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Ohio State president highlights research, construction during first state of the university address

OSU's 17th President Walter "Ted" Carter sits at a Board of Trustees meeting
George Shillcock
The Ohio State University announced University of Nebraska President Walter "Ted" Carter as its 17th president on August 22, 2023.

Ohio State University President Ted Carter delivered his first state of the university address Thursday.

Carter didn't announce any significant university news, but spoke about the university's past and its future.

Carter was appointed in August as the university's 17th president. He spent the first half of his speech outlining how OSU was founded and how it's transformed over the years. Carter said he wants to show the campus community that he's taken the time to get to know the institution after transferring from the University of Nebraska, where he served as president.

He praised famous alumni like Olympic athlete Jesse Owens and Jesse Brown, who became the Navy's first black pilot.

Carter also honored the 2023 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, Pierre Agostini, who taught at OSU for 13 years starting in 2005.

"Think of all of the faculty and the students he inspired while he was here, and he kept his research going," Carter said.

Agostini earned the prize by using pulses of light to study the movement of particles.

"The application of that will change everything from microelectronics to how cars operate to how big machinery operates. It will change the way we think and operate all the way into the future of our worlds. And that's one man who taught here," Carter said.

Carter also said last year the university used $1.45 billion in federal research dollars, up from the previous year by about 5%.

Carter noted the university set a new record in construction. "We have over $3 billion in new construction going on, the most ever at a single point in Ohio State history," he said.

During his address, Carter said 40% of campus buildings are 50 years or older. He said it's "not uncommon across most of the campuses in the nation."

"We have to be prepared to think about how we will sustain all of those facilities to make sure that we're relevant for the future of higher education," Carter said.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News.