I was probably about 5 when I first set foot on an Ohio State campus. My mother worked in the administration building on the Columbus campus — the very building where I have spent the past 5½ years as Ohio State’s executive vice president and provost.
Throughout my life, Ohio State has been a constant. I count myself among the legions whose lives have been shaped by this university, and I am grateful and proud to be a part of this academic community. I often say that I am a Buckeye and a “bug guy,” but there is a profound truth at the center of this quip.
I write today as we prepare to welcome incoming Executive Vice President and Provost Melissa Gilliam to Ohio State, and as I prepare to return to my faculty home in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. This transition will take place Aug. 1, but I thought this was an opportune time to offer my appreciation to you — my friends and colleagues.
I have always thought of leadership as a privilege, and I have started each day as a provost by reminding myself of that fact. I have met so many extraordinary Buckeyes over the years, and each has played a role in defining who we are as a university — and how we can become an even greater, more inclusive and more impactful community.
I know this from personal and professional experience.
When I was 12, I already had developed a fascination with bugs, but 4-H nurtured that into a dream of becoming an entomologist. I later made my transition into adulthood here, when I lived in Ohio Stadium (it was then a co-op dorm, as well as the home to Ohio State football). Before earning my PhD, I worked in communities throughout the state as an Extension agent. And then in 2012, I returned to Ohio State to serve as dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Each of these steps taught me more about myself and more about the people who bring this university’s potential to life. This has only been amplified since I became provost in 2016 and gained an even broader view of what we can and do achieve together.
So please accept my profound thank you. I know that the future is even brighter because our community is never satisfied with the status quo. We have come to Ohio State to invent the future, and I could not be more optimistic about our mission.
I will be going on vacation for the next two weeks before returning to close out my term as provost. Please know that during this transition period, Senior Vice Provost Kay Wolf will provide continuity of academic leadership and we are both working closely with incoming Provost Gilliam.
Thank you for being such an important part of my life. I will be moving my office and changing roles, but I remain forever a Buckeye.
Bruce A. McPheron, PhD
Executive Vice President and Provost