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Mayor Steve Patterson smiling during the watch party for the election at Pigskin Bar, in Athens, Ohio, Nov. 7, 2023. Mayor Patterson was running for Mayor of Athens again this election.

Six faces new students should be familiar with

New students face obstacles they’ve never encountered before during their time at college, like what to do when locked out of a dorm room or how to tackle the new workload. Ohio University has over 20,000 students enrolled, but here are some notable figures to know around campus and Athens. 

Your RA

Resident Advisers, or RAs, enforce the student code of conduct and can fine students for breaking it, so first-year students tend to avoid them if possible. However, RAs can be a useful connection to make while living in the dorms. 

RAs can open doors for locked-out students, find resources for a broken air conditioner, manage noise complaints and other dorm-related situations. RAs also have important information about big weekends like Halloween and Homecoming and move-in and move-out.

President Lori Stewart Gonzalez 

Lori Stewart Gonzalez is almost a year into her position as president of the university. She said she has promoted a student-first mindset throughout her first year, according to a previous Post report. Although she is an important and influential figure at OU, Gonzalez said she hopes to be approachable to students and get to know them on a personal level. 

Gonzalez got her bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Kentucky; a master’s degree in communication disorders from Eastern Kentucky University; and her Ph.D. in communication disorders from the University of Florida, according to an OU news release. Before coming to OU, she held the executive vice president and provost position at the University of Louisville. 

Athens Mayor Steve Patterson 

Mayor Steve Patterson is serving in his third term as the mayor of Athens. Patterson was an associate professor of health psychology at OU until 2016, according to the city’s website

Patterson oversees many facets of the city council including zoning appeals, disabilities commission and housing. Patterson can be seen around Athens and at city council meetings on Mondays at 7 p.m. 

To contact the mayor, please call 740-592-3338, or email the mayor’s office.

Your Adviser

Knowing your academic adviser and the resources they can provide is important to a successful first year. Advisers can answer questions about scheduling, classes, programs and they can lift holds on students’ accounts.

Students can find their adviser through their My OHIO Student Center or on the first page of their DARs Report. Students can schedule a meeting with advisers to discuss class work in depth and to explore majors. For more information, please visit the OU’s website

Andrew Powers

Ohio University Chief of Police Andrew Powers is the head of the university’s police department. OUPD is in charge of maintaining student safety and crime prevention. 

Students may need to contact the OUPD if they feel unsafe or need to report a crime. People should dial 911 in emergencies, but students can call OUPD at 740-593-1911 for campus-related issues or concerns. 

Your Professors

Large class sizes and lecture halls sometimes limit interactions with professors and faculty, but getting to know your professors personally can benefit your future. 

Professors have the ability to write students letters of recommendation and introduce them to new opportunities. A good connection with a professor allows for students to better succeed in their classes and make asking for help easier. 


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