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Video screenshot of OVU President Michael Ross

Ohio Valley University decides to close

University informs students that spring 2022 classes won't be offered.

Trustees of Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., have voted to close the 63-year-old Christian university.

OVU, which is associated with Churches of Christ, informed students, faculty and staff today of the decision not to offer classes in the spring 2022 semester, President Michael Ross confirmed to The Christian Chronicle.

“We strive to be an institution that conducts business with integrity while being good stewards of our resources,” Ross said. “Our current situation precludes us from doing that. I am proud of what we have accomplished and the changes we made to preserve the mission of the school. We hold our heads high knowing we did the right things for the right reasons.”

Related: OVU hadn’t met payroll in months as debt piled up

In a text message, he added: “As we struggled through this process, we have focused on the following Scripture: ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.’ Proverbs 3:5-6.”

While OVU has failed to make payroll since July, a donor who wishes to be anonymous has committed $900,000 pay all employees their full salaries through the end of December, said Don Lallathin, the university’s director of philanthropy.

“It feels good that we will be able to make payroll, and as we get into the Christmas season, we will be able to pay our employees,” Lallathin told the Chronicle. 

OVU is working on a plan to help seniors finish their education at other schools, Ross said. The university hopes to offer a college fair Friday. Total enrollment had dipped below 200.

Last week, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission posted a Dec. 10 meeting agenda with a resolution urging revocation of OVU’s authorization to confer degrees in the state, effective June 30, 2022. That resolution was scheduled to be considered this Friday.

Ross said OVU informed the state commission and the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States, of its decision.

An in-depth story in The Christian Chronicle last Friday detailed the financial challenges facing OVU and noted that payroll hadn’t been met in months as debt piled up.

Michael Ross, new president of Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., prays with students by a campus fountain.

Michael Ross, president of Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va., prays with students by a campus fountain in 2019.

CHERYL MANN BACON is a Christian Chronicle correspondent who served for 20 years as chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abilene Christian University. In retirement, she is enjoying freelance writing and consulting, especially with churches. Contact her at [email protected].

This is a breaking news report. Check back for updates.

Filed under: Christian higher education Education higher ed higher ed challenges National Ohio Valley Ohio Valley University OVU Partners Top Stories West Virginia

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