Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post
President Lori Stewart-Gonzalez during her induction ceremony held in Memorial Auditorium on College Green in Athens, Ohio, Oct. 18, 2023.

OU holds investiture ceremony for President Gonzalez

Ohio University held an inauguration and investiture ceremony at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium Wednesday for the institution’s first female president in 219 years, OU President Lori Stewart Gonzalez.

Faculty Senate Chair Sarah Wyatt began the ceremony with an academic processional and welcome. She also introduced James Andzulis, secretary of the faculty senate, who carried the ceremonial mace.  

After everyone took their places, Jennifer Bennett, chair of the OU administrative senate, gave an introduction and a video presentation of the student-made movie, “Place,” which celebrated the event’s theme. 

Chair of the OU Board of Trustees, Peggy Viehweger, made remarks about Gonzalez and what they were looking for while searching for OU’s 23rd president.

“We wanted someone who understood our university and the region it serves, but also could bring perspective from other institutions across higher education,” Vierweger said. “Someone who shared our commitment to student success as the number one priority.”

Randy Gardner, chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, also shared some remarks about his feelings toward Gonzalez and how her presidency will benefit OU.

“I have specific evidence that President Gonzalez's presidency is supportive of this campus,” Gardner said. “I was at a statewide conference just last Thursday, and I saw an Ohio University faculty member on an elevator … I informed him I might see him at the investiture this week, and he responded without hesitation, ‘She's fantastic.’”

He noted that Gonzalez is already off to a “tremendous start” in her new position and thanked Gonzalez for promising to be a part of OU’s future. 

A poem called “The First” was written and recited by poet laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour in honor of Gonzalez being OU’s first female president. 

Introducing Gonzalez was her former colleague, Douglas Craddock, vice president for community engagement at the University of Louisville.

In his introduction, Craddock notes the importance of student success to Gonzalez and how she would take time out of her day to meet with students, even if that meant skipping meals at times. 

“She always improved upon our team,” Craddock said. “Her goal isn’t always within the system, it’s in achieving the academic but also personal goals—working to remove barriers to success, fostering a culture of inclusive innovation and in providing students with the tools and resources they need to excel in life.”

He reflected on the kindness shown to him by both Lori and her husband, Randy Gonzalez, and how much strength and confidence she will bring to OU, even introducing her as the “Michael Jordan” of presidents. 

Following her introduction, Gonzalez was sworn in as president, promising to uphold the rites of investiture, and she was presented with the seal of office and OU’s charter.

“I am humbled by this opportunity to lead this incredible university and to work alongside my Ohio colleagues, as we preserve our heritage and chart a course for the future,” Gonzalez said. 

In her presidential address, Gonzalez spoke about her dedication to education and expanding opportunities to the Appalachian region, having grown up in the region herself. 

“My own immediate family believed in education as the pathway to opportunity,” Gonzalez said. “I've learned during my years of service at public institutions that education offers economic mobility, drives innovation, and improves lives and community.”

To conclude her speech, Gonzalez talks about the Alumni Gateway, located at the intersection of Court Street and Union Street, and what the inscription means. 

“We come in to learn, and we leave to serve; I'm honored to steward these words to carry forward the investment that our founders, students, faculty, staff, alumni in the state of Ohio have made and will continue to make and to protect the vision inscribed in the gateway,” Gonzalez said. 


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH