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RGCC celebrates 40th anniversary with Wood Hall reopening

August 15, 2014

Vice President of Administration for RGCC Rebecca Long and URG Board Chair Jack Finch, left, along with Higher Learning Commission President Barbara Gellman-Danley and RGCC Board Chair Shawn Saunders cut the ribbon to reopen Wood Hall on Friday, Aug. 15. Fellow URG and RGCC Board members commemorate the historic day.

Vice President of Administration for RGCC Rebecca Long and URG Board Chair Jack Finch, left, along with Higher Learning Commission President Barbara Gellman-Danley and RGCC Board Chair Shawn Saunders cut the ribbon to reopen Wood Hall on Friday, Aug. 15. Fellow URG and RGCC Board members commemorate the historic day.

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College hosted local, state and regional dignitaries as it celebrated the 40th anniversary of the community college with a ribbon cutting ceremony to reopen Robert S. Wood Hall on Friday, Aug. 15.

Since the University of Rio Grande forged its partnership with Rio Grande Community College in 1974, 12,756 degrees have been awarded with 5,265 of them Associate’s Degrees. An additional 266 certificates also have been awarded.

Wood Hall has served as the epicenter of education for many of those degrees since it opened in 1988. Thanks to $3.5 million in state capital money, the 37,957-square-foot facility will continue to serve the students of southeastern Ohio and the region. The renovation project included a new student lounge, computer lab, conference rooms, psychology and social work observation studios, a faculty lounge and study, new furniture, new roofing, a new heating and cooling system, a new family restroom and a host of other bells and whistles.

“It looks a lot better; hands down,” Rio Grande senior Kassandra Mosher said. “Its something we can take pride and ownership in.

“It has a more inviting feel; a little warmer. I like the lounge with the laptop bar, because I’m one of those students who carts my laptop around campus.”

Mosher was one of several student ambassadors providing guided tours to guests following Friday’s ribbon cutting.

Countless contributors were thanked throughout the ceremony, including Rio Grande faculty, staff and students, as well as local, regional and state dignitaries from county commissioners to Governor John Kasich. It was truly a collective effort on various levels that made the Wood Hall renovation possible.

“It was really important to use at the end of this project that we have some wow factor,” said Rebecca Long, Vice President of Administration for RGCC. “I think that we were very successful in doing so. There is state-of-the-art technology throughout the building.”

The ceremony also included comments from community college Board Chair Shawn Saunders, university Board Chair Jack Finch and Higher Learning Commission President Barbara Gellman-Danley, Ph.D. The Wood Hall renovation stemmed from the Decade of Dreams strategic plan and Campus Master Plan, both of which were crafted under the leadership of Gellman-Danley, who served as Rio Grande president before taking over the HLC in July.

“I’m pleased to bring greetings from the Higher Learning Commission,” Gellman-Danley said. “Kudos to Governor John Kasich for his collaborative process for state capital dollars. The students of Rio Grande will be the benefactor for decades.”

The evening also included proclamations from the State of Ohio, signed by Governor Kasich and Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, and the State Treasurer of Ohio, Josh Mandel.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was followed by student-guided tours of Wood Hall and a catered reception that included the Rio Grande Jazz Ensemble and a showcase of student artwork.

“Rio Grande Community College gives students from some of the most impoverished counties in the state an opportunity to gain an education,” Long said. “We change people’s lives and I think it’s important we remember that. So today we’re celebrating Wood Hall and what we mean to our entire community.”

Founded in 1876 and nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of southeastern Ohio, the University of Rio Grande serves as an oasis of learning, innovation and technology. The 190-acre residential campus strikes a balance of liberal arts and experiential learning to prepare students for successful lives as responsible citizens in a culturally diverse, global community. An epicenter of cultural enrichment, Rio offers students a nurturing environment focused on the needs of the individual with a student-faculty ratio of 16:1 and a plethora of extracurricular activities ranging from Student Senate to Greek life, and intercollegiate athletics.