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President Kulaga Talks about OCU's Future

Ohio Christian University is on a brand new path now that President Jon Kulaga has taken the reins from past president Dr. Mark Smith.

Kulaga comes to OCU from Asbury University in Kentucky, a Christian liberal arts college serving approximately 1,800 students. In addition, he has worked for Spring Arbor University, Kansas State University, and Central Christian College of Kansas.

OCU has seen a boon of activity in recent years, especially with the construction of the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center and the Ministry and Performing Arts Center, which will house the new chapel for students. "The first event likely to be held in our new Ministry and Performing Arts Center would be the Festival of Carols on December 2," Kulaga said.

Detty Chapel, home to the University Church, will not be torn down, according to Kulaga. Rather, the building will be renovated and will remain as the hub for University Church.

"After the chapel is renovated, [the next project will be] the first floor of the Maxwell Library," Kulaga said. "It needs to be a destination place for potential students taking tours, and a gathering place for students to meet. This will require the support of people who believe in the mission. We will not raise tuition for this."

Long term, OCU intends to continue growth to the east with new residence halls for students. "Once the new buildings are up, we may take down the old buildings," Kulaga said. "We would also like to focus on academic rigor."

The university has introduced several new Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree programs in fields such as data analytics, information technology, AYA — or high school — education, human services, and political science.

"We're also looking to increase enrollment," Kulaga said. "Long term, we'd like to see our enrollment in all programs double." Currently, the main campus in Circleville serves approximately 500 students, while the Adult and Graduate Studies program serves approximately 3,800 students in any given year. "Long term, it may also be possible to open another satellite campus in Florida," Kulaga said.

The university already has two campuses in Georgia — one in Atlanta, and one in Morrow. Through all of the changes OCU is currently going through, the university is still devoted to its mission of preparing students to serve church and society. "Everything we do is going to be focused on the mission," Kulaga said. "I'm working to spend my first 90 days listening to the frustrations and concerns. It's not about me; it's about we."

Kulaga said that before the university can move forward with future plans, the administration must first evaluate capacity and receive the opinions of stakeholders. "We intend to continue to be a great partner with the city of Circleville, Pickaway County, and the state," Kulaga said of Dr. Smith's initiatives based on leadership. "We're only limited by imagination and support," Kulaga said.

Source:  Maddy McCain, Staff Reporter, Circleville Herald