Ohio Christian University (OCU) was originally founded as Circleville Bible College and received its first students in September 1948. In 1966, the college moved from Circleville to a 40-acre tract on Route 22 east of Circleville, where it remains today. In 1999, OCU began offering a non-traditional adult degree completion program to serve busy adults. In 2007, OCU began offering online degrees. In addition to the main campus in Circleville, classes are also held in 12 other locations, including Columbus, Chillicothe, Dublin, Lancaster, Washington Courthouse, and Nelsonville. OCU was initially created to train ministers. The mission of the University has expanded to prepare individuals to serve both the church and society, and majors are now offered in business, agribusiness, disaster management and relief, intercultural ministries, logistics management, ministry, music, psychology, substance abuse counseling, and teacher education. On January 1, 2006, Dr. Mark A. Smith became the 10th president. In August 2006, the name of the college was changed to Ohio Christian University. Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, enrollment has grown from 380 to 3,146. The president’s administrative cabinet consists of seven vice presidents: provost, vice president for adult and graduate studies, vice president for finance, vice president for student development, vice president for enrollment, vice president for operations, and vice president for university advancement. The president seeks the advice of vice presidents for planning and making decisions, and he has developed an outstanding team. Vice presidents are empowered to lead their area, and are doing a wonderful job of leading the university under the president’s mentorship, as evidenced by OCU's recent success.
The remarkable growth we have experienced has been achieved by offering new education programs, offering our education programs at additional sites, and offering online education, which has become very popular with busy individuals. The evening and online programs are very convenient for busy adults, and instructors teach both theory and application because most of them are currently employed in their content area. Additional funding would allow OCU to recruit more students, offer programs at additional sites, and provide additional programs and services designed to help retrain the population for 21st century jobs.
OCU is leading efforts to bring new jobs to central Ohio, and OCU’s president, vice presidents, and faculty are involved in every aspect of the life of the community through leading economic development. Pickaway County has the lowest baccalaureate completion rate and highest unemployment rate in the eight-county Columbus metropolitan area. As the only institution of higher education in the county, OCU is uniquely positioned to educate both traditional students (ages 18-23) and busy adults--improving their lives, career opportunities, and overall economic stability of the region. OCU is serving inner-city Columbus with African-American professors who work very closely with the mayor of Columbus to impact the inner-city with education programs.