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Ohio Wesleyan University Celebrates the Inauguration of President Rock Jones

October 13, 2008

Rock Jones, Ph.D., addresses the crowd during his October 10 inauguration as Ohio Wesleyan University’s 16th president.
Photo by Doug Martin
Click here for a high resolution version. (1569k JPG)
DELAWARE, OHIO – Declaring “this is our time,” Rock Jones, Ph.D., was installed Oct. 10 as the 16th president of Ohio Wesleyan University, one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges.

“The mission statement of Ohio Wesleyan University indicates that we fulfill our mission when we are successful at three things: imparting knowledge, developing and enhancing certain important capabilities with our students, and placing education in the context of values,” Jones told the standing-room-only crowd gathered for his inauguration. “Never before has our world stood in greater need of an institution with this mission.

“Our world needs individuals who possess capacities of the intellect refined by a liberal arts education and sharpened by experiences in the world,” Jones continued. “We must prepare graduates empowered with the capacity to think critically and to communicate with clarity and depth; prepared to interact across the boundaries of culture and history; gifted with powers of empathy and discernment; and grounded with moral foundations and a keen understanding that there are better and worse ways to order one’s life and to order the life of one’s world.”

During his address, Jones also challenged the campus community and others to look for ways to enhance the rigorous educational opportunities already offered to Ohio Wesleyan’s 1,850 undergraduate students.

Jones, who took office July 1, has initiated a review of the university’s programming and will lead discussions to explore what he described as “even more opportunities for our students to test the theories of the classroom through engagement with the world.”

Enhancements to be studied include additional summer research and internship opportunities, increased opportunities in the fine arts, and expanded mission trips to increase service-learning opportunities for Ohio Wesleyan students. “Together,” Jones told the crowd, “we can engage our students even more deeply in designing their individual educational journeys.”

Beginning this week, Jones will take this message to even larger audience. From October through July, he will embark on a national “In Concert with Rock” tour. During the 30-city tour, he will meet with Ohio Wesleyan graduates, parents, and friends to discuss their thoughts about the university and its future.

As part of Ohio Wesleyan’s inauguration celebration, the university also hosted a national forum titled “Whither the Liberal Arts,” to examine the role of a liberal arts education in today’s society and in the future.

The panel discussion featured John Churchill, Ph.D., secretary of the national Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society; Elaine Hansen, Ph.D., president of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine; and Douglas Bennett, Ph.D., president of Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. Thomas Tritton, Ph.D., a 1969 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan and president of the Philadelphia, Pa.-based Chemical Heritage Foundation, served as the event’s moderator.

More details about Ohio Wesleyan’s inauguration celebration, including the full text of President Jones’ speech and Web streams of the both inauguration ceremony and the national forum are available online at inauguration.owu.edu.

Jones comes to Ohio Wesleyan from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., where he served most recently as executive vice president and dean of advancement. He succeeds Mark W. Huddleston, Ph.D., now president of the University of New Hampshire.

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 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.