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Miami Says Farewell As Hodge Retires

Jeff Sabo
Miami University
Board of Trustee Chair David Budig, left, Miami Ambassador Valerie Hodge and President David Hodge celebrate "Miami's Decade of Accomplishments."

Miami University honored outgoing president David Hodge Friday. During its regular meeting Friday morning the board of trustees recognized Hodge for his ten years of service. He's retiring at the end of the month.

Board Chair David Budig says Hodge led the university through a recession, while streamlining procedures and student costs.

During the meeting, Hodge about the dedication of the university's faculty and staff. In a statement to WVXU and WMUB, he says, "Miami University is known nationally and internationally for a faculty, and staff, who care deeply about students and their success, a place that’s always advancing the way we educate our students. At the heart, we’re an institution that believes a liberal education is the foundation for all learning and education."

Incoming President Greg Crawford takes over in July.

Here's Budig's  full letter to the Miami community:

Miami's Decade of Accomplishments At today’s board of trustees meeting, we recognized David and Valerie Hodge for their dedicated service to Miami University. Their impending retirement provides an opportunity for us to reflect on Miami’s achievements during the past 10 years. These were challenging times as the U.S. struggled through a financial recession of historical dimensions, and higher education experienced significant changes with increased demands at the state and national levels. Miami rose to the challenges and by all measures, we are a much better University today. The successes of the past decade are the result of the commitment of Miami’s extraordinary faculty and staff, the support of our passionate alumni and friends, and President Hodge’s leadership. Thanks to these great efforts, Miami will welcome its new president to a University that is in a position of strength and poised to achieve even greater success moving forward. Here is just a sampling of the many accomplishments—often transformational—from the past decade: The academic community transformed Miami’s foundation courses with the Top 25 Project. Today’s Miami students are engaged in re-envisioned, precedent-setting, “flipped classroom” courses that encourage interactive learning. Miami has become a national leader in experiential learning with high rates of student research, internships and study abroad. More than half of this year’s graduating class had an international experience during their years at Miami. The Miami Access Initiative was created to provide tuition and academic fees for qualified Ohio students whose families have incomes of $35,000 or less. To date, 1,853 Ohio students have participated in the program. The incoming class this fall launches the new Guaranteed Tuition program, locking in the cost of tuition and fees for four years. Miami responded to the challenges of the 2009 recession with a dedicated plan to streamline procedures and costs while continuing to prioritize Miami’s core mission of undergraduate education and research. The Strategic Priorities Task Force, led by and made up of faculty and staff across Miami’s campuses, collaborated to develop recommendations—implemented over five years—to lead Miami to increased national prominence while building a sustainable budget. Miami’s LEAN Initiatives have generated close to $40 million in combined new revenues and cost reductions/avoidance, and Responsibility Center Management (RCM) is helping divisions and offices reap the financial benefits of innovative planning. Because of all of these efforts and the dedication of Miami faculty and staff, Miami is the No. 1 most efficient University in the nation for producing a high-quality education. In other words, no University leverages its limited resources to a better outcome. We dedicated full years to goals or events we believed were significant. In 2009, we celebrated Miami’s 200th Anniversary with Bicentennial activities. In 2011-2012, we highlighted and enjoyed the Year of the Arts. In 2013-2014, we celebrated Freedom and honored Western College’s important role in 1964’s tumultuous Freedom Summer. This past year, we strived to educate more creative and innovative graduates and become a more creative and innovative institution. The University completed a $500 million capital campaign (ultimately raising over $535 million) to support Miami’s academic mission and in 2015, launched an additional $100 million scholarship campaign. Since 2006, Miami has raised $138 million in scholarship support for our students. The value of Miami’s combined endowment grew from $315 million to $435 million. Through the generosity of alumni and friends, we created 32 new endowed professorship and chairs. Through state capital appropriations, budgeting and alumni support, Miami constructed new academic buildings for Engineering, the Farmer School, and Psychology and completely renovated Kreger and Shideler. Major renovation is occurring in Hughes to accommodate swing space while Pearson is completely renovated. Residential and dining spaces were upgraded or added to meet deferred maintenance requirements, structural deficiencies and increased demand—with many receiving LEED certification. Indoor training facilities were built for use by student athletes and Intramural Sports participants. After years of requests from our students, the Armstrong Student Center opened in 2014, generously supported by 11,000 alumni who contributed over 60 percent of the funding. The expanded Career Services Center will be located in the East Wing now under construction. Through innovative technologies and renovation, Miami has reduced its energy consumption by 36 percent per square foot since 2008 and is nearly independent of burning coal in the steam plant. Academic support for students increased with the addition of The Humanities Center, the Lockheed Martin Institute for Leadership, the Wilks Leadership Institute, the Howe Writing Center and an Office for Undergraduate Research, just to name a few. The University expanded its core liberal arts Miami Plan to the Global Miami Plan. In 2012, we addressed ongoing changes reshaping the higher education landscape with the Miami 2020 Plan. Faculty, staff and administrators again collaborated to help the University anticipate technological advances, economic challenges, demographic changes, among others, and adapt them to the University’s core vision of providing "the best undergraduate experience in the nation, enhanced by superior, select graduate programs.” This was accomplished by promoting “a vibrant learning and discovery environment that produces extraordinary student and scholarly outcomes.” With the 2020 Plan guiding our efforts, we continued to invest in Miami’s academic mission and our most important asset—our faculty and staff. Examples include continuing to increase the number of tenure/tenure track faculty positions after reducing the number of searches during the financial crisis, and by providing salary increases every year since fiscal year 2011 with additional targeted market adjustments for faculty to maintain salary competitiveness. National recognition for the commitment of our faculty and staff to undergraduate teaching grew as Miami has been ranked the No. 1 or No. 2 public University in the nation, and in the top five overall, for its commitment to undergraduate education by U.S. News & World Report. Miami Regionals were reorganized as an academic division and now have 12 departments that offer 16 bachelor degrees and one master’s degree with a record number of students enrolled in the Regionals’ online education programs. Graduate placement rates have soared as employers and graduate programs seek out Miami graduates. For the 2015 class, more than 95 percent of Miami-Oxford graduates were employed or in graduate school within six months of graduation. Miami attracts more than four times the number of employers to campus than the average of other universities our size. Miami’s incoming class has grown more academically accomplished and diverse each year. The 2016 fall entering class has an average ACT score of 28.4 and 15.2 percent of the incoming students are from domestically diverse backgrounds—this is up from 26.0 and 9.0 percent in 2006. In addition to increasing the number of students from across the U.S., the number of international students at Miami has risen from 321 in 2006 to 2,311 last fall. The number of students seeking a Miami education has increased each year. In 2016, Miami received 29,767 applications compared to 15,498 in 2006. Higher education institutions will continue to face challenges and demands in the future and sadly, many will struggle. However, because of these achievements and many others during the past decade—combined with the strong foundation we have developed—we are confident Miami has the strength and momentum to thrive as we meet those new challenges. We are excited about the opportunities and achievements yet to come and to the roles that incoming President Greg Crawford and Renate Crawford will play in moving Miami forward, but we must also recognize how we got to this point. Together, we have accomplished much, and we now face an exciting future. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you to David and Valerie Hodge and to all of Miami’s dedicated faculty and staff. For Love and Honor!


Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.