Press Release

October 24, 2014 | By Cole Hatcher

Rock Jones, Ph.D.

UPDATED: Ohio Wesleyan President Receives ‘Outstanding Performance’ Award

Updated: November 6, 2014

A photo from the award presentation ceremony has been added to this post.

President Rock Jones receives the 2014 ‘Outstanding Performance as a College or University President Award’ from Region IV-East of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). The award was presented Nov. 3 by NASPA past Chair Ellen Meents-DeCaigny of DePaul University during the association’s Region IV-East Conference held in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kimberlie Goldsberry)

Rock Jones, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University President Rock Jones, Ph.D., has earned the 2014 “Outstanding Performance as a College or University President Award” from Region IV-East of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA).

According to the eight-state/province organization: “This award is a special recognition presented to a college or university president/chancellor in Region IV-East who has, over a sustained period of time, advanced the quality of student life on campus by supporting student affairs staff and programs.”

Jones was nominated jointly for the “Outstanding Performance Award” by Craig Ullom, Ed.D., vice president for student affairs, and Kimberlie Goldsberry, Ph.D., dean of students.

“Rock’s personal credibility and relationships are extraordinary,” Ullom and Goldsberry said in their nomination letter. “He is described as visionary, a great communicator, a thoughtful listener, and is a highly visible presence to all key OWU constituents, including students, parents, employees, and alumni.

“A major focus of Rock’s presidency has been to improve the residential environment and learning experience in our residence halls, which has resulted in over $20 million of investments in student housing,” Ullom and Goldsberry stated. “Work continues on fundraising and planning for a comprehensive student housing master plan that will total over $80 million.

“Complementing these student-centered facility improvements, Rock provides exceptional leadership in enhancing the curriculum and generously funding student-originated Theory-to-Practice Grants that support learning experiences in the United States and abroad,” Ullom and Goldsberry continued. “Coupled with the development of dozens of Travel-Learning courses since 2009, hundreds of students have experienced study-away programs made affordable by extensive underwriting of costs by the university.”

In a separate letter, students Lauren A. Holler and Jerry Lherisson, president and vice president, respectively, of the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs, also endorsed Jones’ nomination for the “Outstanding Performance Award.”

“Dr. Jones is truly an inspirational leader,” the student-government leaders wrote. “He not only connects with students on a personal level to advance the student experience, but he also reminds us on a daily basis that we belong to a global society and that it is important to be moral leaders. The example that Dr. Jones sets is something that stays with students for the rest of their lives.”

In addition, Ohio Wesleyan alumna Kathe Law Rhinesmith, Class of 1964, endorsed Jones’ nomination. Rhinesmith was chair of the university’s Board of Trustees when Jones was hired as OWU’s 16th president and inaugurated in 2008. In her letter, Rhinesmith lauded his support of faculty efforts to enhance the curriculum with creation of the OWU Connection.

“This has greatly enriched both the on- and off-campus learning experience for students at Ohio Wesleyan by widening their perspective and offering real-world experiences to enhance their future role as global citizens,” stated Rhinesmith, now a life trustee. “Additionally it prepares them to enter the world upon graduation having created an impressive portfolio of experience.”

Jones will be presented formally with the “Outstanding Performance Award” on Nov. 3 during the 2014 NASPA Region IV-East Conference, “The Future of Higher Education,” to be held in Columbus, Ohio. By earning the Region IV-East recognition, Jones becomes eligible for the National NASPA President’s Award, to be announced in March 2015.

NASPA’s Region IV-East encompasses the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and the province of Ontario, Canada. The professional higher education organization serves 13,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and eight U.S. territories. Learn more about NASPA and the “Outstanding Performance Award” at

Learn more about the OWU Connection curricular initiative at

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at