Ohio University President Announces Retirement in 2017

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Ohio University President Roderick McDavis says he’ll retire in June 2017.

McDavis made the announcement Thursday afternoon in a speech at Walter Hall. He’s served as president for 12 years.

“Serving as president of my alma mater has definitely been the highlight of my career,” an emotional McDavis told the standing-room-only crowd.

In his speech, he recognized his wife, Deborah, for being by his side through the various phases of his career.

Before being hired on at OU in 2004, the 1970 OU alumnus served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1999 to 2004.

He also served as dean of the College of Education at the University of Florida in the mid-90s, and director of the Arkansas Academy for Leadership Training and School-Based Management at the University of Arkansas.

He is currently a member of the advisory board for the Children’s Defense Fund in Ohio, a member of the Board of Directors for The Athens Foundation and a member of the Commission on International Initiatives for the American Council on Education.

But throughout a career that led him throughout the country, McDavis said his time at OU  – as a student and as an administrator – has been the most rewarding.

“These past 12 years have been the best 12 years of our career,” McDavis said, referring to his professional career and life with his wife.

McDavis as been praised for the amount of funding brought into the university during his time in office, including The Promise Lives campaign which raised $500 million by its deadline of June 2015. He has also faced controversy during his tenure, including protests related to the lease of a new presidential home on Coventry Lane moving him away from the previous Park Place presidential residence.

With 16 months left in his term, McDavis said he plans to continue working to raise enrollment, bring more donations into the university and see the comprehensive master plan through.

“I know the future is bright,” McDavis said. “I’m excited about what we still can accomplish together.”

McDavis said he’s making the announcement now in order to give the Board of Trustees plenty of time to conduct a national search for his replacement.

Trustee Chairman Sandra Anderson expressed the board’s appreciation for the amount of time McDavis gave them to find a replacement, but said the outgoing president was “leaving might large shoes to fill.”

Anderson called McDavis a kind, considerate and “unfailing” Bobcat.

“I’m quite confident Roderick J. McDavis will go down as one of the best presidents Ohio University has ever had,” Anderson said.