Office of the President
Joseph A. Alutto
Interim Term: July 1, 2007 - September 30, 2007 (3 months)
Karen Ann Holbrook (13th president)
b. November 6, 1942
Term: October 1, 2002 – June 30, 2007 (5 years)
Karen Holbrook came to Columbus from the University of Georgia, where she served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, professor of cell biology, and adjunct professor of anatomy and cell biology and medicine at the Medical College of Georgia. Before that, she was at the University of Florida at Gainesville and the University of Washington School of Medicine. She spent the majority of her academic career as a professor of biological structure and medicine and gained a national reputation for her expertise in human fetal skin development and genetic skin disease.
Holbrook earned bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and a doctorate in biological structure from the University of Washington School of Medicine, where she pursued postdoctoral training in the Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology.
Edward Harrington Jennings
b. February 18, 1937
Interim Term: July 1, 2002 - September 30, 2002 (3 months)
William English Kirwan (12th president)
b. April 14, 1938
Term: July 1, 1998 - June 30, 2002 (4 years)
William Kirwan served nine years as president of the University of Maryland, College Park, where he was a faculty member for 34 years. He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in 1962 and 1964. He was a member of several honorary and professional societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, the American Mathematical Society, and the Mathematical Association of America. A prolific scholar, he was co-editor of the book Advances in Complex Analysis and has published many articles on mathematical research. Kirwan left The Ohio State University to become chancellor of the University System of Maryland in 2002.
John Richard Sisson
b. October 16, 1936
Interim Term: December 15, 1997 - June 30, 1998 (6 ½ months)
Elwood Gordon Gee (11th president)
b. February 2, 1944
Term: September 1, 1990 - January 2, 1998 (7 years)
Born in Vernal, Utah, E. Gordon Gee graduated from the University of Utah, with honors, in 1968 as a history major, and Columbia University with his law and doctoral degrees. He spent a year clerking under Chief Judge David T. Lewis of the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. He was named a judicial fellow and staff assistant to the United States Supreme Court. He worked directly for and with Chief Justice Warren Burger on administrative and legal problems confronting the Court and the federal judiciary. He returned to Utah again after a year in Washington, then to the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University in Provo. He became both a tenured associate professor and assistant dean. He later became full professor and in 1979, the West Virginia University law school in Morgantown hired him as dean. In November 1981, he became president of the University of West Virginia, where he stayed four and a half years before becoming president of the University of Colorado on July 1, 1985. He became president of Ohio State in 1990 and went on to become president of Brown University in 1997 and chancellor of Vanderbilt University in 2000.
Edward Harrington Jennings (10th president)
b. February 18, 1937
Term: September 1, 1981 - August 31, 1990 (9 years)
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Edward Jennings served as the 10th president of The Ohio State University from 1981 to 1990 and then as interim president from July 1 to September 30, 2002. He also served as professor of finance in the Fisher College of Business until his retirement on April 1, 2002. He served as president of the University of Wyoming from 1979 to 1981 and as vice president of finance and university services at the University of Iowa, where he served on the finance faculty for 10 years from 1976 to 1979. In addition, Jennings held visiting appointments at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and the University of Hawaii. He received his doctorate in finance from the University of Michigan, a master's of business administration from Case Western Reserve University, and a bachelor's in industrial management from the University of North Carolina. He returned to the faculty at Ohio State and held the position of interim president from July to September, 2002, retiring from the faculty that year.
Harold Leroy Enarson (9th president)
May 24, 1919–July 28, 2006
Term: September 1, 1972 - August 31, 1981 (9 years)
Born in Villisca, Iowa, Harold Enarson grew up in New Mexico during the Depression and persevered in getting a college education. He graduated from the University of New Mexico, with honors (1940), worked in the Bureau of the Budget in Washington, D.C., and, after Pearl Harbor, enlisted in the army. He finished his master’s degree after World War II at Stanford. After the war, he also served for six years as executive director of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). He received his doctorate in political science and public administration at American University in Washington. His academic career began when he was named Administrative Vice President at the University of New Mexico. There he created a four-year medical school, and developed one of the nation’s largest Peace Corps training programs for Latin America. In 1965, he accepted the presidency of the newly established Cleveland State University.
Novice Gail Fawcett (8th president)
March 29, 1909–June 19, 1998
Term: August 1, 1956 - August 31, 1972 (16 years)
Born near Gambier, Knox County, Ohio, Novice Fawcett graduated from Kenyon College in 1931 with a bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, (science and mathematics). He received a master’s degree (1937) from The Ohio State University. A former teacher and athletic coach, he went on to serve as superintendent of Gambier Public Schools (1934-38); Defiance Schools (1938-43); Bexley Schools (1943-47); assistant superintendent of Akron Schools (1947-49); and superintendent of Columbus Public Schools (1949).
July 2, 1864–October 2, 1951
Acting Term: July 1, 1938 - January 31, 1940 (1 year)
Howard Landis Bevis (7th president)
November 19, 1885–April 24, 1968
Term: February 1, 1940 - June 30, 1956 (16 years)
Originally from Bevis, in Hamilton County, Ohio, Howard Bevis was a University of Cincinnati graduate in arts (1908) and law (1910). He received a doctor of juristic science degree from Harvard in 1920, practiced law in Cincinnati, and taught law at the University of Cincinnati. In 1933, he was appointed to fill a vacancy in the State Supreme Court were he served a year and a half. He went to Harvard to become the Ziegler Professor in Law and Government and taught on the faculties of graduate school of business administration and the graduate school of public administration. He served in World War I as a civilian in ordnance and later in the legal section of the Air Service. He was also a state director of finance.
George Washington Rightmire (6th president)
November 15, 1868–December 23, 1952
Term: March, 1926 - July 1, 1938 (12 years)
A native of Center Furnace in Lawrence County, Ohio, George Rightmire graduated from The Ohio State University in 1895 and taught at Columbus North High School for seven years. He studied law and practiced patent law, trademark law, and copyright law in Columbus from 1904-1919. He started as an instructor in the College of Law, later became full professor, and in 1908-09 was acting dean of the law school.
George Washington Rightmire
November 15, 1868–December 23, 1952
Acting Term: November 6, 1925 - March 1926 (4 months)
William Oxley Thompson (5th president)
November 5, 1855–December 9, 1933
Term: July 1, 1899 - November 5, 1925 (26 years)
Born in Cambridge, Ohio, William Thompson attended Muskingum College, leaving in the summers to work on a farm, and graduated in 1878. He attended Western Theological Seminary in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and went on to become an ordained minister. He moved to Colorado after the death of his wife in 1885 and turned to educational work at the college level. He became president of Synodical College of the Synod of Colorado and later returned to Ohio and served as president of Miami University.
James Hulme Canfield (4th president)
March 18, 1847–March 29, 1909
Term: July 1, 1895 - June 30, 1899 (4 years)
Born in Delaware, Ohio, James Canfield grew up in New York City, attended Williams College, and later was employed by a railroad construction firm in the West. He went to Jackson, Michigan, to study law and for a time practiced law at St. Joseph, Michigan. He was a faculty member at the University of Kansas starting in 1877 (for 14 years) teaching English language and literature, history, and political science and was chancellor of the University of Nebraska.
William Henry Scott (3rd president)
September 1, 1840–January 11, 1937
Term: June 20, 1883 - June 30, 1895 (12 years)
From Athens, Ohio, William Scott graduated from Ohio University in 1862. He was admitted to the Methodist ministry. In 1865, he took a pastorate in Chillicothe and in 1867, another in Columbus. In 1869, he became a professor at Ohio University and in 1872, at age 32, became Ohio University’s president. He was not related to Walter Quincy Scott, second president of The Ohio State University.
Walter Quincy Scott (2nd president)
December 19, 1845–May 9, 1917
Term: June 21, 1881 - June 20, 1883 (2 years)
Walter Scott, a native of Dayton, attended Union Theological Seminary and Lafayette College after serving in the Fourth Iowa Calvary in the Civil War. In 1874, he became pastor of Arch Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and in 1878 was called to Wooster College as professor of mental and moral philosophy and political economy.
Edward Francis Baxter Orton, Sr. (1st president)
March 9, 1829–October 16, 1899
Term: September 17, 1873 - June 21, 1881 (8 years)
Edward Orton, Sr., was the first president of The Ohio State University, known then as Ohio A&M College. He was a professor of Geology 1873-1899 and geologist from 1882 until his death in 1899. Orton Hall is a tribute to Orton's dedicated service towards the understanding of the geology of Ohio.