Rio Welcomes Legislators

State legislators and leaders in higher education visited Rio for a tour of the campus and the opportunity to discuss Rio’s initiatives and student accomplishments. Submitted photo.

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College works closely with state legislators and the Ohio Department of Higher Education to continue providing new opportunities for students such as College Credit Plus and student internships.

To strengthen this relationship, State Representative Rick Perales visited campus for a tour and the opportunity to discuss Rio’s history and plans for the future. Perales, of the Dayton area, serves as chair for the House Finance’s Higher Education Sub-Committee and said he feels it is important to tour the institutions his committee serves.

“As the Higher Education Sub-Committee Chair, I’ve attempted to visit as many institutions across the state as I am able. As we work through budgets, I believe we can learn more about these institutions by talking to the administrators, students and faculty, and seeing the environment, the labs and the classrooms, than by reading documents about the school. We get to see the best use of state funds, including how valuable matching state funds to grants can be for the school and its successes,” Perales said. “As a private and public institution, Rio is unique, and this visit helped me gain a better appreciation of how it works. I now have a clearer understanding of what’s working and what challenges the school is working to overcome. I plan to take that knowledge back with me and share with my sub-committee colleagues.”

Several other legislators and leaders of higher education including Senator Bob Peterson, Senator Frank Hoagland, Ohio Association of Community Colleges Vice President Tom Walsh, AICUO Director of Government Relations Emily Tully, Government Relations for Rio Rich Bitonte, Chancellor for the Ohio Department of Higher Education John Carey, members of Carey’s staff Chief of Staff Jim Bennett, Communications Director Jeff Robinson, and Legislative Director Eli Faes, joined Perales for the tour. Carey said he enjoys the opportunity to visit Rio and looks forward to seeing Rio’s plans for the future.

“Even though I’m familiar with Rio, this visit was an opportunity for me to learn new things about the campus by highlighting some of the institution’s successes and discussing its future endeavors for the community college,” Carey said. “There are a lot of exciting things happening at Rio, and it’s always good to be here. Another reason we decided to come down for this tour is we feel it’s important to visit institutions and get feedback on what’s working and what we need to revise, and this visit allowed for us to have one of these discussions.”

Rio President Dr. Michelle Johnston said she enjoyed the opportunity to introduce the group to the campus and Rio’s story, as well as share plans to keep the institution moving forward.

“What an honor to have such a distinguished group of legislators and state officials on our campus,” Johnston said. “I believe eyes were opened as we showcased Rio initiatives and student accomplishments.”

The visit to campus also included a sneak preview of the upcoming Simulation Center in the Davis Career Center. For more information on this discussion or about Rio, contact Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing Jamie Bessette at (740) 245-7225.