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About the George V. Voinovich School

The George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs is a multidisciplinary school at Ohio University named after the former U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich, a 1958 graduate of Ohio University, to honor his distinguished career in public service.

The Voinovich School is comprised of faculty and professional staff members who work in multidisciplinary project groups with students and faculty from various departments and colleges across Ohio University. The School integrates scholarship, learning, and practice to solve environmental and energy problems; promotes value creation, smart policymaking and innovation in governments and nonprofits; builds businesses, drives entrepreneurship, helps develop the region’s economy; and molds current and future strategic leaders in public and environmental affairs.

The work of the Voinovich School is focused in three main areas – Policy Innovation and Strategic Leadership, Energy and the Environment, and Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. In each of these three areas, the School manages degree programs and has an established track record in conducting applied research and providing services that address regional and state problems.

The Voinovich School is home to the Master of Public Administration, the Honors tutorial College/Voinovich School Undergraduate Research Scholars, and the Environmental Studies Program delivered in partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences. The School also partners with the College of Business to co-deliver the Center for Entrepreneurship.

George V. Voinovich

George Victor Voinovich (born July 15, 1936) is a former United States Senator from the state of Ohio. Previously, he served as the 65th Governor of Ohio from 1991 to 1998, and as the 54th mayor of Cleveland from 1980 to 1989.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Ohio University in 1958 and received a Law degree in 1961 from the Ohio State University. He was also a part of the fraternity Phi Kappa Tau at Ohio University. He married his wife, Janet, in 1962. They had four children: George, Betsy, Peter, and Molly, as well as seven grandchildren.

Voinovich began his political career in 1963 as an assistant attorney general of Ohio. He then served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1967 to 1971. From 1971 to 1976, he served as county auditor of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 1975, he made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination for Mayor of Cleveland against incumbent Mayor Ralph J. Perk. From 1977 to 1978, he served as a member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners. In 1978, Voinovich was elected lieutenant governor on the ticket with James A. Rhodes (the first Ohio lieutenant governor not to be elected separately from the governor).

In 1990, Voinovich was nominated by the Republicans to replace Governor Richard F. Celeste, a Democrat who was barred from running for a third consecutive term. In that race, Voinovich defeated Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. In 1991 Voinovich served as the Chairman of the Midwestern Governors Association. In 1994, Voinovich was re-elected to the governorship, defeating Democrat Robert L. Burch Jr. in a massive landslide. He won 72% of the vote.

Voinovich's tenure as governor saw Ohio's unemployment rate fall to a 25-year low. The state created more than 500,000 new jobs. Under Voinovich, Ohio was ranked #1 in the nation by Site Selection Magazine for new and expanding business facilities.

In 1998, barred from running for a third term as governor due to term limits, Voinovich set his eyes on the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by long-time incumbent Democrat John Glenn. Voinovich, who had run for senate unsuccessfully in 1988, won the race, defeating Democrat Mary O. Boyle. On January 11, 2009, Voinovich's aides reported that he had decided to retire from the Senate rather than seek reelection in 2010.

Additional highlights:

  • Article in the Columbus Dispatch on 12/12/2010, click here.

George V. Voinovich Collection

Ohio University’s Vernon R. Alden Library is fortunate to be the permanent home of the George V. Voinovich Collection (1991-1998), an exceptional and distinctive resource. These archives invite today’s students and faculty to learn about the career of one of Ohio’s outstanding governors – as well as about an important pe¬riod in the state’s history. The collection boasts correspondence, reports, legal opinions, subject files, renditions, requisitions, speeches, audio tapes, video tapes, photographs, briefing files, public inquiries, legislative bills, executive orders, schedules, interoffice and agency communications, and memorabilia. Additional materials include records of the two Lieutenant Governors and the First Lady.

The George V. Voinovich Collection, like other great collections, is a legacy, a public treasure that will be used by scholars and citizens far into the future when they want to understand the workings of government in the 20th century.


In November of 2012, the Ohio University Libraries and the George Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs at Ohio University partnered with the Center for Public History and Digital Humanities and the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University to bring to you an interactive digital home of the Voinovich Collections. This Omeka-based web platform provides users the opportunity to explore exhibits comprised of material from the collections, view multimedia pieces, and learn about George Voinovich's impressive 45-year career in public service.

The Voinovich Collections are comprised of three sets of archival collections created by three of the offices held by George Voinovich: Mayor of Cleveland, Governor of Ohio, and United States Senator. In addition to this virtual location, The Voinovich Collections are physically housed at two institutions:

  • The Mayoral Papers(1979-1989): The Western Reserve Historical Society  - Cleveland, Ohio
  • The Gubernatorial (1990-1998) and Senatorial Papers  (1998-2010): Ohio University-  Athens, Ohio

The goal of this project is to bring together the three archival collections into an integrated and searchable digital collection. In addition, there is great educational importance in disseminating the archival materials far more widely then is otherwise typically possible for such archives. It is the project team's hope that students will benefit from this innovative tool by advancing solid research skills and developing an interest in public service. Ultimately, it is the unique collaboration between two great Ohio institutions that aims to bring transformative education into the classroom across the nation.

This project does not seek to digitize the Voinovich Collections in their entirety. Documents drawn from the collections will be digitized in an incremental fashion according to thematic foci. These foci are chosen based on faculty, classroom, and student demand.

Please explore the Voinovich Collections online: http://www.voinovichcollections.library.ohio.edu/


How to Find Us

Travel Directions to the Voinovich School - located in Buildings 19, 21 and 22 on the Ridges at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.



voinovich map
  1. When entering Athens from U.S. Routes 33 or 50, take the exit for 682/Ohio University. (Note: If coming from Columbus on U.S. 33, do not take the 682/The Plains Exit, wait until you see the 682/Ohio University Exit).
  2. At the bottom of the exit ramp, go straight through the roundabout, crossing Richland Avenue. (The football stadium and basketball arena will be on your right across the river.)
  3. Take the first left onto Ridge Road and go up the hill to the Ridges.
  4. There is a yield sign at the top of the hill.
  5. Building 22 of the Voinovich School is straight ahead.
  6. To reach Voinovich School Buildings 19 and 21, turn left.
  7. The main building of the Ridges complex is on your right, home of the Kennedy Museum of Art.
  8. Building 19 of the Voinovich School is towards the end of the main building in the new addition.
  9. Building 21 of the Voinovich School is the only building on the left and is across the drive from Building 20.
  10. For all buildings, please see building reception regarding parking permits.
  11. If you require additional information, please call the Voinovich School at (740) 593-9381.

History of the Voinovich School


The Ohio University Board of Trustees created the original organization, the Institute for Local Government Administration and Rural Development (ILGARD). Mark Weinberg was the founder and has served as Director since inception. From 1981 to 2007, the organization was part of the College of Arts and Sciences.


A seminal event in the School’s development came in 1985 with the creation of the Rural Universities Program (RUP) by the Ohio General Assembly. This program and the metropolitan companion the Urban Universities Program, served as the major statewide public service programs of the Ohio Board of Regents.


The Ohio University Board of Trustees created an umbrella center called the Center for Public and Environmental Affairs (CEPA) to house ILGARD and the Environmental Studies Program.


The George V. Voinovich Center for Leadership and Public Affairs was established on December 11, 1998 when the Ohio Board of Trustees voted to rename and expand the existing academic center including an Executive Leadership program and entrepreneurship program.

A significant milestone came with the launching of the Ohio University Executive Leadership Institute (OUELI) to address the unique challenges faced by public sector executives as they carry out their missions that result in creating value for the public. OUELI faculty and staff worked closely with representatives from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to design the program.


Governor Taft, the Ohio Board of Regents, and the Ohio General Assembly recognized the opportunity to use Ohio University to implement a new strategy, the Appalachian New Economy Partnership (ANEP), to strengthen the region’s growth and competitiveness in the current and emerging knowledge-based economy. Also, the OUELI’s scope expanded nationally through collaboration with the Public Children Services Association to deliver executive development to children services executives in Ohio and nine other states.


The George V. Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs was established on April 20, 2007 when the Ohio Board of Trustees voted to rename the center. The School became the first multidisciplinary school at Ohio University and continues to focus on applied research, leadership development, and applications learning across colleges.