Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones announced his plans to retire after the 2022-2023 academic year on April 11.
The President held a Zoom meeting alongside John Miligan, who graduated from OWU in 1983 and serves as chair of OWU’s Board of Trustees, to share the news. A video of the meeting was shared with the campus community afterwards.
President Jones will retire after serving in the role for 15 years, making his tenure the second longest in school history, only second to the inaugural president, Edward Thomson.
In discussing this change, President Jones expressed his gratitude for his time at OWU. “I would not have traded this opportunity for anything in the world,” he said.
The President also shared the value he and his wife have found in the campus community. “The most significant enrichment of our lives has come through the relationships we’ve been fortunate to form here,” he said.
Despite announcing his plans to leave OWU, President Jones emphasized that he will continue his current work, including work toward improving student experiences, a commitment to building an inclusive campus, and maintaining financial sustainability, for the next year.
“What’s next for me now is another lap in the relay here at OWU,” he said. He likened the succession of presidents to that of a relay race, and said he is announcing his plans a year in advance to ensure the success of the process to choose the person that will receive the baton.
The selection process will be conducted by the Board of Trustees, which has created a search committee to head the effort. Kara Trott, a 1983 graduate, will serve as chair of the search committee. The search committee will include around 15 people, and comprise of trustees, faculty, students, and members of the administration, according to Miligan.
President Jones and Miligan both stressed the importance of campus participation in the selection process. Town halls and other opportunities to hear from candidates will be held in the upcoming year, and engagement from the campus community will be key in making the decision.
“It’s very important that people attend and help us in understanding what’s best for Ohio Wesleyan, for the future,” said Miligan.
The effort to name the next president typically lasts for 9 or 10 months, and the Board of Trustees hopes to announce President Jones’s successor by this time next year.
The Board is confident that the foundation built by years of excellence from faculty, staff, students, and administrators will attract qualified candidates.
“When candidates look at this, they’ll see a very strong institution, one which they can grow from and strengthen further, with new strategies for the 21st century, for educating, and for building more leaders for the next generation,” he said.