Southern Campus celebrates 60 years of changing lives at Gala

(Left to right) Former Dean Dr. Dan Evans, former Dean Dr. Bill Dingus, current Dean Dr. Nicole Pennington and former Dean and current Executive Dean for Regional Higher Education Dr. Bill Willan.

IRONTON, Ohio – Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of Ohio University Southern (OUS) celebrated 60 years of transforming lives at a Gala Saturday, Nov. 5. The Riffe Center Rotunda was transformed and more than 175 individuals enjoyed an evening of food, music and memories at the formal event.

In 1956, the Southern Campus, then known as the “Ironton Branch,” began offering night classes at the old Ironton High School. Since its inception, the university has changed with its community. The first permanent building, the Collins Center, was dedicated in 1985. Today, Ohio University Southern includes the four-building campus in Ironton, the Proctorville Center, the Ohio Horse Park in Franklin Furnace and the Child Development Center in Hanging Rock.

OUS has continually evaluated the needs of the region and it has evolved over the years to provide education and training pertinent to a changing business and industrial landscape. Additionally, the university community strives to give back to the citizens that willed Ohio University Southern into existence so many decades ago.

Dean Dr. Nicole Pennington hosted the event, which included speakers Dr. Roderick J. McDavis, president of Ohio University, Dr. Bill Dingus, first dean of Ohio University Southern and music by Joe Freeman Entertainment. Pennington said that the evening was a unique opportunity to look back at the university’s progress while looking ahead to a new Student Resource Commons.

“It’s easy to forget all that each of us do every day to move the university forward,” Pennington said. “Events such as the 60th Anniversary Gala allow us to stop for a moment and reflect on how far we’ve really come.” Pennington added, “This evening also gave us a chance to share our plans for the new Student Resource Commons and to raise money to support that effort.”

Student Nicholas Burge was given the opportunity to attend as a guest. He said, “The Gala made me excited for where Ohio University Southern is heading and heightened the value I hold for it. I enjoyed having such a personal experience with important figures in the community and this college.”