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.