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Ohio Wesleyan University Names Rock Jones, Ph.D., as 16th President

December 17, 2007

Rock Jones, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University today announced that Rockwell "Rock" Jones, Ph.D., executive vice president and dean of advancement at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., has been elected as Ohio Wesleyan's 16th president. Jones, 49, will assume the Ohio Wesleyan presidency in July 2008.

Jones, one of three finalists to visit the Ohio Wesleyan campus in recent weeks, succeeds Mark W. Huddleston, Ph.D., now president of the University of New Hampshire.

"Rock Jones' success in so many areas critical to Ohio Wesleyan – alumni relations and fundraising, admissions and retention, and student affairs – impressed the search committee immediately," said Kathe Law Rhinesmith, chair of Ohio Wesleyan's Board of Trustees. "His recent visit to campus with his wife, Melissa, reaffirmed and deepened that judgment.

"The search committee was unhesitatingly unanimous in its recommendation to the trustees that Rock become Ohio Wesleyan's next president, a recommendation that the trustees enthusiastically accepted," continued Rhinesmith, a 1964 Ohio Wesleyan graduate. "We are as thrilled that Melissa Jones and their children, Alissan, Christopher, and Anna, will join our community."

"I am humbled and deeply gratified to be selected to serve as president of Ohio Wesleyan University," said Jones, who has worked at Hendrix College since 1995. "OWU is blessed by a rich heritage as one of the nation's premier liberal arts institutions and has an extraordinary opportunity to build on that heritage. It was clear to me during my recent campus visit that everyone associated with OWU, including trustees, faculty, staff, students, and alumni, has great affection for the university. I am particularly impressed by the universal commitment of the OWU community to the mission of transforming the lives of students through an educational experience that touches every aspect of students' lives. Melissa and I look forward to becoming a part of the OWU family and to working with the entire university community toward its continuing advancement."

Like Ohio Wesleyan, Hendrix College is a four-year, private, residential, coeducational liberal arts college. Both have Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society chapters, historic ties to the United Methodist Church, and are praised in education expert Loren Pope's influential book, "Colleges that Change Lives."

At Hendrix, Jones has served as executive vice president and dean of advancement since 2001. In that role, he spearheaded a comprehensive campaign to reposition the college as a leader in engaged liberal arts education. The campaign included both visibility and capital components. In addition, Jones provided leadership in strategic planning efforts, taught in the college's Explorations program, and served on numerous faculty committees.

His previous responsibilities at Hendrix included serving as vice president for enrollment and dean of admission and financial aid (1996-2001), interim vice president for student affairs (1998-99), and chaplain (1995). Jones holds a Ph. D. in educational administration from the University of Texas-Austin, a master of divinity magna cum laude from the Divinity School at Duke University, and a bachelor of arts with honors from Hendrix, where he was the first recipient of the college's President's Medal, now presented annually to the student who best exemplifies the school's highest ideals.

In the local community, Jones has served as chair of the board of United Way of Faulkner County and serves on the board of directors of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre in Little Rock.

Michael G. Long, chair of Ohio Wesleyan's presidential search committee, said the committee was pleased with the level of national interest in leading the university and the caliber of the candidates.

"The search committee – comprised of faculty, students, trustees, alumni, and Interim President David Robbins – reviewed materials from an unusually large and strong pool of candidates, nine of whom we interviewed off-campus in November and three of whom visited Ohio Wesleyan this month," said Long, a 1966 Ohio Wesleyan graduate who also serves as vice chair of the university's Board of Trustees.

"Even as the committee found much to praise in all of our semi-finalists and finalists," Long concluded, "it was clear to each of us, to the board, and to the members of the campus community who met Rock, that he is absolutely the right person to lead Ohio Wesleyan to the next level of excellence."

Joseph Musser, professor of English and a member of the search committee, said: "All of us on the committee were impressed by the way that Rock Jones engaged everyone he met. Students, faculty, staff, and trustees were equally enthusiastic about him. He will bring a real sense of excitement to campus, and we look forward to working together with Rock for many years."

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book "Colleges That Change Lives," the private university's 1,850 students come from 40 states and 45 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.