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A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency, 1975–1994

A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency, 1975–1994

Charles J. Ping
Interviews conducted by Samuel Crowl
With an additional interview by Doug McCabe
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Ohio University Press,
Pages: 150
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  • Book Info
    A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency, 1975–1994
    Book Description:

    When Charles Ping first arrived at Ohio University in 1975, the university was experiencing a decline in student enrollment and confronting serious financial challenges. But rather than focusing on its problems, President Ping instead concentrated on Ohio University's potential."What attracted me was, essentially, the richness of the campus in people and programs," said Ping. During the nineteen years that Ping served as president, he guided Ohio University in scholarship, research, and service, and substantially increased the size of the campus through the acquisition of The Ridges. After Ping announced his resignation in Spring 1993, the April 26 headline in theColumbus Dispatchread "Ping Leaving Ohio University with Big Shoes to Fill."In Ping's 1994 undergraduate commencement ceremony speech, he said, "A university is a link from the past, through the present, to the future." Ping continues to link the university's past to the present in this new book published for the Ohio University Libraries by Ohio University Press.A Conversation about Ohio University and the Presidency, 1975-1994,is an edited version of the transcript of videotaped interviews recorded in May and June 2011."It is a conversation between two old friends," said Ping of the series of interviews conducted by Sam Crowl, Shakespearean scholar and now trustee professor emeritus.

    eISBN: 978-0-9650743-9-1
    Subjects: History, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xviii)
    (pp. 1-6)
    James Bruning

    I arrived at Ohio University in the fall of 1962 as a new PhD faculty member. That year turned out to be the beginning of one of the best financial times here at OHIO. A youthful and energetic Vernon Alden had been inaugurated as president, and during the years of his presidency, enrollments rose dramatically, from 9,500 to nearly 20,000. Money flowed from tuition, state subsidies, and a variety of research, training, and economic development grants. Expansion and growth were taking place everywhere on campus. Dormitories to house the enormous influx of students were built, and since the flood of...

    (pp. 7-17)
    Betty Hollow

    In late 1974, members of Ohio University’s presidential search committee faced the task of finding a new leader for their beloved but beleaguered school. They had no illusions that the job would be easy, for this “glamour” school of the 1960s was now widely known as a “troubled campus.” In the preceding five years, enrollment had fallen—unexpectedly, dramatically, and repeatedly—from a high of 22,900 (total enrollment) in 1969–70 to 13,600 in 1974–75. The loss of revenue from student fees, combined with uncertain and fluctuating allocations from the state, had resulted in a seemingly endless round of...

    (pp. 18-24)
    Sam Crowl

    Betty Hollow has set vividly the social and historical context for Ohio University when Charles Ping became president, and Jim Bruning has outlined concisely the major themes of Ping’s presidency and the processes he created for their accomplishment. This allows me the opportunity to present a more personal take on the man and the times and to revisit and revise similar remarks I contributed to Florence Clark Riffe’s history of the Ping years:A Philosophy of Community: Ohio University in the Ping Years, 1975–1994.

    I have known Charlie Ping for almost forty years. We have been friendly adversaries, fellow...

  9. Conversations

    • CONVERSATION with SAM CROWL May 17, 2011
      (pp. 27-65)
      SAM CROWL and CP

      SC: Charlie, in 1975, Ohio University was in trouble. The University had lost almost one-third of its student population. There had been subsequent cuts across the University budget, faculty had been fired, staff had been let go, and times were still turbulent on this campus. The ’60s hadn’t yet stopped. What made you interested in coming to Ohio University in 1975?

      CP: Sam, let me talk about that in a minute. First, let me make some comments about our assignment and then oral histories in general. Now, I’m in my eighties, and like most people my age, I talk a...

    • CONVERSATION with SAM CROWL May 19, 2011
      (pp. 66-102)
      SAM CROWL and CP

      SC: Charlie, when we stopped in the last session, we were right in the middle of your telling the wonderful story of Will Konneker’s many contributions to the University, and we were right in the middle of the development of the Innovation Center and—

      CP: Yes, yes.

      SC: the key role he played there. Could you pick it up, or flesh it out for us?

      CP: Well, everywhere that you turn on campus, you find the evidence of Will Konneker’s commitment to the University. The Innovation Center, as I said, was an idea that needed someone to take it off...

    • CONVERSATION with SAM CROWL May 24, 2011
      (pp. 103-143)
      SAM CROWL and CP

      SC: Charlie, one of the concerns when you arrived on campus, and these are always concerns in tight budget times, was the faculty felt that its voice was not being heard. And the way in which the administration was structured meant that the academic vice president was just one of many whose voice competed with many others for funding.

      One of the things that you did, that we have talked about, was to come in with a new model of the president and the provost. The provost shared the Office of the President and both were academic officers, so academics...

    • CONVERSATION with SAM CROWL May 31, 2011
      (pp. 144-177)
      SAM CROWL and CP

      SC: Charlie, Ohio University, though it’s a national university and has a place on the national stage, has had a particular responsibility to the area in Southeastern Ohio, which gives us our place and our life. Could you talk a bit about the relationship of your administration to the regional campus system that rings Athens? Then go on to talk about the ways in which your administration tried to be helpful in the economic development in the region?

      CP: Well, I think that a university is in a particular place and a particular time; both place and time deliver imperatives....

    • CONVERSATION with SAM CROWL June 2, 2011
      (pp. 178-226)
      SAM CROWL and CP

      SC: Charlie, in our various conversations, we have, of course, talked about people, and we’ve circled back around some names. I’d like you to take an opportunity now to go through in a more systematic way to talk about key figures in your administration. We’ll start once again with the provost and some of the vice presidents, and then we’ll move on to the deans. Talk a bit, once again, about the contributions that people like Neil Bucklew, Jim Bruning, and Dave Stewart made to the University as your provosts.

      CP: Well, any president who has his wits about him...

    • CONVERSATION with DOUG McCABE June 7, 2011
      (pp. 227-260)
      DOUG McCABE and CP

      DM: I am Doug McCabe, curator of manuscripts and the producer of this video. I am filling in for Sam Crowl today. I thought we’d start this interview today by discussing your personal philosophy and how that was put to use in your career and your personal life.

      CP: Well, I have taught philosophy on several campuses as well as here. So after I left office, I did something useful: I taught philosophy. My particular area of interest is nineteenth-century German philosophy, but more broadly, my interest is the history of philosophy.

      I am deeply influenced by the idealistic tradition...

  10. INDEX
    (pp. 261-269)