A liberal education communicates what great minds have thought, great artists have created, great leaders have done. Also included is new knowledge; a liberal education communicates what is being acquired on the frontiers of contemporary inquiry and current advances of the human spirit.


President Jones celebrates the labyrinth installation with the OWU community.

Rock Jones, Ph.D., was inaugurated as Ohio Wesleyan’s 16th president in October 2008, and his energetic leadership has been helping to move the University forward ever since with innovative academic programs, new and rejuvenated campus facilities, and a strong sense of engagement with alumni and the community.

Jones holds a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas-Austin, a Master of Divinity magna cum laude from the Duke University Divinity School, and a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Hendrix College. Prior to joining Ohio Wesleyan, he worked for Hendrix, serving in roles that included Executive Vice President and Dean of Advancement, Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, interim Vice President for Student Affairs, and Chaplain.

Locally, he serves on the boards of the Strand Theatre and the Delaware County Foundation, where he chairs the Investment Committee.

Jones also is president of the North Coast Athletic Conference, president of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, and a member of both the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Board of Directors of Wesley Theological Seminary.

In recognition of his work to advance the quality of student life at Ohio Wesleyan, Jones received the 2014 “Outstanding Performance as a College or University President Award” from Region IV-East of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.

Nuggets from Articles & Speeches

February 5, 2019

March 5, 2019

Dear Campus Community,

I write today to share my unwavering support for Ohio Wesleyan’s LGBTQIA+ community.

I write in the aftermath of last week’s meeting of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC), the global body of the UMC authorized to set church law. Like many of you, I was hopeful the General Conference would vote to permit same-sex couples to be married in the church and to accept gay people into the clergy. While much of American Methodism allows these practices, they remain formally forbidden in church law.

Though the Conference did not make the changes, I am heartened by the growing numbers of Methodists calling on the Church to remember its commitment to the sacred worth of all people and to social justice, exemplified historically by its positions on civil rights, women’s rights, and the rights of different ethnic communities. Like those vocal Methodists, I find last week’s vote unacceptable.

Still, I am encouraged by conversations now happening either to revisit last week’s decision or to develop a new form of Methodism, fully inclusive of all people, in the American context. Further, I am heartened that two-thirds of the American voting delegates voted for full inclusion within the Church, laying an important foundation for the work ahead.

When leaders of the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Ohio Wesleyan and other colleges in the early nineteenth century, they expressed strong commitments to broad access to higher education and to the fundamental values of liberal education. Today, these commitments are embedded in our charter – as well as in our conscience and our character.

Much of what we value about the culture of OWU has grown out of our history with the United Methodist Church. In particular, the deep commitment to service learning, the strong presence of international students on our campus, and the passion for social justice are legacies of the early Methodist influence and reflect values carried by John Wesley, our namesake and the founder of the Methodist movement.

As we look to the future, however, I think it is important to note that the General Conference’s vote has no impact on OWU’s deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, including making campus facilities available for same sex weddings as has been our practice for many years. Nor does it have any impact on our governance, which is independent of Church control.

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead a campus that expresses full support of the LGBTQIA+ community, including full inclusion in every form of leadership.

I am happy to visit personally with anyone who has additional questions. In addition, our Multicultural Student Affairs, Chaplain’s, and Counseling Services offices are always here to support everyone, as well.

Rock Jones
Ohio Wesleyan University



Office of the President
Ohio Wesleyan University
University Hall 101
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3000
F 740-368-3007
E rfjones@owu.edu

Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Janet Lewis