Home Education McDavis Discusses October Festivities, Residence on WATH ‘Party Line’

McDavis Discusses October Festivities, Residence on WATH ‘Party Line’

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President Roderick McDavis joined Athens radio station WATH’s “Party Line” Thursday to discuss Ohio University’s busy month of October, including Homecoming, Halloween and President Barack Obama’s visit.

The conversation also covered McDavis’ involvement with Gov. John Kasich’s commission to review higher education and rumors of whether the McDavis family actually lives on campus.

McDavis was pleased with how smoothly Obama’s visit to campus operated; commenting on how 14,000 attendees surpassed the estimated 10 to 12. He and his wife Deborah had the opportunity to meet with the president and talk about both athletics and academics. Both were impressed by Obama’s knowledge of OU.

“This is not a partisan deal. This is simply saying a sitting President of the United States of America came to Ohio University,” he said. “That had not happened in 48 years.”

The Obama campaign handled all logistics such as barriers and stands. The cost of the event is still unclear, but McDavis expects that an estimation will be available by next month. He emphasized that many workers were hired locally and that local businesses saw long lines and packed seats before and after the event.

“We feel like it had a positive economic impact on southeast Ohio, so it wasn’t just a matter of having to pay, but it was also a matter of generating revenue,” said McDavis.

McDavis spoke about how he, the mayor and the police chiefs all agree Halloween is under more control than ever.

“There’s a sense now that the young people in town, even those who visit, get Halloween,” said McDavis. “It’s about having a good time.”

He thanked first responders, police and all those who made the evening safe.

“That’s been my big concern about Halloween for the past nine years,” he said.

Conversation also included Homecoming weekend, with a successful parade and satisfied alumni.

“People just had a great time,” he said. “Athens could not have looked better. It was just one of those classic fall weekends where the trees look great, the city looks great and people just had a wonderful time.”

McDavis touched on OU enrollment, noting that he is satisfied with an increase of out-of-state, international and minority students. He mentioned that international enrollment dropped in years following 9/11 due to difficulties obtaining visas, but the amount of students is now somewhere around 1,500.

“We’re right on track with where we want to be,” he said.

He mentioned that both the average ACT score and average GPA of students has gone up, suggesting an increase in quality as well as quantity.

“We’re not just going out trying to fill up academic programs with anybody, we’re finding quality students,” he said.

Conversation shifted to his involvement on a commission Gov. Kasich’s created to examine higher education comprising of presidents of two and four year universities.

“Our goal is to give the governor a formula for funding higher education that will be more outcome oriented,” he said.

The commission hopes to have a plan on the governor’s desk by Thanksgiving, a looming deadline due to a new legislature and biannual budget approaching in 2013.

“It’s rare that institutions and the leadership of institutions are asked to come up with a funding formula, but the governor has asked us to do that,” said McDavis.

And as for rumors of the president and first lady living somewhere outside of Athens, McDavis said that they are not true.

“In our contract it states very, very clearly that the president and first lady shall live at 29 Park Place,” said McDavis. “Maybe we need to put a sign on the front door that says, ‘President and First Lady Live Here.’”


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