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In State of the University address, President Johnson heralds Ohio State’s commitment to service, excellence

Research, debt-free education and Intel partnership among ‘big wins’

In her 2022 State of the University address, President Kristina M. Johnson emphasized The Ohio State University’s role in attracting Intel’s new semiconductor campus to Ohio and implementing the Scarlet and Gray Advantage program to give undergraduate students the opportunity for a debt-free education, and announced a record $1.24 billion in research and development.

“We have had some very big wins this year that deserve to be celebrated,” Johnson said. “Chief among them, of course, was helping Ohio beat out 40 other states to become the location for Intel’s new semiconductor campus — a $20 billion initial investment that is expected to generate more than 20,000 direct and indirect jobs — and that will put the United States, once again, back in the business of manufacturing the world’s most advanced semiconductors.”

Another big win in the past year, Johnson said, was launching the Scarlet and Gray Advantage program. Since she announced the program during her investiture in November, Ohio State has raised $84 million – surpassing the goal of raising $58 million in the first year.

“Since rising student debt is a complex national problem, we are piloting the Scarlet and Gray Advantage program this fall with 125 students, who will help us adjust to the nuances,” Johnson said. “The ultimate goal is to do this at scale so that, without the burden of student loans, Ohio State graduates can say ‘yes’ to every great opportunity life throws their way — graduate school, a job they are passionate about, service, homeownership, a family.”

Ohio State continues to work toward diversifying the workforce of the future, Johnson said.

“With our RAISE initiative — short for Race, Inclusion, and Social Equity — we are recruiting new faculty to consider the inequities in our society and history — and to better represent our diverse student body — so all of our students can begin to imagine themselves in roles they might not otherwise consider,” she said.

In research and development, Ohio State is at the forefront of several cutting-edge initiatives, Johnson said.

“I am so pleased to announce that we are launching a new gene therapy institute to benefit so many people around the globe suffering from diseases caused by missing or mutated genes. Led by Dr. Krystof Bankiewicz and Dr. Russell Lonser, the institute will double down on our strength in the field, including research being conducted by over 50 faculty in six colleges,” Johnson said.  

“I am also proud to announce a new Ohio State Center for Quantum Information Science and Engineering, where our scientists and engineers will use the properties of quantum mechanics to transform communications, computation and sensing.”

Johnson emphasized Ohio State’s commitment to service. In addition to being ranked as one of the 10 most trusted health systems in the United States in a recent patient satisfaction survey, the Wexner Medical Center has become a force for community revitalization, she said.

Through the PACT group (Partners Achieving Community Transformation), Ohio State has partnered with the city of Columbus and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to rejuvenate the historically Black neighborhood surrounding the Ohio State East Hospital.

“One of the most important priorities established by the community in 2010 was improving the neighborhood’s schools. The Wexner Medical Center has done a brilliant job of establishing health sciences academies in them,” Johnson said. “All elementary school and middle school students on the Near East Side learn what white coats mean in health care and get their own white coats that they wear during science classes. The idea is simple: to help children to make the connection between the Ohio State East Hospital and their own opportunities.”

The health and well-being of students, faculty and staff is Ohio State’s No. 1 priority, Johnson said. After the upheaval of the pandemic, she said Ohio State continues to foster a culture of kindness.

“While the isolation imposed by COVID-19 has been tough on everybody, it has been particularly tough on children and college-aged students — which is why we created a commission on student mental health and well-being last year, headed by Senior Vice President for Student Life Melissa Shivers and University Chief Wellness Officer and Dean of the College of Nursing Bernadette Melnyk,” Johnson said. “We are now implementing the commission’s five recommendations, including enhancing the services currently available for those who are struggling and getting our students to not hesitate when they need help.”

Over the past year the university has strategically hired and put into place a cohesive leadership team, Johnson said. The leadership team is helping to guide and execute Ohio State’s land-grant mission and maximize the university’s full potential, Johnson said.

“We are optimizing our operations to make the best possible use of our resources,” she said. “We set a goal this year of $90 million in operational and capital efficiencies and achieved $69 million by the halfway point. These are funds that we can apply to key priorities in research, education and outreach.”

Ohio State’s fundraising campaign passed the $3 billion mark in February, thanks to the generosity of more than 638,000 unique Buckeye donors, Johnson said.

“Ohio State demonstrated great fiscal strength overall, including with strong investment performance and positive momentum in our health system, allowing us to outperform fiscal year 2020,” she said.

Ohio State continues its dedication to excellence in service to the citizens of Ohio and beyond, Johnson said.

“One of my roles here at the center is to amplify this entire community’s efforts, and to align those efforts where they should be connected so that opportunity emanates from this university in waves,” she said, “so that the benefits of everything we do here in education, discovery, invention, scholarship, creative expression and service brighten not only our own prospects, but the prospects of the entire state of Ohio and the nation.”

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