Letter from President Baumann:
A Reflection on My First 100 Days
As I have reflected on the many amazing experiences and interactions that I’ve had during my first 100 days as Ohio Northern’s 12th president, I am energized and even more committed to serving the ONU community.
I appreciate all of the kind and welcoming students, alumni, friends, community members, faculty, and staff that I have had the pleasure of meeting. There are many more wonderful Polar Bears out there that I hope to connect with in the coming months. It was great to welcome alumni home during Homecoming Weekend and to honor several alumni at the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner.
On August 17, we welcomed more than 700 new students to campus. The average high school GPA of our new Polar Bears is 3.8, and approximately 81 % come from Ohio. We have students from 25 other states and 11 countries. They come to us from as close as main street and from as far away as Finland, Japan, Vietnam, Mongolia, Sierra Leone, and the Netherlands. Many of our first-year students have personal connections with Ohio Northern. For 57 of our legacy students, one or both parents graduated from ONU, and 27 students learned about Polar Bear Nation from their siblings, who also attended ONU.
When it comes to college rankings from trusted sources such as U.S. News and World Report, Ohio Northern remains high on the latest lists. Ohio Northern ranked 4th in the Best Regional Colleges Midwest Rankings and was ranked the 2nd Best Value among regional colleges. The College of Engineering in particular has cause to celebrate. The college ranked 21st on the national undergraduate-only engineering rankings, eight points higher than last year’s list.
These outcomes are the result of our talented, committed, and highly knowledgeable faculty and staff who help our students achieve both academically and in their post-graduate careers, and to our supportive University community as a whole that makes our institution so distinctive. Our students are encouraged to explore, fail, succeed, and experience joy, here, in an environment that fully supports their academic and personal growth.
Our institution is engaged in truly remarkable pursuits, such as high-impact learning, rigorous academic programs, faculty and student research projects, and corporate partnerships to name just a few. I look forward to learning more with each day. The commitment of our faculty and staff to making sure students engage in a robust academic and fulfilling co-curricular experience is exceptional, and I look forward to learning more about our Polar Bear’s academic learning experiences.
I am also truly humbled by the generosity of our alumni and friends who support our students and their educational pursuits. We recently announced the public launch of our Forward Together Campaign for Ohio Northern University. I am excited about the future of our institution because to date, $87 million has been committed to the campaign for student scholarships, teaching and learning excellence, facilities for the future, and the Northern Fund. Look for more details and ways to get involved at onu.edu/forward-together.
This fall, Ohio Northern is partnering with Benefactor Group, a Columbus-based consulting firm, as the facilitator for the Strategic Plan process, to build our ONU strategic plan, together as a campus community. Our strategic planning process involves four distinct steps: Discover, Dream, Design, and Deliver.
Looking toward the spring, the Presidential Inauguration is scheduled for April 12, ONU’s Founders Day. Planning is underway for our campus community to come together to celebrate these special events.
The Ohio Northern community has embraced me in so many ways. Working with faculty and staff to help ONU students find and become the best version of themselves is an absolute privilege. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
With Polar Bear pride,
Melissa J. Baumann