McCracken Hall

(R-L): President Roderick McDavis, Executive Vice President Pam Benoit, Vice President for Development Bryan Benchoff, Chair of the Board of Trustees David A. Wolfort, Emeriti Faculty Glenn Doston, Dean Renee Middleton and Linda Reed

Photographer: Daniel Owen

McCracken Hall crowd

A large crowd witnessed the ribbon cutting ceremony for McCracken Hall on Jan. 27, 2017.

Photographer: Daniel Owen

McCracken Hall cheese sculpture

This cheese sculpture of McCracken Hall turned heads during the post event reception

Photographer: Daniel Owen

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Patton College of Education dedicates newly renovated McCracken Hall

Building expanded by more than 34,000 square feet


The Ohio University Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the recently renovated and expanded McCracken Hall on Friday, Jan. 27.

The ceremony featured comments from many different University representatives, including Board of Trustees Chair David Wolfort, Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis and Patton College Dean Renée A. Middleton.

The $32.8 million renovation was McCracken’s first one since it was built in 1959. The project increased the building’s square feet from 66,000 to 100,500 and added an extra floor (now four floors) and a four-story addition.

The project was made possible in part through OHIO alumna Violet L. Patton's generous financial commitment to the college in 2010. Construction began in April 2015 and was completed in December 2016. During the renovation, Patton College used Lindley Hall for faculty and staff office space and Tupper Hall for classroom space. Faculty and staff moved into the building in early January.

Wolfort, chair of the Ohio University Board of Trustees, provided the welcome remarks during the ceremony. After acknowledging some of the special guests in the audience, such as Athens City Mayor Steve Patterson, Athens City School Supt. Tom Gibbs and several Ohio University Board of Trustees members and local school principals, he shared his thoughts on the building.

"This project is really exciting, as the architects have exposed a wood ceiling on the fourth floor and maintained the historic front entrance, preserving the 50-year heritage of McCracken Hall," Wolfort said. "This complements the thoughtful renovation and new construction of growing a 66,600-square-foot state-of-the-art facility to a 100,500-square-foot facility."

Dr. Glenn A. Doston, a Patton College emeriti faculty member who helped lead the construction project on behalf of the college, said it was an honor for him to be in a new space.

“This is really an exciting day for the Patton College and Ohio University,” Doston said. “Let me say it’s a privilege for me to be here in this beautiful new space.”

Linda Reed, an alumna who is chair of the Dean’s Circle of Engagement, said the group is tasked with many responsibilities that can be summed up by two words, “national prominence.”

“Without question, the DCE has played an indispensable role in shaping The Patton College, and I am amazed by the programs we have created and the progress that we have made in such a short amount of time,” Reed said.

After recognizing many of the project’s primary donors who were in attendance, Reed told the audience that there are still naming opportunities available and donors can also purchase a legacy leaf that will hang on The Patton College tree on the first floor.

“I am extremely confident that you will be amazed by what you see inside these walls today,” Reed said.

First-year doctoral student in teacher education Marek Samblanet said the vast improvements that have taken place are truly phenomenal and offer students a unique learning space to pursue their passion in academia.

“Students will find that one of the more interesting rooms in McCracken Hall is the experimental lab, where it is possible for graduate teaching assistants to develop and post their lectures for online courses they may be teaching…” Samblanet said. “Having a college that so fully supports its students and their diverse academic interests is a college I want to be a part of now and in the future.”

Simone Hicks, a second-year doctoral student in counselor education and supervision from Opelika, Alabama, said she is impressed by some of the building’s new technology.

“It has some nice dissertation rooms, and, as a counselor, we have the George E. Hill Center for Counseling and Research,” Hicks said. “We are able to record sessions and do training in there, which is conducive to our learning. I like that the classrooms are very accessible and we are able to move the desks around. The building’s technology is also great for people with visual impairments.”

President McDavis, a Patton College alumnus, said he is truly in awe and is proud to say that the building has finally entered the 21st century.

“From meeting spaces to state-of-the-art classrooms, from the green roof to the outdoor terrace, the new McCracken Hall has just about anything you could want from a modern university building,” President McDavis said.

President McDavis said McCracken Hall has profoundly impacted his life and career path.

“I have a very personal connection to McCracken’s past, and I’m very happy to be connected to its future as an alumnus,” he said.

President McDavis gave special praise to Dean Middleton for her determination to get a new building for The Patton College.

“This new building wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of so many people, including Dean Middleton, who was an advocate for the renovation since she came to the University…,” President McDavis said. “Her vision and collaboration with Violet Patton, who funded a generous portion of the project, made today a reality. We cannot thank them enough; Dean Middleton for her leadership and Violet Patton for her generosity.”

After taking the podium, Dean Middleton expressed her appreciation of President McDavis, who will leave his position at the University on Feb. 17.

“Mr. President, you are a part of our past, our present and our enduring future,” Dean Middleton said. “We take great pride that this renovation happened under your leadership. Thank you for the time, it has been our privilege to call you Mr. President.”

Dean Middleton then spoke about some of the highlights of the building.

“As you can see, the building was designed to showcase experiential learning occurring within these walls: A view into the Demonstration Kitchen, the Experimental Lab, project rooms, and our Doxsee Collection,” she said. “Their preparation and learning may begin here, but it continues with the impact they are making, and will continue to make in our schools, community, and business enterprises.”

Dean Middleton proudly mentioned some of the national rankings The Patton College has earned over the past several years.

“Perhaps you haven’t heard that the U.S. News and World Report ranks The Patton College of Education 99th in best grad schools out of more than 350 colleges of education,” Dean Middleton said. “And the U.S. News and World Report for online graduate programs ranks the Patton College number 10! The Best Schools ranks two of our online programs in the top 10 nationally and our master’s program in reading is ranked seventh and our master’s program in curriculum and instruction is ranked ninth.”

Dean Middleton ended her speech by telling the audience that The Patton College is CALLED to LEAD (Change Agents who are Lifelong Learners committed to Embracing Diversity and LEADership) and will continue to be a change agent for the greater good.

“Ultimately, we are not defined by the size or splendor of our building; we are defined by the innovation, collaboration and dedication that occurs inside of it and extends outward. I am proud of our past, but I could not be more excited for our future,” she added. 

For more information about giving to The Patton College, visit http://www.ohio.edu/education/alumni-and-development/development.cfm.

To watch The Patton College Pre-Ribbon Cutting Video produced by Kim Barlag, The Patton College director of communication and design management, visit https://youtu.be/sLZZF-PO4hw.

The Patton College of Education was founded in 1886 and served as the first state-supported teacher preparation program in the state. In 2010, Violet L. Patton supported the college with a $28 million gift made in honor of her parents, Gladys and David. The Patton College of Education now boasts five departments: Counseling and Higher Education, Human and Consumer Science Education, Educational Studies, Recreation and Sport Pedagogy, and Teacher Education.