Ohio is known for many things — Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cedar Point (the roller coaster capital of the world), Hocking Hills State Park, Kings Island, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, home to one of the largest zoos in the U.S., and much more. Throughout this great state, another noteworthy claim to fame includes universities with a rich background of academic excellence, especially when it comes to the history of Ohio University.

Who would have thought that a meeting between 11 men at the Bunch of Grapes Tavern in Boston in 1786 would lead to the development of one of Ohio’s best academic programs? These men gathered to propose the development of an area north of the Ohio River and west of the Allegheny Mountains, which eventually led to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. A key part of the establishment of this new territory in Ohio was “schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”

Ohio University was a direct result of this ordinance. The foundation of OU can be traced back to 1804 when it was established in the city of Athens by the Ohio legislature. The oldest college in the state officially opened in 1808 with only one building, three students, and one professor.

  • Fast forward to the present day, and impressive numbers reflect how OU has grown to become an outstanding educational beacon for students around the world:
  • More than 34,000 students are enrolled at the university.
  • Students have the option to choose from 250 degree programs with options for bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as certificates.
  • The most popular undergraduate major is biological sciences, and the most popular graduate major is general business.
  • The international student enrollment represents 116 countries.
  • Nearly 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty teach at OU.
  • Alumni encompass nearly 260,000 people worldwide.
  • The main campus is in Athens, but 10 regional campuses and satellite learning centers are located throughout the state in Chillicothe, St. Clairsville, Lancaster, Pickerington, Dublin, Ironton, Proctorville, Zanesville, Cleveland, and Beavercreek.

And here’s a fun fact about OU: Did you know that Cutler Hall is the oldest building established for higher education north of the Ohio River and west of the Allegheny Mountains? Built in 1816, it was named after Manasseh Cutler, who is attributed as the co-founder of the university.

OU also has a stand-out list of notable names who have called the campus home, including, musicians, actors, athletes, etc. — Nancy Cartwright, Mike Schmidt, Paul Newman, Piper Perabo, Ed O’Neill, and Arsenio Hall just to name a few.

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