After 30 years of service to Ohio University, 29 of those years dedicated to Campus Recreation, Rita LaValley, associate director of Campus Recreation, has announced she will be retiring in August 2017.
LaValley joined the University in May 1987 as an account clerk with Accounts Payable, in the basement of Scott Quad. After one year of service, she decided to make a lateral transition to Bird Arena and Recreational Auxiliaries. During her time in Campus Recreation, LaValley has watched the department transition from oversight in auxiliaries, to Patton College, to Campus Recreation and once more into the Division of Student Affairs.
In addition to the transition of departments, LaValley’s position with Campus Recreation has also evolved. She has held a variety of positions for the department including account supervisor, business manager, director of marketing and technology and, most recently, associate director of business operations.
“Recreation is a fun and active environment that produces positive outcomes,” said LaValley. “Daily interaction with the student population is exciting, and helping them in some way through their transition into adults is very fulfilling.”
LaValley’s most notable contribution to the department was the research, launch and development of a comprehensive recreational software, Innosoft Fusion, that changed how the department provides service and access to students across campus.
"Rita was instrumental in bringing the Fusion software to OHIO, integrating it into our operations and managing the ongoing developments," said Executive Director of Campus Recreation Mark Ferguson. "This software has enhanced the efficiency of Campus Recreation operations tremendously, giving staff access to better data and information that improves our work."
OHIO was the first to sign on to the Fusion software, which is now a market leader in campus recreation management software with over 200+ schools and colleges. According to LaValley, the opportunity to spearhead the development of this software is among her career highlights.
Throughout LaValley’s tenure with OHIO, her nurturing personality and desire to assist others was recognized through various awards within the Division of Student Affairs and Campus Recreation. In 2014, she was awarded DOSA’s Employee of the Semester for her dedication to students, staff and the mission of the division.
“Everyone surrounding her sees Rita as part of our department’s history, and she continues to serve as a constant resource of knowledge and compassion for both students and professional staff,” said Larrissa Becker, assistant director for marketing and communications with Campus Recreation. “She has a revolving door of people that are always looking for guidance both professionally and personally—and she always does it with an open door and a smile.”
"Rita's contributions to Campus Rec are immeasurable, not only by her successes in fulfilling her job responsibilities but by being the heart of Campus Recreation throughout the various changes, transitions and successes of the department ," Ferguson added. " Her genuine care and concern for others has made lasting positive impacts on countless students, colleagues and community members... We wish her nothing but the absolute best in her well-deserved retirement!"
LaValley’s plans for retirement include spending time with her family and traveling with her husband.
“I would like to thank everyone that has helped and worked with me during the last 30 years. You have been a very important part of my success at Ohio University,” said LaValley. “I am fortunate to have met and worked with you, and I am retiring with many happy memories.”