Rock Jones
President Rock Jones.

Ohio Wesleyan is a small national University with a major international presence. Already honored as one of the nation’s finest liberal arts undergraduate institutions, OWU is moving ahead with bold curricular initiatives that connect theory to practice in global context. A remarkable collection of new classes and course networks offers in-depth multidisciplinary study of national and international issues. Ohio Wesleyan students recently have fanned out across the world, conducting on-the-ground research on six continents and in more than 30 countries.

But we don’t simply send students around the world. Ohio Wesleyan also brings the world to campus. In fact, OWU has one of the highest percentages of international students among the nation’s undergraduate liberal arts institutions. Both in and outside the classroom, our international students bring valuable perspectives to every discussion of world events and help the entire student body understand global issues in ways they might not otherwise consider.

This emphasis on a worldwide perspective is not new to Ohio Wesleyan. From our founding, we have believed that a liberal arts education helps students develop the qualities necessary for leadership and innovation. Students here expand their world view and learn to look beyond traditional boundaries for answers, to challenge long-held assumptions, to appreciate diversity of cultures, and to embrace new ideas and technologies. An Ohio Wesleyan education, grounded in the liberal arts and enhanced through real-world experiences, is certainly the opposite of ordinary.

In addition to our curricular enhancements, we also are renewing our physical facilities to provide the best learning and living environment for our students. We are committed to sustainable renovation and new construction; our Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, which is enjoyed by the entire campus and Delaware community, is the University’s first green building, heated and cooled by 90 geothermal wells. Three fully renovated residences and an Honors House offer new living options in addition to our residence halls, fraternity houses, and small living units.

OWU is noted for community service; each year, more than 80 percent of our students participate in service locally, nationally, and internationally. We routinely field at least 10 mission teams per year, far more than most institutions of our size. In recent years, these teams have worked in the United States and in Dominica, El Salvador, Rome, Belize, Nicaragua, Honduras, Vietnam, and at the Mexican border in both Texas and Arizona. Mission teams are one more way OWU students encounter the world.

I feel honored to lead Ohio Wesleyan during this time of change and growth. My sincere hope is that you will explore what Ohio Wesleyan has to offer and find yourself at home here. OWU truly is for YOU.

Best Regards,

Rock Jones

Under Rock's leadership, Ohio Wesleyan has:

  • Created a University-wide strategic plan to renew its curriculum and solidify Ohio Wesleyan as a national leader in liberal arts education. Toward that end, members of the OWU faculty have been imagining and implementing The OWU Connection, a curricular initiative that helps students link academic theory with real-world practice as they prepare for global citizenship and leadership.
  • Undertaken an $8 million, donor-funded restoration of Merrick Hall to create a physical hub for students to learn more about The OWU Connection and all of the educational opportunities available to them during their four years at Ohio Wesleyan.
  • Expanded The David O. Robbins Neuroscience Program with a $5 million endowment gift to add three faculty members, increasing learning and research opportunities for students with an interest in neuroscience.
  • Created a long-term Student Housing Master Plan and invested more than $20 million to enhance student housing. These efforts include:
    • Completing a $14 million, donor-funded restoration of Stuyvesant Hall, OWU’s oldest residence hall.
    • Renovating several Williams Drive residential buildings, including creation of the Bigelow-Reed House, a living and learning space for students interested in the business world.
  • Enhanced the athletic facilities that support OWU’s 23 men’s and women’s varsity sports as well as its many intramural and club sports. These efforts include:
    • Building the Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center – Ohio Wesleyan’s first LEED-certified “green” building – with a 10-lane pool, 13-foot-deep diving well, and 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards. More than 90 geothermal wells help to heat and cool the Meek Center.
    • Creating the new Simpson Querrey Fitness Center by renovating the former Pfeiffer Natatorium to include work-out areas, a dance studio with stadium-style seating, and office space for the Department of Health and Human Kinetics.
    • Restoring Edwards Gymnasium, including fully refurbishing both the weight room and the second-floor basketball court.
    • Opening the Luttinger Family Tennis Center, with six new courts on the east side of Henry Street and six refurbished courts on the west side. All courts feature a DecoTurf surface, identical to the surface used at the U.S. Open and the last two Olympic Games.
    • Adding stadium lighting at Selby Stadium to support night games for varsity and intramural sports teams. The lighting also helped to support the University’s selection as host of the NCAA Division III men’s and women’s outdoor track & field championships in 2011 and 2014.
  • Launched the “Connect Today, Create Tomorrow” capital campaign in July 2014 to enhance access and affordability for students through scholarship endowment; recognize and reward faculty excellence and innovation; and improve the physical campus. By year’s end, the campaign’s leadership phase already had yielded more than $55 million in contributions and commitments.
  • Recorded $30.2 million in new gifts and commitments from alumni, parents, and friends between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014, making the 2014 fundraising year one of the best in Ohio Wesleyan history.
  • Received two record-setting contributions of $8 million each within an eight-month time span. The contributions represent the largest single gifts in Ohio Wesleyan history. The first, from an anonymous alumni couple, was used to renovate Merrick Hall. The second, from alumnus Louis A. Simpson ’58 and his wife, Kimberly Querrey, was used to create the Simpson Querrey Fitness Center and support the Edwards Gymnasium renovation.

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

He also is president of the North Coast Athletic Conference; president of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church; and a member of the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Colleges Association; the Tax Policy Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; the Board of Director of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation; the Executive Committee of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio; the Board of Directors of the Ohio Campus Compact; and the Board of Directors of Wesley Theological Seminary.

He and his wife, Melissa Lollar Jones, have three adult children.