OUS dean likes new president

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 22, 2004

It did not take long for incoming Ohio University President Dr. Roderick J. McDavis to win over the dean of the southern campus, Dr. Dan Evans.

Former President Robert Glidden announced his retirement last September. The Ohio University Board of Trustees announced his replacement last week. The Board of Trustees will formally elect McDavis as the 20th president of the university in June. With his appointment effective July 1, McDavis will take over full-time duties by August.

Evans, who served on the 20-member Presidential Search and Screening Committee, had the opportunity to meet with McDavis several times during the process and walked away impressed.

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"As an alum of OU, he is deeply committed to Ohio University," Evans said. "He mentioned how proud and honored he is as an alum to come back and really make a difference."

The Dayton native earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Ohio University in 1970. Currently, he is provost and vice president for academic affairs and a professor of education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

"He is very engaging, charismatic and has tremendous communication skills. No doubt, he has proven himself as a great leader at two major universities," Evans said. "He is well-experienced and already has a passion

for OU that most people have to develop over time.

"He truly brings with him a burning desire to move Ohio University to the next level."

All three of the finalists had unique strengths and personalities. Each could have stepped in as a tremendous leader, Evans said, but McDavis' passion and charisma helped him rise above the others.

The regional campuses were able to participate in open forums via teleconferencing. McDavis received very favorable reviews from the staff at OUS, Evans said.

"Again, because he is an alum, he has a knowledge of what the regional campuses are and what their missions are," Evans said. "I was particularly impressed with McDavis. He had a little greater understanding himself and is deeply committed to the access mission, the commitment to first generation students and reaching out to the communities."

McDavis is the second alumnus to lead OU, the first since William Henry Scott held the office from 1872 to 1883.

"I am very honored and deeply humbled to accept the position of president of Ohio University. It's a very unique and special opportunity to be able to return to my alma mater as president," McDavis said in a written release. "My wife, Deborah, and I look forward to coming home to Ohio and Ohio University and the Athens community. We want to work with others to help lift Ohio University to the next level of excellence."

McDavis earned his master's degree in student personnel administration from the University of Dayton in 1971 and his doctorate in counselor education and higher education administration from the University of Toledo in 1974.

In addition to a variety of other positions, he served as dean of the College of Education and professor of education at the University of Florida and the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.

McDavis has won numerous awards during his higher education career. In 1995, he was named Person of the Year in Education by "The Gainesville Sun." He was named the 1996 Outstanding Alumnus of the Ohio University College of Education.