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Chamber welcomes new OUS dean

the tribune/brandon roberts Rodney Young serves ice cream to Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin on Tuesday during an ice cream social and Reception welcoming new Ohio University Southern Dean Dr. Nicole Pennington at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

the tribune/brandon roberts
Rodney Young serves ice cream to Chesapeake Mayor Dick Gilpin on Tuesday during an ice cream social and Reception welcoming new Ohio University Southern Dean Dr. Nicole Pennington at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.

SOUTH POINT — In mid-April Dr. Nicole Pennington was named the first female dean of Ohio University Southern and as the beginning of the semester looms, the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce hosted an ice cream social and reception on Tuesday in South Point in her honor.

The event’s purpose was to welcome Pennington to her position and wish her well in her endeavor.

“She’s really been instrumental in starting a lot of the things at the university,” Larry Anderson, chamber president, said. “(One of her accomplishments is) increasing the board pass rate in the nursing program from 72 percent to 97 percent.”

Pennington is no stranger to recognition; she was honored as a regional higher education outstanding professor for the 2011-2012 academic year.

“Thank you for this wonderful event,” Pennington said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to serve as dean. I’ve been at the Southern campus since 2006 so I’m not new; I’m just new to this role.”

Pennington said she enjoyed her time teaching nursing and will continue as an instructor for at least one course per year and is “excited” to remain involved in nursing education.

“I’m looking forward to working with you all and please don’t hesitate to contact me when you have ideas on how we can partner and how we can work together,” Pennington told the crowd. “I think there are lots of opportunities we can explore and new degrees we can look at to better serve our area and certificate programs. So, be thinking along the lines of how we can best serve you.”

Executive Director of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation and former OUS Dean Dr. Bill Dingus gave Pennington some encouragement and words of advice.

“If we can enhance our quality of life, create jobs, create family and create values then many of the other problems of our area will take care of themselves,” he said. “I know your commitment to the students, to the whole student, and the community as a larger picture and we appreciate that. We look forward to many of the ideas of how the university, the LEDC and some of the other businesses and agencies can partner to enhance everyone’s quality of life.”

Pennington’s husband, John, is a retired Ashland, Ky., firefighter and current business owner. She has two sons, Jacob, 18, who will study criminal justice at OUS this fall, and Nicholas, 16, a junior at Russell High School in Russell, Ky., where Pennington was born and raised.