Ohio Valley University
Seal of Ohio Valley University
Former names
Ohio Valley College
MottoPhilolgia, Fides, Vita
Motto in English
Philology, Faith, Life
TypePrivate college
Religious affiliation
EndowmentUS$931 thousand
PresidentMichael Ross
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

39°18′16″N 81°32′3″W / 39.30444°N 81.53417°W / 39.30444; -81.53417Coordinates: 39°18′16″N 81°32′3″W / 39.30444°N 81.53417°W / 39.30444; -81.53417
CampusUrban, 267 acres (1.1 km²)
ColorsNavy, Grey and Red
AthleticsNAIA - RSC
NicknameFighting Scots
AffiliationsNAIA, River States Conference (RSC)

Ohio Valley University was a private Christian college located between Parkersburg and Vienna in West Virginia. Founded in 1958 (with classes beginning in fall 1960), the school integrated education with teachings of the Christian faith. The college was physically located on two separate campuses totalling 267 acres (1.1 km2). OVU offered bachelor's degrees in more than 30 different subject areas. The college was currently accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, but has closed as January 2022. The college was placed under academic probation in 2020 by the Higher Learning Commission due to financial struggles. In December 2021, the OVU Board of Directors voted to close the college after the Fall 2021 semester. The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission voted to revoke OVU's authority to grant degrees shortly after.[1][2] Seniors will be allowed to finish their degrees without the loss of any credit hours in the spring semester of 2022 at several other institutions of higher education related to Churches of Christ through "teach out" agreements.[3]


In 1956 several alumni of Harding University formed a committee to establish a Christian college in the West Virginia area. A foundation was formed to solicit funds for the future college.[4]

On September 14, 1960, the Ohio Valley College opened with classes being offered at South Parkersburg Church of Christ. In 1963 the South Campus opened with an administrative and classroom building on 133 acres (538,000 m2) between Parkersburg and Vienna which had been purchased in 1958. Two dormitories were opened that same year. An additional dormitory and library were built in 1966. Three years later an auditorium and student center opened. A cafeteria and student center opened in the 1979–80 school year. An athletic complex was built in 1992.[4]

In 1994 the college doubled its campus size with the purchase of 134 acres (542,000 m2) and a four-story building from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia. This separate campus became the North Campus. The new campus contained two auditoriums, several classrooms, cafeteria, dining and conference rooms, dormitory with 225 beds, a chapel, and two athletic fields. The school renovated the North Campus facility and constructed two new dormitories with a connecting lobby in 2003.[4]

In 2005 the college changed its name to Ohio Valley University. From 1998 until its closure the university was involved in numerous Title IX violations.[4]

In July 2020, the university's accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, placed the university on probation for failing to comply with the accreditor's criterion requiring a "resource base [that] supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future."[5] A year-and-a-half later, in December 2021, the OVU Board of Directors voted to close due to financial difficulties; the state's higher education body voted shortly thereafter to revoke OVU's authority to grant degrees.[6]

In late 2021, OVU also faced an outstanding lawsuit filed by two female students who allege the school took no action after they reported being sexually assaulted by other students at an off-campus party. They said they were subjected to threats and intimidation after reporting the incident and that school officials discouraged them from pursuing it and revoked their athletic scholarships without notice. In an answer to the complaint, OVU acknowledged the students had reported the alleged assault and threats but denied the other allegations.[6]

Student life

All full-time students were required to attend daily Chapel services, and first-year dormitory residents followed a curfew system.

Ohio Valley University did not have national fraternities and sororities. Instead, the school had localized social clubs (co-ed at OVU). There were three social clubs – Delta, Kappa, and Sigma.[7] Clubs competed in intramural activities, service projects and Expressions—a musical concert held annually in the Spring.

A full-service cafeteria was located in the campus's Stotts Administrative Building.

The university offered opportunities in several performing groups. These groups included the OVU Singers, which was composed of approximately 32 singers. This group performed at congregations, youth rallies, and other venues. The Ambassadors was a dramatic group which traveled around to youth rallies, camps, and other church-related events. The OVU Jazz Ensemble was an integrated group of students and community members composed of woodwind, brass, and string ensembles and groups of a variety of instrumentation. The Ensemble performed at two on campus concerts a year and frequently gave performances for the community. Express was the college's contemporary Christian a cappella performing group. This group performed at over 200 events per year.


OVU stressed a Christian world view throughout its educational endeavors, and all students were required to complete an instructional Bible component each semester. The institution had 35 different degree tracks and 33 minor concentrations within the Colleges of Business, Biblical Education, Education, and Arts and Sciences.

In recent years, OVU had put significant effort into becoming a 21st Century center of academic innovation and excellence, and to that end had a number of unique programs in place, with more planned. Among the highlights were the Integrated Marketing and Communications degree program, which came online in 2018.

Energy was a major focus at OVU, in part as an outgrowth of the growing oil and gas industry in West Virginia and southeastern Ohio. OVU ws also affiliated with the ACE Educational Foundation, which led efforts to construct a 90-100 megawatt clean coal gasification plant in Vienna, West Virginia by 2020. In addition to becoming a major revenue generator for the local community, the plant was expected to serve as a location where undergraduates could learn strong business practices and learn how a functioning power plant operates. Part of the effort included making practical use of excess carbon dioxide in an on-site aquaculture greenhouse through a partnership with ECSIA.

In June 2020, the Higher Learning Commission placed the university on probation for failure to comply with the accreditation standard related to adequate finances. The commission reevaluated if the institution could demonstrate if it was in compliance with the criteria for accreditation.[8]


The school's sports teams were known as the Fighting Scots and competed in the River States Conference (RSC) of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). The school was part of the NCAA's Division II from 1999–2021, and while there had the lowest enrollment of any Division II member in the entire nation. All athletic teams competed in the RSC for the school's final semester except for wrestling (the conference does not sponsor wrestling championships). During OVU's time in NCAA Division II, which began when the school moved to the NCAA from the NAIA and they joined the now-defunct West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) in 1999, the Fighting Scots captured eight conference championships (Men's Golf 2003, 2009 [both WVIAC]; Baseball 2006 [WVIAC]; Women's Golf 2010 [WVIAC]; Men's Soccer 2017, 2020–21 [GMAC]; Women's Soccer 2017, 2018 [GMAC]). Due to COVID, the 2020 fall sports seasons were played in the spring of 2021. One particular highlight of the 2020–21 season for the men's soccer team was a 1–1 draw with eventual 2020 NCAA Division I national champion Marshall University on February 13, 2021, in Huntington, West Virginia (the match was played as an exhibition for Ohio Valley and as a regular season match for Marshall). Marshall was ranked #9 in Division I at the time of the match, and the Fighting Scots were less than four minutes away from a huge upset before the Thundering Herd tied the match late on a corner kick. Neither team scored in either of the two overtime sessions. On April 15, 2021, the Fighting Scots' men's soccer team clinched the regular season G-MAC championship following a 3–0 win at Trevecca Nazarene University. On Sunday, May 2, 2021, they followed up the regular season championship with a 2–0 defeat of Tiffin University in the championship final of the G-MAC Soccer Tournament hosted by Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio, and earned the 2020-21 G-MAC Men's Soccer Championship. They finished the 2020-21 regular season and conference tournament with an 11-0-0 record. On May 11, 2021, the final edition of the United Soccer Coaches poll was released, and the Fighting Scots soccer team finished ranked #3 in all of NCAA Division II, its highest final ranking ever. The OVU women's volleyball team reached the G-MAC championship game in 2014 and was defeated in the final game by reigning champion Cedarville University. Men's and Women's soccer teams also made conference tournament appearances in 2017 and 2018 under coach Luis Rincon. During the 2018–19 school year, the school brought back the Cheerleading program. The OVU Cheerleading Squad cheered for Men's and Women's Basketball games.

The WVIAC announced its dissolution following the 2012–13 school year, and during the initial stages of this process, OVU found a new conference home in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) in the fall of 2013.[9] The Scots, along with Alderson-Broaddus, Davis & Elkins, and Salem International all entered the G-MAC.[9]

In 2021, Ohio Valley University joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the River States Conference.[10][11]


  1. ^ Smith, Phyllis. "UPDATE: Ohio Valley University is shutting down". www.wtap.com. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  2. ^ Black, Candice; Scarborough, Madeline (13 December 2021). "Ohio Valley University's ability to confer degrees revoked". The Weirton Daily Times. Retrieved 16 December 2021.
  3. ^ The Christian Chronicle, January 2022, pp. 1 ff
  4. ^ a b c d OVU History[dead link]
  5. ^ "Public Disclosure: Ohio Valley University status changed From "Accredited" to "Accredited – Probation"" (PDF). Higher Learning Commission. June 25, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Bacon, Cheryl Mann. "Breaking: Ohio Valley University decides to close". christianchronicle.org. Christian Chronicle. Retrieved December 8, 2021.
  7. ^ "Student Clubs — Ohio Valley University". Ohio Valley University. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  8. ^ https://www.hlcommission.org/download/_PublicDisclosureNotices/Public%20Disclosure%20Notice%20-%20Ohio%20Valley%20University%206.30.20.pdf
  9. ^ a b "G-MAC News: Conference Adds Three New Members" (Press release). Great Midwest Athletic Conference. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  10. ^ https://fightingscots.ovu.edu/news/2021/2/11/general-ohio-valley-approved-as-provisional-member-of-rsc.aspx
  11. ^ https://fightingscots.ovu.edu/news/2021/5/27/general-ohio-valley-university-officialy-moves-to-naia.aspx