17:36 PM

Former Ohio State president Edward Jennings dies at 82

Edward H. Jennings, the 10th president of The Ohio State University, died Saturday at Tampa General Hospital.

Jennings served as president from 1981 to 1990 and then as interim president from July 1 to Sept. 30, 2002. He also served as professor of finance in the Fisher College of Business until his retirement on April 1, 2002.

“I join the Buckeye community in mourning the loss of former Ohio State President Edward H. Jennings, PhD,” President Michael V. Drake said in a statement. “Dr. Jennings guided our university through a period of great change — navigating economic challenges to lay the groundwork for the institution we have become. We can trace many of our achievements in academics and diversity to his expertise and dedication.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to President Jennings’ loved ones.”

During Jennings’ first tenure as Ohio State president, the university launched its first major fundraising campaign. Several campus landmarks were constructed during that period, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center.

“Ed was a transformational president,” said David Frantz, professor emeritus of English and former secretary of the Board of Trustees who was active in university governance for many years.

In 2002, the Board of Trustees honored Jennings and his service to the university by renaming the Botany and Zoology Building on Neil Avenue Jennings Hall.

Stephen Buser, professor emeritus and retired chair of the finance department, worked with Jennings when he was president and as a member of the faculty.

“I thought he was a great guy,” he said. “He was great in both roles.”

Jennings was born in Minneapolis in 1937 and raised in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining Ohio State, he served as the president of the University of Wyoming.

In addition, Jennings held visiting appointments at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and the University of Hawaii. He received his doctorate in finance from the University of Michigan, a master of business administration from Case Western Reserve University, and a bachelors in industrial management from the University of North Carolina.

According to his obituary, a celebration of his life will be held at the First United Methodist Church in Bradenton, Florida, in September.