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News Release


Sen. Brown Hosts 2nd Annual Ohio College and University Presidents’ Conference
Brown Convenes Ohio College and University Presidents, Senate Colleagues, Education Secretary Arne Duncan to Discuss Higher Education Priorities

March 31, 2009

OWU President Rock Jones will be among the Ohio college and university presidents attending an April 1 higher education forum hosted by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Photo courtesy of OWU’s Office of University Communications
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will host his second annual college presidents’ conference in Washington, D.C., with Ohio Wesleyan University President Rock Jones, Ph.D., and more than 45 other presidents from colleges and universities across Ohio.

In addition to meeting with Brown, the presidents will meet with Arne Duncan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education; U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety; and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a former U.S. Education Secretary and college president.

“This conference is about crafting education policy in Washington that meets the needs of Ohio’s students and reflects the input of its colleges and universities,” said Brown. “By bringing together the presidents of Ohio’s institutions of higher education—both large and small, two-year and four-year—we all benefit. Last year, presidents shared best practices and began meeting regionally after the conference.”

  • Who: Sen. Sherrod Brown; Ohio Wesleyan University President Rock Jones; Ohio College and University Presidents; Sens. Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander; and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan
  • What: Sen. Brown Hosts Second Annual Ohio College and University Presidents’ Conference
  • When: Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Capitol Visitors Center (CVC), The U.S. Capitol, Room 210, Washington, D.C.
  • Live stream: brown.senate.gov/newsroom/multimedia/live_streaming/

For more information, please see below:

In April 2008, Sen. Brown launched this first-of-its-kind forum for Ohio college and university presidents and Congressional leaders to initiate discussion concerning common goals, needs, and opportunities in higher education. This conference was attended by 46 of Ohio’s college and university presidents. A full list of participants can be found here.

Building on the success of the first conference, Brown hosted a series of regional roundtables around the state. The roundtables brought together college presidents and regional business leaders for a discussion on strategies to combat the Ohio “brain drain.” Attendees discussed ways to train college students and Ohio workers for 21st century jobs and strategies to create and retain good-paying jobs in Ohio.

This second Ohio College and University Presidents’ Conference will focus on how to forge statewide partnerships to maximize federal investments, including economic recovery funding. Breakout sessions will explore how to expand higher education access and affordability, support opportunities for research and innovation, and connect higher education with high schools and workforce needs.

All of Ohio’s four- and two-year, public and private colleges and universities were invited.

“We must continue to make critical investments in Ohio’s higher education system. Ohio presidents can pave the way for rebuilding a secure future for our state and for our next generation. This conference is an integral step in turning Ohio’s economy around,” said Brown.

“I am pleased to join Senator Brown and presidents of other Ohio colleges and universities for a day to think together about the important role of higher education in the future of the state of Ohio,” added OWU President Jones. “Each of these institutions makes its own unique contribution to the landscape of Ohio higher education. Together, we have the opportunity to prepare a new generation of leaders and citizens who will serve our state in the new economy of the 21st century. More than ever before, higher education provides the foundation for the economic, cultural, and social advancement of our state. We are fortunate to have elected officials as well as institutional leaders who share a commitment to this important task.”

Brown, a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (H.E.L.P.) Committee, has led the fight to make federal investment in higher education a priority. Brown is the author of “The Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success (SECTORS) Act of 2008,” bipartisan legislation he introduced with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). This legislation would provide funding for workers seeking specialized training for emerging industries.

Brown authored six provisions included in the Higher Education Act (HEA) that passed in July 2008. His contributions include improving professional development, providing loan forgiveness for First Responders, investing in rural education, renewing underground railroad educational programs, expanding college access programs for low-income and minority students, preventing unethical Department of Education evaluations of at-risk students, and increasing assistance to student veterans. More information about Brown’s work on the HEA can be found here.

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.