VIENNA -Situated on 266 wooded acres at one of the highest points in Wood County, Ohio Valley University continues to fuse higher education with biblical faith and service as it embarks on another 50 years in the community.
"From Ohio Valley University emerge men and women who are prepared to live, serve and work in a world that is eager for leaders who can overcome tumultuous times," said President E. Keith Stotts.
Founded in 1960, the school is affiliated with Churches of Christ, with the board and faculty drawn from that tradition. Boasting a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, OVU emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills within a liberal arts curriculum.
An aerial shot of Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg.
Last fall, OVU was once again ranked among the top schools in the region for graduation rates and freshman retention. Among universities in its category and region, its graduates have some of the lowest student debt. Overall, the school was ranked in the top tier as one of the best comprehensive baccalaureate universities in the South Region in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges" guide.
"Students are usually drawn to OVU because of its close-knit, family community where they know someone cares. But they soon learn 'community' is defined in the broadest terms," said OVU Vice President for Academic Affairs Jim Bullock. "We encourage students to get off campus, to get out of the bubble."
Baccalaureate degree programs are offered in a range of areas including accounting, education, business administration, psychology, biblical studies and others.
Bullock said OVU has developed an academic strategic plan that not only integrates higher learning and biblical faith, but encourages a student's connectedness with the global community. To that end, students must now complete a project in one of five areas - academic engagement, career cultivation, servant leadership, global connection or cultural enrichment - prior to graduation.
The Washington Center honored OVU last fall with eight $1,000 scholarships for students to attend various 2011 internships and seminars sponsored by the organization.
In fall 2005, OVU received a five-year $1.8 million federal Title III grant to strengthen the university through development of its math, science, and technology programs. University administrators have indicated that many benefits have emerged from this grant, including two state-of-the-art science labs, three wired classrooms, and the hiring of additional faculty in math and science.
As a result of program growth arising from this grant, OVU's new academic structure in 2008 was able to include a School of Mathematics and Sciences. Since the grant was implemented on campus, OVU's biology program has become the sixth most highly populated major. In addition, OVU's first senior to have come through the program, Mitch Ramsey, sat for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in the summer of 2010 and scored in the 96th percentile nationally (the 98th percentile in biology).
Last year OVU was also able to secure a grant from NASA to offer a course on climate change.
"It's partnerships like these that are changing the landscape of opportunities for our college students," Bullock said.