12:00 AM

Rich Hollingsworth will speak at autumn commencement

Richard A. Hollingsworth, vice president for student life at The Ohio State University, will be the speaker for Ohio State's autumn commencement, set for Sunday, Dec. 14 in the Jerome Schottenstein Center. Approximately 2,000 students will receive degrees during the ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m.

Hollingsworth, who is retiring after 35 years at Ohio State, has devoted his entire career to Ohio State and improving the lives of its students. Having grown up in the University District, he attended Ohio State and earned his bachelor's degree in 1973. He later attended Capital University Law School, and received his J.D. in 1981.

Hollingsworth served in a number of roles in student life governance until his appointment in 2000 as associate vice president for student affairs. In 2006, he was named vice president for student affairs (now student life), after serving in an interim capacity for nearly a year.

An accomplished and eloquent public speaker, Hollingsworth has delivered more than 6,200 lectures, workshops and training sessions during his tenure on topics that address personal and organizational effectiveness.

He has delivered the welcome remarks at the last 83 commencement ceremonies, a role he has played since autumn of 1987.

Throughout his career, Hollingsworth has been committed to diversity and inclusiveness, and has been a leader in numerous university initiatives to recruit, retain and support underrepresented students. He has championed student leadership development and promoted sexual assault prevention and survivor support. He was instrumental in establishing the Code of Student Conduct, and has been a leader in promoting good sportsmanship and responsible celebration.

As vice president, he has advocated on behalf of students and everything affecting the student experience. He has been responsible for 30 departments, including University Housing, Campus Dining Services, Student Health Services, the Ohio Union (including student organizations, leadership and service programs, and Greek life), Recreational Sports, Counseling and Consultation Service, Career Connection, the Multicultural Center, Office for Disability Services, Student Advocacy Center, Off Campus Student Services, the Parent Association, the Blackwell Hotel and the Schottenstein Center.

As assistant vice president, Hollingsworth designed and implemented the Student Affairs strategic planning process, oversaw the campus student disciplinary system and Student Affairs research and assessment initiatives. He also directed student affairs orientation for new students and managed off-campus property acquisition process.

For the past three years, undergraduate students have enjoyed his weekly email column, "Rich Text," which offers advice and encouragement, often with a touch of humor.

In addition to his work as an administrator, Hollingsworth has been an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education and Human Ecology since 1981, teaching graduate courses in higher education and student affairs, and undergraduate and graduate courses in leadership development. He plans to continuing teaching in his "retirement."