Rod McDavis

After 13 years as president of Ohio University, Dr. Roderick J. McDavis assumed the role of AGB Search managing principal on March 1, 2017.

Dr. Roderick J. McDavis began his academic career at Ohio University in 1966, where he participated on the men's varsity track team and was a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Following completion of his undergraduate education in social sciences in secondary education, Dr. McDavis earned his master's degree in student personnel administration from the University of Dayton in 1971. He pursued his doctoral degree in counselor education and higher education administration from the University of Toledo. 

Upon the receipt of his Ph.D. in 1974, Dr. McDavis embarked on a progressive and broad career in higher education, which included various academic and administrative roles at the University of Florida, the University of Arkansas and Virginia Commonwealth University. All of these experiences prepared Dr. McDavis to attain his lifelong dream of serving as a college president. He achieved this goal when he assumed the presidency of Ohio University on July 1, 2004. 

As the university’s first African American president and only the second alumnus to lead the Ohio University in the institution’s 212-year history, Dr. McDavis has been a tireless ambassador. His contributions to higher education include assisting in the development of the state of Ohio’s technology commercialization implementation plan, the state’s first guaranteed tuition plan – the Ohio Guarantee™ -- and one of the first-of-its-kind performance-based funding models in the nation. As president, he developed and implemented Ohio University’s comprehensive strategic plan and has been instrumental in the success of The Promise Lives Campaign, which raised over half a billion dollars in support of students and programs, $50 million more than its fundraising goal. Many initiatives have come about as a result of his leadership: The Urban Scholar and Appalachian Scholar programs, The Interlink Alliance partnership, the Century Bond Debt Management Strategy, the Ohio Innovation Fund, the expansion of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine to new campuses in Dublin and Cleveland, in addition to Ohio University’s commitment to carbon neutrality.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. McDavis has been the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards. Most recently, he was named the Alumnus of the Year from the Ohio University Alumni Association and received the Diversity and Inclusion Medal of Excellence from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. He also was recognized by the Dublin Chamber of Commerce as the 2016 Business Person of the Year for his involvement in the creation of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine Dublin Campus. Additional awards and acknowledgements include: the University of Arkansas’ Silas Hunt Legacy Award, which recognizes African Americans for significant achievements or contributions to the community, the state, and the nation; the Post-Secondary Outstanding Educator Award from the North Central Florida Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa (1996), the Black Achiever’s Award in Education from the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators (1997), and Person of the Year in Education by The Gainesville Sun (1995). In 2007, Dr. McDavis was one of only six president and CEO-level leaders in the state to be recognized with a Leadership Ohio Award of Excellence. He also was inducted into the Association of Ohio Commodores in 2010. 

Through service on numerous boards and associations, Dr. McDavis constantly seeks to further Ohio University’s state and national leadership. Currently, he serves on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors and the NCAA Division 1 Board of Directors. He chairs The Interlink Alliance and the NCAA Division 1 Committee on Academics, and he was recently appointed to the Ohio Third Frontier Advisory Board. His past service includes leadership of the Ohio Higher Education Funding Commission 2.0, the Ohio Board of Regents Commercialization Task Force Academia Subcommittee, Ohio's Inter-University Council, the American Council on Education (ACE) Blue Ribbon Panel on Global Engagement, and the Board of Directors of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, among many others.

Dr. McDavis’ passion for education, mentoring, and preparing our next generation of leaders, thinkers, teachers, and entrepreneurs is evident as he leads Ohio University, building on its historic legacy of diversity and its vision to become the nation’s best transformative learning community.