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Drake Remembers Former Ohio State President Edward Jennings

Then Ohio State president Edward Jennings is photographed in front of University Hall.
Ohio State Archives
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Then Ohio State president Edward Jennings is photographed in front of University Hall.

Ohio State President Michael Drake is remembering former university president Edward Jennings, who has died at 82.

Drake says Jennings guided the university through a time of great change including economic challenges.

The Minneapolis native died Saturday at a hospital in Tampa, Florida. He was Ohio State's president from 1981 through 1990.

“Dr. Jennings guided our university through a period of great change — navigating economic challenges to lay the groundwork for the institution we have become," Drake said. "We can trace many of our achievements in academics and diversity to his expertise and dedication."

During Jennings’ time as president, the university launched its first major fundraising campaign. The school also built the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center during his term.

Jennings made headlines in November 1987 when he fired football coach Earl Bruce days before the annual big game with Michigan, shocking the Ohio State community. Ohio State later settled a lawsuit with Bruce for $471,000.

After leaving the presidency, Jennings continued as a finance professor at Ohio State until his 2002 retirement. He later served as interim president for a few months that same year.

Also in 2002, Ohio State's Board of Trustees honored Jennings and his service to the university by renaming the Botany and Zoology Building to Jennings Hall.

A memorial service will be held in September in Bradenton, Florida.