OU President Meets With Regional Mayors To Strengthen Relationships

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — Ohio University President Hugh Sherman met with mayors at regional campuses last week, in what was called a “good first step” in his goal to strengthen OU’s relationship with southeastern Ohio.

Sherman met with the mayors of Athens, Chillicothe, Ironton, Lancaster and Zanesville last Tuesday. Among the topics discussed were different academic programs that could be implemented across the university’s campuses and ways to use campus facilities as resources for the respective communities.

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson said the meeting helped establish better communication among all involved parties.

“It was, I think, vitally important to those mayors because they, one, wanted to express some concerns or challenges that they had experienced in their regional campus cities,” Patterson said. “But two, also reach out and say, ‘How can we help (the university)?’”

Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler said he was able to discuss establishing a preschool to work with an early childhood education program on the Lancaster campus with mayors who already have preschools like this in their communities.

Scheffler welcomed the changes already underway a few months into Sherman’s two-year term, which began in June.

“I had had several interactions with (former OU President Duane Nellis) before but nothing where we sat down in a room for two hours and had a discussion about how we can help each other,” Scheffler said.

Zanesville Mayor Donald Mason said he raised concerns about making sure the needs of regional campus students are met.

“We’re finding students don’t want to give up their jobs as they receive their education,” Mason said. “One of the things we talked about with the president of the university was how students within our regional areas can continue to work on their associate’s or bachelor’s degrees and yet at the same time have employment.”

Patterson said that it also allowed a space for the mayors to see if they could work together on different things going forward.

“At the regional campuses,” he said, “there are opportunities for some collaborations on say, job fairs or things like that on the campuses or other uses of campus facilities.”

The meetings are scheduled to happen on a quarterly basis, with the next happening in November.