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OUS Proctorville Center director honored

PROCTORVILLE — One of the guiding forces of Ohio University Southern’s Proctorville Center has been honored by her academic and administrative peers.

Stephanie Burcham, director of the higher education facility, has been named one of OU’s Outstanding Administrators for 2010.

Burcham started her career coordinating the center in 1990 when the first full-service facility was housed in what is now the Chesapeake Community Center on State Route 7. Two years later classes were moved to the Proctorville village hall annex, where the university remained until 2007.

It was three years ago that the current modern one-story college was built off Cranford Lane, outside of Proctorville. It was a creation that came about from passionate community involvement, she said.

“The permanent facility is the thing I am most proud of,” Burcham said. “Each time I drive up the lane and come to work in the morning, I am reminded of all the hard work that came from so many people in the community.”

Burcham was one of three administrators receiving the accolade. Joining her were Karen Dearfort, associate director of the Culter Scholars Program; and Maureen Wagner, assistant director of the School of Theater.

Each woman was nominated by a colleague and then was interviewed by a committee on the main campus in Athens.

Dean Bill Willan sees Burcham’s love of people and deep involvement with the area as reasons for her success at her job.

“Stephanie is connected with the community in ways that other people can emulate,” Willan said. “She is always willing to go the other step to connect to bring people into her community. I think her strength is she cares about people and touches their lives.”

Burcham’s association with Ohio University began in 1986 when she became a student ambassador for the college.

“I was selected to go out and represent the university in the community,” she said.

She then went on to earn her bachelor’s of science in journalism with a specialization in public relations. Currently, she is working on her master’s in public administration at OU.

Burcham sees the Proctorville Center as playing a vital role in both the educational and social life of the village and the eastern end of Lawrence County.

“I think it is invaluable not only for delivering an outlet for students to get their college degree, but I am proud of the connection we have with the community,” she said. “Ohio University partnered with Fairland Schools to bring the first five years of Relay of Life. The OU and Fairland school partnership is something I am proud about.

“At Ohio University Proctorville Center we are connected to our community, whether it is in a leadership role or a service role. We are a focal point for the community and that makes the job exciting.”