Vol. 38, No. 18
Ohio State Newark celebrates golden anniversary
Organizers of the events say the community is an important part of the celebration because it has always played an integral role on the campus. In fact, if not for the support of the surrounding community, Newark might not have become one of Ohio State’s first regional campuses.
“We have had strong financial support and leadership from the community from the very first campaign, when more than $1 million was raised to construct Founders Hall (in 1968), to the current construction of the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center,” said Jennifer Roberts, director of development at Ohio State Newark.
In 1957, Thomas Southard, superintendent of the Newark Public Schools, learned that Ohio State wanted to create regional campuses. Noting that Newark was not among the proposed communities, he urged the Newark Board of Education to invite Ohio State to create a campus in Newark.
Newark Chamber of Commerce member Al Milliken met with Ohio State officials to discuss housing a regional campus. He was told he needed a location and $20,000 for expenses. Howard LeFevre and John “Jack” O’Neill were among the community members who stepped into action to begin fundraising.
On June 1, 1957, an administrative office was opened in a house in Newark. Individuals, civic groups and local businesses contributed by donating furniture as well as their time and talent, painting and preparing the building.
Their efforts were rewarded when the first classes began Oct. 1, 1957, at Newark High School. Among them was Richard Conner, who had graduated from Newark High that spring.
“I decided to attend the Newark campus the first instant I heard there was going to be one, and to my knowledge was the second student to make that decision,” Conner said.
Though illness made him drop out shortly after he enrolled, he remembers that his first class was chemistry — and that when he re-enrolled in 1961, his first class was introductory accounting.
Teaching those pioneering 80 students were eight faculty members who conducted classes in the evening. Course offerings included botany, chemistry, engineering, drawing, French, English, history, mathematics and psychology. It cost $10 per credit hour to attend; full-time students paid $150.
“The faculty was excellent for the most part, more personalized than typical at the main campus,” said Conner, who ultimately transferred to Columbus in 1963 to complete his finance degree.
In 1965, Robert Barnes was named the first full-time director of the school. In 1966, Licking County residents pledged more than $1 million toward the cost of land and construction of the first campus building. Founders Hall was completed in 1968 and classes were first held there on Nov. 20.
Since then, the campus has undergone a construction boom. From 1975-2004, nine buildings were added and a 10th, the innovative John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center, is expected to be completed in July 2008.
All the growth is due to the ever increasing enrollments, said Director of Campus Admissions Ann Donahue.
“Ohio State Newark expects the largest enrollment ever this fall — between 2,450 and 2,500. Some 1,250 of those are expected to be students new to the Ohio State system,” Donahue said.
Regarding the next 50 years for Ohio State Newark, Dean/Director William MacDonald said he expects community involvement to continue well into the future.
“I anticipate increasing the enrollment capacity to approximately 3,200 students, as well as increasing residential expansion, although we will always be a commuter-friendly campus,” MacDonald said. “And we would like to provide more degree completion programs.”
Ohio State Marion also is celebrating its 50th year of service and earlier in the year held a celebration.
OSU Newark historical highlights