12:54 PM

President Carter discusses priorities, approach on first day of semester

Ohio State’s 17th president meets with students, community leaders and media

The Ohio State University President Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. met with members of the local media today, the first day of the spring semester. Carter walked across the Oval to his new office at University Square South, greeting students as they returned from winter break. He started work as the university’s 17th president on Jan. 1.

“I’m really excited to be here in Columbus, Ohio, to start the first day of classes,” he said. “There is a lot to do, and I will tell you my priorities here going into the first couple days are to be humble, to listen, to learn, and to earn the trust of not only our students, our faculty, our staff, our researchers, our athletics, but the community. And I’m excited to get going.”

Carter joins Ohio State following his term as president of the University of Nebraska System. He led the U.S. Naval Academy and previously served as president of the U.S. Naval War College. He said he is no stranger to complex organizations, but recognized Ohio State as the largest university operation in his career.

“I have great trust in the people who are here, and they’re informing me and I’m learning. As I like to think about complex organizations, it’s circles of influence. And here there are many and you’ve got to understand them,” he said. “The student body, which is so important, they are a huge circle of influence. Our faculty, our staff, the athletic program, the parents, the community, the General Assembly. … So I will be engaging with all of them over the next 60, 90, 100 days.”

In addition to listening to the university community, Carter said he would be building a long-term strategy.

“First and foremost, we want to be centered on student success. We want to make sure that we’re also supporting our faculty and our staff – not only attracting the best, and we have some of the best in the country here – but retaining them, doing meaningful research, clinical care, making sure our medical schools are at the top of their game, making sure our athletic programs, 36 Division I sports, one of the largest programs in the country with the need to hire a new athletic director, is also very important,” he said. “And engaging with the community and our partners, all of those things have to be tended to. I will be working on drafting a strategy centered around those pillars.”

He also responded to a question about student safety in the University District.

“Safety and security of our campus is one of my top priorities,” he said. “There’s been a lot of great work done already. We’re going to continue to look and make sure that we are using every resource possible to make sure that we’re not only safe on campus but to the perimeter of our campus.”

Carter said the move to Ohio State with his wife Lynda was among the best of a career that includes more than 20 different stops in the military and higher education.

“We have been welcomed warmly by the community, by the university, and we’re just really excited to be here.”

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