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Ohio Christian University President Resigns and Celebrates 11 years

Ohio Christian University announces the resignation of Dr. Mark A. Smith who is in his 11th year as President of the university.  Dr. Smith has led the university from 400 students to more than 4600 students and has emphasized serving the community.  


During his time as President, the university achieved multiple successful accreditation visits, received initial accreditation in Nursing and Teacher Education, and established many new academic programs.  The university began offering online classes under Dr. Smith and has added graduate programs such as a recognized top MBA program and ministry programs. The university is currently adding a Master of Education and preparing for its first Doctorate program.


Dr. Smith led the revitalization of the campus by overseeing new construction of residence halls, athletic facilities, classrooms, Maxwell Center (gymnasium), Science & Logistics Center, and Dean & Diana Hickman Student Center. Additionally, two buildings are under construction:  Business Innovation Center and Performing Arts Center. 


Some of Dr. Smith’s greatest accomplishments were in the area of fundraising and community focus.  Dr. Smith has brought many dollars to the Pickaway County community. He always led everyone to think first about investing in the community, and supporting area churches to serve the community.


Dr. Smith’s love for the church has been evident as he has hosted many events on campus to support the ministries of the church.  Ohio Christian has been true to the university’s mission of serving both the church and society.


The President and his wife loved students as Dr. Smith attended as many events as possible to support the students of the university.  Mrs. Smith was a wonderful hostess with many events in their home for students.  Her gift of hospitality, grace, and eye for excellence were always on display at home and on campus.  Mrs. Smith oversaw the Christmas light display and decorations of the campus.


Dr. Smith said upon announcing his resignation to the board, “It has been my joy to serve as Ohio Christian University’s President for the last 11 years.  Debbie and I have given everything to serve Ohio Christian University in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.  We understand that God has guided this place and our lives through a tremendous period of growth numerically, spiritually and in facilities.  Our lives have been poured into students, and we will always remember fondly our time at OCU.  We have loved serving OCU students.  They mean the world to us.”


He also added,” I would like to take this moment to thank the board for supporting my vision and growth of OCU.  I would also like to thank the faculty, staff and students and this community for allowing our family to serve.  We love you!”


Dr. Smith’s resignation will be effective on June 30.  For this last semester, he will be working with Provost Dr. Hank Kelly, who has worked by his side for 17 years, to begin assuming day-to-day operations as Dr. Smith focuses on community and donor relations for the last dollars needed for the Performing Arts Center.


Though we are saddened to see him and his family go, we are excited for the new ministry and opportunities that lie ahead for them in this next chapter of their lives.  On February 2nd, the Board of Trustees of Columbia International University (CIU) in Columbia, South Carolina, voted to confirm Dr. Smith as their new president beginning July 1, 2017.


We look forward to hearing about the great things God does for CIU through Dr. Smith as he puts to use the gifts and leadership abilities with which he’s been bestowed.  Dr. Smith and his wife, Debbie, have made a lasting impact on the lives that they’ve touched at OCU and will be missed greatly.  We wish them all the best in this new endeavor.


The Board of Trustees will announce a time in the future for celebrating how God has used Dr. Smith and his family. For more information, please contact the President’s Office 740-477-7713.