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Newark Campus Established

The Newark “Branch,” as it was first known, began operations in September 1957 as The Ohio State University’s first off-campus, two-year accredited program. Newark’s old high school on West Main Street was “home” for evening classes from 1957 to 1965. In the fall of 1965, the program took on a new pace — a new name, a new home and its first full-time director. It then became The Ohio State University at Newark and moved to the Newark Senior High School campus on Wright Street.

In the meantime, the Newark Campus Advisory Council, a group of interested local citizens, was appointed by the president of Ohio State to coordinate community efforts for campus development. In the spring of 1966, over 7,000 individuals and businesses in the Licking County area subscribed well over $1 million in voluntary gifts to acquire a permanent site for a campus and to provide local matching funds to obtain a $1,800,000 grant from the State of Ohio in order to construct the first permanent building. ​By November 1968, a full schedule of day and evening classes was being offered at The Ohio State University at Newark on the new 155-acre campus.

Campaign for Technical Education

During the later part of the 1960s, educational leaders, both on the Newark campus and in the area’s public schools, were learning through experience what various state and national studies would further indicate: that an increasing number of people wished to take advantage of curricula for which neither the university’s baccalaureate programs nor the vocational schools were ideally suited. At the same time, various business and industrial leaders were expressing a need for employees suitably trained in either two-year collegiate technical education programs or specially designed “short courses” for their employees.

In August 1969, each of the boards of education of the four school districts in Licking County adopted a resolution requesting the establishment of Licking County Technical Institute District. The district was officially designated as encompassing all of Licking county. The Ohio Board of Regents approved the creation of the district on October 17, 1969. In October 1970, the Board of Trustees of the Licking County Technical Institute District, appointed in accordance with Ohio law, held its first meeting.

Recognizing the diversification of Newark area manufacturing, as well as the needs of the county’s 30-bed hospital and a wide variety of business establishments, an extensive survey of the need for associate degree graduates was undertaken to determine the numbers of such graduates that would be desired and would be hired by Licking county employers during the next five-year period.

Replies from 45 employers of 12,966 Licking County employees, including 1,434 professionals representing the business, health and industrial sectors, indicated an unusually strong need for associate degree personnel in the areas of business, health and engineering technologies.

The data not only indicated a demand for well-trained technical and para-professional personnel in the Licking county area, but also has served as valuable bases for judgments in developing programs and establishing curricula.

Central Ohio Technical College Chartered

After conducting a thorough study of the needs of the district, the Board of Trustees submitted the Official Plan for the creation of the Central Ohio Technical Institute on January 26, 1971, and received its charter from the Ohio Board of Regents on February 19, 1971.

Meanwhile, in accord with recommendations by the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio General Assembly enacted legislation allowing Ohio’s technical institutes to change their name from institute to college. Therefore, at the February 19, 1971, meeting of the Board of Trustees, founding President Robert A. Barnes, PhD, presented for consideration four possible names for the new institution and recommended the current name. Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) came into being on that date and retains its name to this day.

Believing collegiate technical education to be an integral part of higher education, the Board of Trustees of COTC envisioned a partnership between COTC and The Ohio State University at Newark. An agreement was signed by Ohio State Newark and COTC on July 1, 1971, describing the cooperative relationship ​and specifying a cost-sharing plan by which the costs of operating the Newark campus would be shared by both COTC and Ohio State Newark. At that time, Dr. Robert A. Barnes, director of Ohio State Newark, was given the additional appointment as chief administrator of COTC. This and subsequent administrative appointments in July, 1971, provided the two separate institutions with its own governing board, but sharing one chief administrator.

Classes were first held in Founders Hall of the Newark campus in the fall of 1971 with 114 students enrolling in accounting, electronic engineering, electromechanical engineering, glass-plastics, radiologic and secretarial science technologies programs. On June 8, 1973, the college held its first commencement ceremony for 25 graduating students.

With COTC Board authorization given on October 16, 1972, college officials began the process of seeking full accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools at the earliest possible date. Full accreditation was granted in April, 1975.

Newark Campus Evolution

On the COTC Newark campus additional buildings were built to accommodate the growth of the college. In the fall of 2007 the Newark campus was comprised of Founders Hall (the original building on the Newark Campus, opened in 1968), Hopewell Hall (opened in 1976 with two additions added, one in 1984 and one in 1988), Adena Hall (opened in 1978), the Newark Campus Child Development Center (opened in 1988), Baker House (acquired in 1991 by the Thomas J. Evans Foundation), LeFevre Hall (opened in 1993) and the  John Gilbert Reese Center (opened in 2003). 

Work was completed on the new John L. & Christine Warner Library and Student Center on the Newark Campus in late summer 2008. The Warner Center opened in the autumn of 2008 and houses the Newark campus library, the Student Services area, the campus cafeteria and the Newark campus bookstore, as well as faculty offices for the use by Ohio State Newark faculty. The newly renovated Adena Recreation Center, and the Jane C. and William T. McConnell Residence Hall opened in 2017. Slated for move-in in 2021 is the John and Mary Alford Center for Science and Technology.

Extended Campuses

In 1977 COTC began offering off-campus courses in Coshocton and Knox counties. In the spring of 1980, the service area for COTC was officially expanded by the Ohio Board of Regents to include Coshocton and Knox counties. In 1986, COTC established full-time offices in both counties to offer off-campus courses.

Coshocton Campus

In winter quarter of 2003, COTC opened the Coshocton Educational Center in Coshocton to expand the course offerings in that county. At that time a full-time campus administrator and support staff were hired to serve the needs of the Coshocton campus, as well as two admissions/advising representatives and clerical support staff. In the spring of 2006, COTC purchased the Roscoe Village Inn in historic Roscoe Village in Coshocton. A highly successful campaign to raise the necessary funds to renovate the inn, renamed Montgomery Hall, into classroom and laboratory space while preserving the historic essence of the building, was launched in late Spring 2006. Those renovations were completed prior to the autumn 2007 and beginning that quarter Coshocton classes moved into Montgomery Hall.

Knox Campus

In the 2005-2006 academic year, COTC was approached by community leaders in the Knox County area requesting COTC expand services into Knox County. In the fall of 2005 the staff of the Knox campus was expanded from one full-time admissions/advising representative to a full-time Knox campus administrator, an additional admissions/advising representative and clerical support staff. In the 2005-2006 academic year ,the college expanded course offerings and the locations where courses were held in Knox County while searching for a permanent home for the Knox campus. In late spring 2006 the college acquired the historic movie theater on the square in Mount Vernon. In 2007 the college launched a campaign in Knox county to raise the necessary funding to renovate the theater for COTC classes and laboratory space. The renovated building opened under the name Ariel Hall in 2012.

Pataskala Campus

In the fall of 2006, COTC expanded course offerings once again to the “western front” of Licking county. COTC offered over 60 courses and enrolled over 200 students at various Pataskala locations beginning autumn quarter 2006. Once again the community embraced the college and work began to secure a building site to house a western Licking County campus of Central Ohio Technical College. Classes began in 2010 in the former Grand Host East facility. In 2020 a renovation of the building began with an anticipated re-opening in 2021.

COTC Presidents

From 1971 until May 2004, the COTC president was a cost-shared position, with the COTC president also serving as The Ohio State University at Newark dean/director. In May 2004, upon the resignation of the college’s fifth cost-shared president, the Board of Trustees voted to hire Bonnie L. Coe, PhD, as the college’s first president serving only COTC. Following Coe’s retirement in 2018, John M. Berry, PhD, became COTC’s second sole president on January 1, 2019.

COTC presidents:

  • 1971-1979: Robert A. Barnes, PhD
  • 1980-1994: Julius S. Greenstein, PhD
  • 1994-1999: Rafael L. Cortada, PhD
  • 1999-2004: Ann C. Federlein, PhD
  • 2004-2018: Bonnie L. Coe, PhD
  • 2019-present: John M. Berry, PhD

Enrollment and Alumni

In autumn semester 2020, COTC enrolled a total headcount of 3,042 students in more than 50 associate degree and certificate programs on all campuses of the college. During the 2019-2020 academic year, more than 550 students completed their program requirements and graduated from the college, bringing the total number of COTC graduates to 14,968 (as of August 2020).

Accreditation

In the early winter of 2008 and again in 2018 the college completed its two-year long comprehensive self-evaluation in preparation for the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) site visit. Site visitors from the HLC spent three intensive days visiting with all constituents of the college, both at Newark and the extended campuses of Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala; and at various clinical and practicum sites used by the college. At the end of the site visit, the visitors informed the college that they would be recommending the full 10-year accreditation renewal for all existing programs offered at COTC. In addition, both the Knox and the Pataskala campuses will be recommended for full accreditation approval, meaning COTC will be authorized to offer full degree programs at both sites.