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Courtice Announces Retirement from Ohio Wesleyan University Presidency


January 7, 2004

[ Tom Courtice Photo ] DELAWARE, OHIO -- Ohio Wesleyan University President Thomas B. Courtice announced today that he will retire from the presidency late this summer, 2004.

Courtice, Ohio Wesleyan's 14th President, came to that position before the start of the 1994-95 academic year after serving eight years as President of West Virginia Wesleyan University. He also served as President of Westbrook College in Maine for nine years before that. Courtice's grandparents graduated from OWU in 1905, providing what would be a contributing factor years later in his decision to come to Ohio Wesleyan.

"My ten years at Ohio Wesleyan have offered some of the most meaningful challenges and most gratifying accomplishments possible, and my 27 years as a college president have provided me with an incredible privilege," says Courtice.

Some of those challenges and accomplishments experienced during Courtice's leadership at Ohio Wesleyan have involved the ever-present competition for students, the need to enhance the quality of life at OWU, the constant drive to sustain excellence in OWU's teaching and learning opportunities, and the need to increase the university's endowment and raise funding for programs and campus facilities. Courtice first had to achieve financial equilibrium at the institution, initiating a restructuring program that reduced expenses and increased revenue, while maintaining the full range and quality of OWU's program.

"Tom Courtice has provided extraordinary leadership for Ohio Wesleyan during his decade of service to the University," says Phil Meek, chairperson of Ohio Wesleyan's Board of Trustees. "Thanks to him, OWU is in far better shape today than in anytime in my 20 years on the Board. He has assembled and motivated an outstanding group of senior administrators, inspired all of the University's constituencies, and been an indefatigable fund raiser in his own quiet way. He and his wife Lisa have been an ideal 'first family' and we will miss them deeply."

Under Courtice's leadership, OWU's endowment has almost tripled; numerous campus buildings have been renovated, enhanced, and expanded; the academic portion of the budget has grown by several million dollars; the authorized faculty number has increased from 118 to 142 (full time); and the university completed a $100-million capital campaign, exceeding the goal by $5 million. Courtice has also been instrumental in the success of the admission office's rejuvenated efforts to aggressively recruit talented and able OWU students.

"I am proud of the people I have hired at OWU, as well as those who were here before I arrived," says Courtice. "This has been more than just a job for me. I have been able to work within a quality community of people who are involved in and supportive of the life of the college. I trust my efforts will allow future OWU students to benefit from this environment."

Courtice plans to begin work with Academic Search Consultation Service later this summer. Academic Search is the oldest and largest firm in the nation dedicated to assisting colleges and universities in searches for presidents, chancellors, and senior academic officers.

"The opportunity to apply my experience in an endeavor that helps match individual skills and talents with the leadership needs of colleges and universities, particularly at the presidential level, is an attractive challenge," says Courtice.

Ohio Wesleyan's Board of Trustees will organize a Presidential Search and Selection Committee beginning immediately, chaired by Trustee Kathe Rhinesmith. Their work should be completed before the beginning of the 2004-05 academic year.