ATHENS — Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis will be leaving the university ahead of his previously announced departure the university announced on Friday.
McDavis was announced as the new Managing Principal and Chief Executive Officer of AGB Search effective March 1, 2017. His final day at Ohio University will be Feb. 17, 2017.
In March 2016, McDavis announced he would be stepping down as president of Ohio University at the conclusion of his contract, which ends June 30, 2017. He also shared he was open to exploring other employment opportunities in the higher education field. Since his announcement, the Ohio University Board of Trustees has been actively engaged in a search for the 21st President of Ohio University.
McDavis said in a news release, “This opportunity with AGB Search came forward faster than I expected it to and Deborah and I did not feel it was a position I could turn down. I would not have accepted this position if I did not have the full support of the Board of Trustees or if I felt it would negatively impact or destabilize the university in any way. We have a very strong team in place from faculty to staff, administrators, deans, and executive leadership and the university is poised in a very strong position of continued success.”
In a message to the Ohio community, Ohio University Board of Trustees Chair David Wolfort commended President McDavis for his many accomplishments at Ohio University and assured the community that the Board would work with President McDavis to ensure a smooth transition.
“The Board has always been impressed by the level of professionalism and courtesy that President McDavis has exuded and this situation was no different. He has assured us that he has no plans to step aside until there is stability in leadership and the University community should rest assured that there will be,” said Board of Trustees Chair David Wolfort.
In his own message to the Ohio Community, Dr. McDavis said, “Serving as president of my alma mater has been my life’s greatest achievement and it is with a heavy heart that I accept the reality of leaving. My first priority is the continuing success of excellence at Ohio University. I will continue to work with the Board of Trustees as we move through this transitional phase. I still remain committed to Ohio University and my future employer understands and supports my commitment to ensuring there is stability in leadership before I depart.”
Wolfort says the naming of an Interim President will be accomplished at the Jan. 20, 2017 Board of Trustees meeting while the search for OHIO’s 21st President will continue. Board Chair Wolfort said, “The Board of Trustees has been well prepared for this development. I foresee no changes in our search timetable and look forward to the inauguration of the twenty-first president of Ohio University.”
He and the Board will share more updates with the OU community as more information becomes available.
President McDavis is only the second OU alumnus to ever serve as president and the first African American. Over the past 12 years, Dr. McDavis has led Ohio University to record enrollment growth, the recognition of three Centers of Excellence by the state and the naming of three academic colleges. Under his leadership, The Promise Lives fundraising campaign surpassed its goal, raising half a billion dollars by its conclusion. In addition, President McDavis steered several affordability initiatives for the University, including The OHIO Guarantee and The OHIO Match programs.
President McDavis also oversaw the construction of five new residence halls and creation of programs that support efficiency and innovation on campus, across the state and throughout the world. His commitment to diversity at OU has resulted in the creation of the vice provost for diversity and inclusion position and the implementation of the Ohio University Diversity Initiative to enhance minority and women faculty and staff recruitment. Dr. McDavis spearheaded the creation of the Urban and Appalachian Scholarship Programs, among other efforts, which led to notable increases in the number of African-American, minority and international students.
An event will be planned in the spring semester to provide an opportunity for the university community to share well wishes with Dr. and Mrs. McDavis and thank them for their many years of commitment to Ohio University.