To the editor,
I am writing in response to Barry Thomas’ (in an Athens Messenger letter to the editor) concerns when it comes to the Trustee’s selection of Hugh Sherman to serve as President of Ohio University. He correctly states that words “strategy” and “strategic” are overused terms in connection with selection of university leadership. Typically, the ranks of such leadership come from academic backgrounds in arts and science and their primary responsibilities are to maintain the ship-of-state on an even keel and to cultivate donors. They are very infrequently called upon to truly make decisions necessary to restore the health of the institution. With enrollments down 6,000 students from what I understand, donations alone can not begin to fill the individual in-state tuition deficit $12,612.
President Sherman, based upon his earlier background in corporate business, his academic training in business and corporate strategy, his Voinovich involvement in regional development, and his utter success in building out the cash flows of the business school, was the right choice for the appointment by the Trustees. For Hugh, the words “strategic” and “strategy” carry very special meaning. He fully realizes that he is in a turn-around situation and he is fully prepared to take the kinds of decisions needed to restore OU to a growth path and proper place among Ohio’s state universities.
President Sherman will likely need the cooperation of faculty to remedy OU’s dwindling prospects when it comes to student enrollments. I, for one, would hope that faculty would be willing to put the interests of OU ahead of their own if called upon. Knowing Hugh, his ultimate ambition will be to grow Ohio University out of its current situation. Let’s hope and pray for his and Ohio University’s success.