The Fawcett Center – Dedicated to Life-long Learning
Former president Novice G. Fawcett’s commitment to life- long learning and making the university a resource for the people of Ohio was demonstrated by the construction of a building named the Fawcett Center for Tomorrow in honor of his retirement in 1972. Following his retirement, Fawcett continued his close association and positive contributions to Ohio State, maintaining an office in the Fawcett Center for many years.
Today, the Fawcett Event Center continues his mission of learning and offers a complete meeting and conference center, and is the home of the Ohio State Department of Athletics and WOSU stations. His former office is beautifully decorated and furnished, and serves as the Fawcett Library, inviting small groups of up to 12 for executive sessions, working luncheons or private meetings.
The 16 years that Novice G. Fawcett served as the eighth president of The Ohio State University were a period of tremendous growth and change. The university's enrollment grew from 22,470 students in 1956 when he was inaugurated to 50,040 in 1972 when he retired. Regional campuses were created at Lima, Mansfield, Marion and Newark. Faculty research grew at the fastest rate of any American university at the time. Dozens of campus buildings, including Mershon Auditorium, St. John Arena, the entire North Campus residence hall complex, Lincoln and Morrill Towers, the West Campus complex, and numerous academic buildings were constructed on the Columbus campus to handle the needs of the ever-growing student population.
His vision for the future of Ohio State, along with his administrative skills and unwavering positive spirit, served him well as he guided the university through a time of great transition. His administration encompassed the civil rights, anti-war and women’s liberation movements, all of which had a profound influence on campus. The offices of Minority Affairs (now the Office of Inclusion and Diversity) and Affirmative Action and the Division of Black Studies (now the Department of African and African American Studies) were formed, as was the University Senate, which gave faculty and students a voice in university governance for the first time.
Born in 1909 in Gambier, Ohio, President Fawcett attributed much of his success in life to the values and lessons learned growing up on the family farm in Knox County. After graduating magna cum laude from Kenyon College in 1931, Fawcett pursued a career as a public school teacher. He earned a master’s degree from Ohio State in 1937, and went on to become superintendent of schools in Gambier, Defiance, Akron, Bexley and Columbus. His vision and administrative accomplishments as head of the Columbus Public Schools led the university trustees to recruit him for the Ohio State presidency. President Fawcett died June 19, 1998. His legacy continues at Ohio State, and at the Fawcett Center.