Dr. Sherman

Dr. Hugh Sherman. Photo courtesy Ohio University.

The Ohio University Board of Trustees, during a special meeting Thursday afternoon, unanimously moved to appoint Dr. Hugh Sherman as the 22nd president of the university for a two-year term.

Sherman will lead the university beginning June 14, taking over for exiting President Duane Nellis, who announced his resignation this month. Nellis will transition to a faculty role in the College of Arts and Sciences beginning July 1, according to a resolution passed by the Board.

Before stepping down in January 2021 with plans to return to faculty, Sherman served as the dean of the College of Business, the university stated in a press release.

A professor of management, Sherman started his career with Ohio University as an assistant faculty member in 1995.

“Hugh Sherman is a respected leader who accomplished a great deal during his time as dean of the College of Business and will make an excellent President during this time of transition,” Board of Trustees Chairman Cary Cooper said in a press release. “This two-year appointment was implemented to effectively position Dr. Sherman and the University for success as he steps into this critical role. My fellow Trustees and I have every confidence that Dr. Sherman will not only provide continuity but also be an inspiring and strategic leader for the institution for the next two years. We are thankful for his continued commitment to Ohio University.”

The Board noted during its special meeting that it intends to launch a search for the university’s 23rd President in early fall of 2022 with plans for an appointment to begin no later than July 1, 2023.

It’s not clear what Sherman’s salary will be as president, as his contract hasn’t been fully executed, said OU Spokesperson Carly Leatherwood. She noted his contract will be finalized in the near future.

From 2007-2021, Sherman served as dean of Ohio University’s College of Business and as the Corlett Chair of Strategy and Senior Economic Policy Fellow in the Voinovich School for Leadership & Public Affairs.

“It is a great honor to serve a University and a region that I love and that I have called home for more than 20 years,” Sherman said in a press release. “I take this charge very seriously, and I am fully committed to partnering with students, faculty, staff and community members to move Ohio University forward in a way that honors our 217-year history but also positions us for future success.”

Following a 22-year career in business, Sherman moved into academia in 1995, first directing the MBA program at Ohio University as Assistant Dean. He has served in multiple leadership capacities, including Chair of the Department of Management Systems, Associate Dean of Operations and Strategy, Associate Director of the Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs, and Assistant to the University Provost for Strategic Planning, the university noted in a press release.

Currently, he serves as a Senior Fellow at the Voinovich School.

He launched his professional career with Swatch Watch, a large Swiss watch and electronics manufacturer in 1974. He served as vice president of marketing of that company until 1986, an OU press release stated.

Sherman and his wife, Cynthia, are active members of the Athens community and the larger Southeast Ohio region, recently establishing a scholarship for Appalachian students.

He currently serves on the board of directors for Tech Growth and the Ohio University Inn.

Sherman holds a B.A. in economics and finance from Guelph University (Canada), an MBA from Northeastern University, and a Ph.D. in strategic management and international business from Temple University.

During its special meeting, the Board also passed a resolution to honor Nellis, giving him the titles of President Emeritus and Trustee Professor for leading “the University through great change, including the COVID-19 global pandemic and successful transition to virtual learning and remote operations, followed by the phased return to in-person and hybrid instruction,” the resolution states.

As president, Nellis witnessed the sharpest decline in student enrollment in decades while the university laid off hundreds of its employees amid a budget crisis. He also received a vote of no confidence in 2020 from Faculty Senate.

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