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Published 10/14/2005

Owens Community College Celebrates 40 Years of Excellence

From the groovy days of peace, love and leisure suits to the present days of reality television and the Internet, Owens Community College has successfully focused on student and community needs throughout the years by reinventing itself as an academic institution, adapting to changing technologies and enriching the lives of students each and every day. In recognition of that excellence, Owens Community College is proud to celebrate its 40th anniversary year of making a difference in the lives of students throughout Northwest Ohio.

Decorative flowers highlighting Owens' 40 anniversary adorn a flower bed in front of the College's Administration Hall. The College officially marked its 40th anniversary with a ceremony, which included the unveiling of commemorative 40th anniversary stones. Forty stones, (each representing a year for which Owens has been in existence) highlight significant moments within the College's history. Additional festivities occurring as part of the celebration included a 1965 Dress-up Day.

"Owens Community College has molded the lives of so many individuals throughout the years," said Dr. Bill Ivoska, Owens vice president of Student Services, who has served Owens since 1976. "The College has grown from 2,000 students when I started to annually serving more than 45,000 students today. During that time, we have stayed true to our roots by providing students with a quality, affordable education - and that is still our number one priority."

Owens Community College officially opened its doors as Penta County Technical Institute. Founded on a 50-acre plot of land known as the old Rossford Army Depot, the College opened to nearly 200 eager students in its first year of existence.

"Originally, all of the divisions and offices were in the Barracks, which were two red brick army buildings that were remnants of the Rossford Army Depot," said Janell Lang, Owens dean of the School of Health Sciences, who has served Owens for nearly 35 years. "Working in the Barracks was a wonderful experience. It promoted a sense of interconnectedness between employees and students that has stayed with us through the decades."

Owens Board of Trustee RJ Molter, who has served the College as a board member for over 30 years, remarks about the academic institution's historical past as part of a special ceremony to celebrate 40 years of excellence. After being charted by the Ohio Board of Regents in 1967, the campus steadily grew. Owens, which originally offered four program areas, soon started providing students with a community atmosphere via The Barn, a student activities center where students were encouraged to participate in social activities. Owens also began its athletic program in the late 1960s.

In the 1970s, the College officially adopted the name of The Michael J. Owens Technical College, named for Michael Owens, a Toledo-area inventor who changed the glass industry by mechanizing glass bottle blowing in 1903. During this decade, program areas expanded and the College experienced tremendous physical expansion with the completion of College Hall (1972), Health Technologies Hall (1974), the Student Activities Center (later known as Alumni Hall) (1975), Bicentennial Hall (1976), and the Industrial Technologies Building (1978).

Owens Technical College experienced academic and physical growth in the 1980s. It was at this time that the Davis Street campus in Findlay was introduced to address the changing needs of the Northwest Ohio community. With four distinct program areas (Health Technologies, Engineering and Industrial Technologies, Natural Science Technology and Public Service Technology), Owens ushered in more than 10 construction projects to enhance its educational opportunities.

In 1994, Owens Technical College became Owens State Community College, enabling the College to expand its program offerings to include "college transfer" associate degrees. Such a change allowed Owens students to seamlessly transfer to four-year academic institutions. Owens had five separate program areas in the 1990s, including Business, Health, Engineering, Industrial and Public Safety. In addition, Workforce and Community Services opened, the Findlay-area Campus received a 30,000 square foot addition, and the Fire Science/Law Enforcement Center (1994), the Library (1996), the Audio/Visual Classroom Center (1996) and the Math/Science Center (1997) were constructed.

Forty stones, (each representing a year for which Owens has been in existence) highlight significant moments within the College’s history and are placed on the grounds of both the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses. In 2001, the Ohio Board of Regents approved a permanent charter for both the Toledo and Findlay-area campuses to operate as Owens State Community College. Now Schools instead of Divisions, Owens offers students program areas in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business and Information Technology, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the School of Technology.

Additionally, Owens created the Owens Community College Foundation and recently reactivated the Alumni Association, which now includes more than 1,600 members.

Since 2003, Owens has built several state-of-the-art facilities, including the Center for Fine and Performing Arts and the new Findlay-area Campus, as well as broken ground on a Center for Emergency Preparedness.

From its inception in 1965, Owens has experienced stellar growth and excellence both in and out of the classroom. Today, Owens Community College serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, making Owens one of the largest and most successful community colleges in the state of Ohio.

Owens Community College is one of the fastest-growing higher educational institutions in Ohio. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 45,000 credit and non-credit students, making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, and Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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