ONU Announces Retirement of President DiBiasio

Written on February 15, 2021

Ohio Northern University President Daniel A. DiBiasio, longest-serving Ohio private colleges leader, to retire

ADA, Ohio – It is with considerable admiration and gratitude for his many years of academic leadership that Ohio Northern University announces the impending retirement of President Daniel A. DiBiasio, which will take effect June 30, 2022.

DiBiasio, who is 71 years old and was hired in August 2011 as Ohio Northern’s 11th president, told the campus community in a letter that his stewardship here “has been – and for the next year and a half will continue to be – a great privilege and tremendous honor.”

Noteworthy accomplishments during DiBiasio’s tenure thus far include attracting and retaining first-rate faculty; emphasizing student involvement in high-impact practices; increasing opportunities for community service and engagement; expanding athletics; strengthening the institution’s financial foundation; building and renovating existing facilities for 21st century learning; and successfully attracting philanthropic support for capital projects and scholarships. He has also expanded ONU’s sustainable energy practices and recently launched a comprehensive effort to increase diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.

DiBiasio says he is looking forward to celebrating ONU’s Sesquicentennial which will launch later this year and carry into 2022. He believes the University is “well positioned to achieve greater success in the future” as it continues to face the all-consuming challenges the pandemic has presented.

“As we rose successfully to meet the challenges of COVID-19 last semester, we will rise again to meet its continuing challenges,” says DiBiasio. “We will draw on our creativity, our resilience and our commitment to one another to get through this trying time.”

“I will be here to work with you on these issues as we complete this academic year and for the next year as well,” DiBiasio reassured the community.

DiBiasio thanked his wife, Chris Burns-DiBiasio, who has served in a voluntary capacity as ONU’s director of community relations, for her love and support, and “for the incredible work she does to connect the University to the community.” The couple have two sons, Matthew (Devon) and Michael (Sarah), and a grandson, Edward.

“For the past 11 years, Ohio Northern University has been blessed to have Dan DiBiasio, with the support of his wife, Chris, leading our ONU community,” says Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Daniel B. Walker. “With grace and intellect, Dan has guided ONU through one of the most challenging environments for higher education. Because of his strong leadership, open communication style and engaging personality, Ohio Northern will continue to succeed in offering unparalleled educational and enrichment opportunities.”

“We are grateful for Dan and Chris’ commitment and fortitude, and wish them health and happiness as they plan for the next chapter in their lives,” Walker says.

“Dan will be greatly missed by me and all of Ohio’s independent college sector,” says C. Todd Jones, president and general counsel of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio.

“For more than 25 years as a president, he has represented our institutions before legislators and governors. He served as chair of our state AICUO and as a board member of our national group, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. His counsel is regularly sought by our state’s leading policy makers, and in his unique, low-key manner, he builds consensus, a characteristic missing too often in these difficult times,” Jones says.

Prior to becoming ONU’s president, DiBiasio served as president of Wilmington College in Wilmington, Ohio from 1995 to 2011, overseeing excellent growth as evidenced by adding academic programs, building and renovating student apartments, constructing a new equine center and expanding the Boyd Cultural Arts Center.

By the time DiBiasio retires, he will have served 27 years as a college president in Ohio, completing a 45 year career in higher education. He is currently the longest-serving president among independent college and university presidents in Ohio (total tenure).

He began his career in 1974 at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana, where he served as an admissions counselor and dean of students. After earning his Ph.D. at The Ohio State University, he was appointed assistant dean of the graduate school at OSU. He was an executive officer of the council of presidents for the New England Land Grant Universities from 1984-87. At the University of New Hampshire, DiBiasio served as executive assistant to the president from 1987-91 and as interim vice president of student affairs from 1991-95. Throughout his career, he has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, published, and given scholarly presentations at national and regional conferences.

His other leadership roles include serving on many national, state and local boards. DiBiasio is currently Board Chair of Educational and Institutional Insurance Administrators and a past member of Liberty National Bank Board and the Ohio Campus Compact Board.

DiBiasio earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Ohio Wesleyan University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from The Ohio State University.

The Board of Trustees will conduct a national search for the 12th president of Ohio Northern University.


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