Nellis family with mayor

President Duane Nellis and first lady Ruthie greet Athens City Mayor Steve Patterson during the reception

Photographer: Ben Siegel

crowd at Rotunda

A large crowd showed up in the Walter Hall Rotunda to greet the University's first couple on March 17

Photographer: Ben Siegel

New President Duane Nellis and wife Ruthie greet Mark Weinberg, dean of the Voinovich School of Leadership of Public Affairs on Friday

President Duane Nellis and first lady Ruthie greet Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Dean Mark Weinberg

Photographer: Ben Siegel

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New president and first lady officially greet faculty, staff and students [VIDEO]

First couple to start duties June 12

Hundreds of Ohio University faculty, staff and students filled the Walter Hall Rotunda on Friday afternoon to greet newly elected president Dr. Duane Nellis and his wife Ruthie.

It was announced earlier in the day at the Board of Trustees meeting that the first couple will begin their official duties on June 12, a few weeks earlier than the July 1 start date that was originally announced.

The couple was visiting the campus last week to attend the Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday and Friday and to handle a few other business matters in preparation for their move to Athens.

The two-hour reception provided light desserts and drinks to attendees while the first couple individually greeted their new colleagues throughout the event.

Dr. Ebony Green, University College assistant dean in advising and student services, said that she was excited to meet the new president and his wife.

“Being a new member of the Ohio University family myself, it's exciting to see where we will be able to move the University to in the future,” Green said.

Christine Sheets, assistant vice president for capital and facilities and planning in the Vice President for Student Affairs Office, said it was “nice to meet the new president as we go through a transformational time. Seeing the first lady and all the excitement of all the people who attended was great.”

Liz Pahl, associate director of event management for Event Services, said this event served as a nice welcome reception for the University’s new first couple.

“It was a great time to meet the president and first lady and I was able to see some old friends that I haven’t seen in a while and also meet some new people,” Pahl said.  

Dr. Nellis was formally elected the 21st president of Ohio University during a Feb. 22 Board of Trustees meeting in Dublin, Ohio. The former Texas Tech University and University of Idaho president replaces Dr. Roderick J. McDavis, who left the position on Feb. 17 to become the managing principal and chief executive officer at AGB Search, a nationally renowned higher education search firm.

Dr. David Descutner, a longtime professor and administrator at the University, is serving as the interim president until June 12.