18:00 PM

Ohio State prepares to welcome thousands for new school year

Columbus, Ohio – Ohio State University is preparing to welcome thousands of new and returning students to campus as the new academic year gets underway.

Today, university officials told reporters about new initiatives in academics, student success and student engagement during a media briefing.

Ohio State Interim President Joseph Alutto welcomed members of the media, said he will work to continue the university’s upward trajectory.

“Our focus is on three key areas. First – enhancing the Ohio State experience for undergraduate and graduate students. Second - enabling the implementation of the university's strategic vision to continue attracting world class faculty and researchers. And third – increasing efforts to secure new financial assets to support students, faculty research, scholarship and innovation,” said Alutto.

Javaune Adams-Gaston, vice president for student life, said the university is launching a pilot of the Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) initiative this year.

“At the core of the STEP initiative is student engagement and student success. The Ohio State student experience is a differentiator for us in higher education, and STEP is yet more progress in our path from excellence to eminence,” said Adams-Gaston.

Applications to be part of Ohio State’s freshman class this year hit an all-time high, according to Dolan Evanovich, vice president for strategic enrollment planning.

“Demand for an Ohio State education has never been higher. We saw a 24 percent increase in freshman applications this year, with a record 35,475 applications,” said Evanovich.

Evanovich expects approximately 7,100 new students at the Columbus campus this year, and also projects the class will be the brightest ever in terms of higher ACT scores and students ranked in the top 10 and 25 percent of their high school classes.

The briefing was held in historic Hale Hall, which has been restored and renovated. Valerie Lee, vice provost and chief diversity officer said the relocation of Hale is noteworthy for several reasons.

“This historic landmark became our new home in July. The building was Ohio State’s first student union in 1911. It was the fourth student union in the nation, and the first built at a public university. The Hale Black Cultural Center, which occupies the first floor, is one the few such centers in the nation to be housed inside a building of such historical significance on a college campus.

“For the first time, the relocated Hale Hall brings together the programming and services of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion – including the Frank W. Hale, Jr. Black Cultural Center and the Office of Outreach and Engagement – under one roof,” said Lee.

In addition, three student athletes – Korbin Smith, a member of the men’s track and field team, Michael Moser, a member of the cheerleading team and Jeff Michael, a member of the men’s ice hockey team – who participated in a Department of Athletics first-ever study abroad program, were available for interviews about their experiences. The program was a collaborative effort involving the Office of International Affairs, the Department of Athletics, and the Student Athlete Support Services Office.

About The Ohio State University

Founded in 1870, The Ohio State University is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 56,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers, and 168 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences, and the professions.