improve residential learning communities. "We must also explore ways in which our students can appreciate and learn from the diversity on campus."

By involving students in economic development and other regional service activities as much as possible, the university can continue expanding its service and outreach to the region, Glidden said.

Glidden hopes to devise and implement a new indirect cost distribution plan to assist sponsoring colleges, departments, centers and institutes; maintain support and emphasize undergraduate involvement in research; and continue to support and encourage regional higher education faculty in their research efforts.

As president of Ohio University, Glidden has championed a general education initiative designed to create a curriculum anticipating the needs of students and society.

"The development of the new general education program and its completion will be a real source of pride and joy. I'm a great believer in breadth of education because most of the students leaving school now will be working at something different within 10 years of graduation," said Glidden. "A broad, liberal education that teaches you to think critically, encourages you to question and opens your mind is our most fundamental mission."

Wiring the university's campus to bring it into the 21st century in terms of the use of technology, creating a climate of open communication and information sharing within the administration and with the general public, inaugurating the Civic Virtues Program to bring together members of the university, Athens and the region with prominent speakers to talk about the civic virtues that define American ideals and values, and supporting economic development in Southeast Ohio are all among his other achievements as president.

Prior to joining Ohio University, Glidden served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Florida State University. During his career he has been a member of the faculties at Wright State University, Indiana University, The University of Oklahoma and Bowling Green State University. He was a university dean for 16 years in two different institutions and also served for three years, 1972-75, as the executive director of the National Association of Schools of Music and National Association of Schools of Art in Washington.

A native of Iowa, Glidden received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, all in music, from the University of Iowa.

He has been a consultant or evaluator for more than 60 colleges and universities across the United States and has delivered papers on various aspects of American higher education in both Europe and Asia.

Walter announced that the search for the university's 20th president would begin immediately with the selection of an appropriate search firm to aid in the process of selecting a successor who can effectively build upon the achievements of Dr. Glidden and continue to advance the institution.

First steps include the articulation of qualities desirable in Ohio University's next president and the formation of an inclusive search committee to be chaired by Walter, with the goal of naming a new president in time for that individual to assume the responsibilities on July 1, 2004.

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Editor's Note: The archived video Webcast of the State of the University address is available at www.ConnectLive.com/events/ohio.

Photos of Glidden delivering the address can be downloaded from the Web at

Contact: Hub Burton, associate vice president of University Communications and Marketing, (740) 593-2200, or Media Specialist Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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