University Community

A special message from President-Elect Lori Stewart Gonzalez

The following message was shared with the Ohio University community on Friday, June 30, 2023.

Dear Students, Families, Alumni, Colleagues, Community Members and Friends,

Tomorrow marks an important day in my life, and one I hope will be remembered with fondness in the long history of Ohio University. On July 1, I officially begin my service as your Ohio University President.

I have dedicated my career to public higher education, serving at institutions in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina and growing in my career from faculty member to Associate Dean to Dean to Provost. While that trajectory has helped me prepare for this role, I want you to know that this opportunity represents far more to me than a culminating professional position. I am a second-generation college student, raised in a small Appalachian town by parents who believed deeply in the power of education to shape our lives and in the responsibility we had to give back to our neighbors and to society as a whole. My whole life I have understood my personal mission and purpose to be service in and through education, and I consider it an incredible gift to have the opportunity to live that purpose as President of Ohio University.

With that in mind, my commitment to you is to share in and champion, always, OHIO’s commitment to our students and their success; to work hard and collaborate eagerly to uplift our faculty and staff so that they might do their best work; to see, hear and respond to the needs of our state with a particular focus on the Appalachian region where many of our campuses are located; and to remain focused on the difference we can and will make together as we pursue discovery and provide access to experiential education that changes lives and improves the communities we serve.

First, I have some homework to do. President Sherman has been incredibly gracious since my selection as President-Elect in March, providing me with weekly updates and briefings on important matters. In addition, since my move to Athens in early June, I have met with many University leaders and learned a great deal about major initiatives and important near-term decisions. But, I have a lot more to discover.

Over the next several weeks, as we prepare for the coming fall semester, I will spend significant time getting acquainted with our University and learning about some of our many unique initiatives and research. I want you to see and know what I am learning, so we will be posting about my activities on our OHIO social media accounts. Look for the #knowOHIO hashtag. If I’m missing something important, I invite you to post about it using the same hashtag, and my team will make sure I see your content and can connect with you to learn more.

As the fall semester gets underway, I will engage more broadly with stakeholders across the institution to begin work toward defining strategic directions that will move us forward. This process will not be a re-steering of the institution, which is already on an incredible trajectory. Rather, we will more clearly define our direction and pillars of excellence and set an ambitious vision for our collective destination.

Whatever goals we define together, I am confident that we can and will reach them. We certainly face challenges, here at OHIO and across the higher education landscape, but we will face them together and we will continue to meet our mission. I am confident in our success because we have proven it countless times before. We established the first university in Ohio, the first regional campus, the first distance learning program, the first Honors Tutorial College, the first osteopathic medical school, and the first tuition guarantee program. That’s just scratching the surface. The only question is, what’s next? I look forward to working with you to find the answer.

In service and with purpose, your President,

Dr. Lori Stewart Gonzalez

June 30, 2023
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