Sen. Voinovich speaking

With his wife Janet beside him, Sen. Voinovich chats with Jennifer Simon, director of the Ohio University Innovation Center

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

Voinovich speaking to group

After retiring as a U.S. senator, Voinovich served as a visiting professor at Ohio University

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

Sen. Voinovich

Sen. George Voinovich held a political office in Ohio for more than 47 years after graduating from Ohio University in 1958

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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University reflects upon George V. Voinovich’s contributions and legacy

Alumnus served the people of Ohio for more than 47 years

Dedicated alumnus, U.S. Senator and former Governor George V. Voinovich has made a remarkable impact upon the many lives that he touched at Ohio University. As our community mourns his passing, we also reflect upon the monumental legacy he leaves behind for generations of future Ohioans.

Senator Voinovich, who retired from the Senate at the end of his second, six-year term in 2010, dedicated over 47 years to public office in Ohio, 43 of them in elective office.

In addition to his time as a U.S. Senator, he served in public office as Mayor of Cleveland and Ohio Governor. He was honored to have served as both Chair of the National Governors Association and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and is the only person in American history to have done so.

A proud Ohio University alumnus, he began his time in public service as President of the Student Body and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government in 1958. He was honored as alumnus of the year in 2005.
In a statement to the Ohio community, President Roderick J. McDavis called the Senator “a great American, dearly beloved alumnus of Ohio University, and a stalwart public servant and political leader.” McDavis continued, “His passion for his community and state, his commitment and love for his family, and his unwavering support for educating the next generations of public servants serve as examples for why we revere him and feel blessed to have benefitted from his knowledge, wisdom, care, and compassion. Our thoughts and prayers are with Janet Voinovich and the Voinovich family as we mourn the loss of this tremendous man whose legacy will touch many generations now and into the future.”

In 1981, Ohio University founded the Institute of Local Government and Rural Development, and in 1995 expanded its activities with the creation of the Center for Public and Environmental Affairs. In 1998 this became to the Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs.

In 2007, the Ohio Board of Trustees voted to rename the center and created a campus wide multidisciplinary School. In January 2011, Senator Voinovich was named Ohio Visiting Professor of Leadership and Public Affairs at the Voinovich School.

In 2011, Senator Voinovich said, “It’s the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me in my entire life is that there’s a school named after George Voinovich at a University that really had a major role in the career that I had. But even more important than that is the fact that the school is really making a difference, particularly in southeastern Ohio, and improving the quality of life of the people there.”

Since being honored in 1998, Voinovich has remained committed to the success of the school. In his role as Ohio Visiting Professor of Leadership and Public Affairs at the Voinovich School, he frequently visited campus to participate in forums on topics including the economy and business development in Ohio, innovation in the public sector and politics and leadership.

He also was a great supporter of the alumni association, frequently participating in events recognizing achievement and excellence, particularly the annual Ohio State Government Alumni luncheon, where he served as keynote speaker on occasion.

“Senator Voinovich’s legacy will continue through the accomplishments of the Voinovich School, and we will act as stewards to preserve and honor his memory and place in history through his papers at his alma mater,” said Mark L. Weinberg, Founding Dean and Professor of the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

In addition to the School’s name, Ohio University houses his official papers at Alden Library with a Voinovich Seminar room. Additionally, Ohio University Press has been working on the publication of a Voinovich monograph.  

Senator Voinovich's funeral mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Euclid. He will lie in state on Thursday in the Cleveland City Hall rotunda.

Many former alumni and friends of the university have reached out to share their condolences. For tributes from alumni and friends of The Voinovich School visit

Senator Voinovich will always be remembered as a proud Bobcat! Click the links below for video archives.

Ohio Senator George Voinovich discusses the meaning of Ohio University’s College Gate [VIDEO]

Ohio Senator George Voinovich sings OHIO fight song "Stand Up And Cheer" [VIDEO]