Richard Southwick, Ph.D.

The History of Counseling Services at Ohio Wesleyan University

In the late 1960s, OWU Psychology professor Harry Bahrick, Ph.D., realized that psychology professors provided a substantial amount of student advising and counseling. In response, Bahrick reached out to Richard Southwick, Ph.D., to start a Counseling and Psychological Services program at the University.

Southwick established a small office in the basement of Phillips Hall to begin scheduling and counseling students. He also had a one-year contract to teach Intro to Psychology.

When counseling began at OWU, college students nationwide were struggling with issues such as the Vietnam War, the Sexual Revolution, and substance abuse. Southwick typically would see 25 to 30 students a week for counseling, and he was often in the office from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

After only a year, he needed to expand to a larger space to accommodate the growing number of students using the service. Then-Chaplain Jim Leslie offered Southwick the space adjoining his office, where Counseling Services remained until the 1980s. They also received administrative support from Leslie’s secretary, Annabelle Nutt.

Counseling Services eventually was added as a line item independent of the Department of Psychology. In the late 1970s, they added two full-time Ph.D.s and two Counseling Psychology graduate students from The Ohio State University. To this day, Counseling Services is key to Ohio Wesleyan caring for its students.

When Southwick left Ohio Wesleyan, he moved his family to Upper Arlington to refocus on academia at Ohio State. But he stayed in close touch with his colleagues at OWU and still stays in contact with past Counseling Directors.

Later, Southwick returned to his home state of Utah. In 1978, he accepted a position as the first board member of the Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors, where he became director. He served on the Psychology staff of Weber State University for 22 years and practiced psychology for over 30 years.

This information came from an interview with Richard Southwick, Ph.D., conducted in November 2021 by Vicki S. Blommel, SWA, of the OWU Department of Counseling Services. It was written by Sarah Jonassen ’22.

Contact Info


Counseling Services
R.W. Corns Building #316
61 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, Ohio 43015
P 740-368-3145

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