Ohio Northern University will celebrate the inauguration of its 12th president, Melissa J. Baumann, Ph.D., during an investiture ceremony to be held Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at 3 p.m. in King-Horn Sport Center’s field house. The public is invited to view this private campus event via livestream on the University’s website at www.onu.edu.
A week-long inaugural celebration will also include other events for the campus community, such as a “Women in Leadership Panel,” a chapel address from Bishop Gregory V. Palmer, and an Alumni Service Day. April 12 will also include ONU’s Founder’s Day Celebration, an annual day of giving that assists ONU’s students by advancing scholarship, research, the arts, athletics, and more.
The inauguration formalizes President Baumann’s Ohio Northern journey that commenced in July 2022, when she succeeded retiring President Daniel DiBiasio. Since arriving to campus, President Baumann has directed intensive campus-wide endeavors intended to maintain the University’s strong academic offerings while flexibly positioning it for future exceptionalism. ONU’s five-year, student-focused Stronger Together Strategic Plan represents the institution’s “north star” moving forward. A campus master plan is also being developed that will embrace a transformative structural vision to best serve students’ evolving educational and extracurricular needs.
“My first months as ONU’s president have been extraordinarily rewarding,” says President Baumann. “Working alongside so many individuals who are committed to providing a strong, yet flexible foundation for our students to reach their fullest potential is inspiring. This academic year has been characterized by ambitious goal-setting with a team of proven leaders representing all areas of our beautiful campus. I’m thankful for the warm reception I’ve received and for the enthusiasm of collaborators who have come together to re-envision our future. This work hasn’t been easy, but much continues to be accomplished thanks to a great deal of thoughtful discourse and a sense of purpose and love for dear ONU. I’m looking forward to being a part of the important transformations that are beginning to shape our future and follow in the footsteps of the eleven presidents who came before me. It’s always a great day to be a Polar Bear!”
“Ohio Northern University is very fortunate to have President Baumann with us to offer direction and her distinctive insight,” says ONU Board of Trustees Chair Pamela Hershberger, BSBA ‘87. “Her vast experience, optimism, and motivation have already resulted in fundamental changes that are benefiting our students and our campus as a whole. We’re confident that, with President Baumann’s continued leadership, ONU, and all those whom it serves, will excel in unprecedented ways.”
"During President Bauman's time here at Ohio Northern University, I have been appreciative of her transparent nature surrounding various topics on campus,” says Student Senate President Shannon Carnes. “President Bauman's willingness to engage the student body in the master planning project has increased our confidence in her decision-making process. I feel more than confident that President Bauman truly cares about the students here at ONU. "
President Baumann served as provost and chief academic officer at Xavier University from 2017 to 2021 and before that as an Associate Provost and the head of the Auburn University Honors college. She has more than 30 years of experience in public and private higher education, including various administrative and teaching roles at Michigan State University. Over her career, President Baumann has received funding from a variety of federal agencies, served on numerous editorial boards, as a reviewer for engineering research journals, and has been a frequently invited presenter on her research activities, student achievements, and success, and promoting women in the STEM disciplines. She actively works to promote the integration of teaching and research into the undergraduate experience.
President Baumann earned a Ph.D. and a Master of Science degree in materials science and engineering at Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Science in metallurgical engineering at Michigan Technological University.
She is the first woman to serve as ONU’s president.