University of Rio Grande

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University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College
University of Rio Grande
File:Unvrio logo.png
Motto "You're one of a kind. So are we."
Established 1875
Type Private university / Public, Two-year
Affiliation none
Endowment $20,853,211
President Dr. Michelle Johnston
Provost Dr. Richard Sax
Students 2,300
Undergraduates 2,140
Postgraduates 160
Location Rio Grande, Ohio, USA
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Colors Red, White, and Black
Nickname RedStorm
Affiliations NAIA

The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College (originally: Rio Grande College)[1] are twin colleges in Rio Grande, Ohio, United States.

The University of Rio Grande (pronounced "Rye-O Grand") offers a range of courses and majors and is known in the region for its Fine Arts, Education and Nursing programs. Additionally, its graduate program in teacher education was one of the few national programs structured around Howard Gardner's Theory of multiple intelligences. The university's Greer Museum hosts 5-6 visiting artists each year, and houses the Brooks Jones Art Collection, including works by Goya, Renoir, and Jasper Johns. The university Sculpture Garden contains 15 large-scale outdoor works by contemporary artists, including Fletcher Benton. The university's Grande Chorale jazz vocal group performs 12-15 recitals each year.

Rio Grande is notable for being the alma mater of Bevo Francis, who set the college record for points scored in a basketball game, and for its close connection with Bob Evans Farms, whose original location is adjacent to the university.


Early History

Throughout its 138-year history, the University of Rio Grande has recorded significant accomplishments including academic achievement and new buildings that provide instructional space for over 2000 students. Rio Grande remains committed to meeting the educational needs of southern Ohio and to helping the people of the region to improve their lives. However, the institution now attracts many of its students from a global market in contrast to its beginnings in 1876 when only local residents attended Rio Grande.

The story began when the Reverend Ira Haning, a Freewill Baptist minister, persuaded Nehemiah and Permelia Atwood, along with Eustace St. James, affluent residents and entrepreneurs, to use their wealth to establish a college. Following Nehemiah’s death in 1869, the responsibility for making this dream a reality fell to his wife Permelia. In 1873, Permelia Ridgeway Atwood established an endowment and deeded 10 acres (40,000 m2) of land for Rio Grande College, which officially opened on September 13, 1876. In its first year, the Rev. Ransom Dunn, D. D., was president as well as professor of mental and moral philosophy.[2]

Bob Evans Farm Hall on the campus of the University of Rio Grande, July 2007

In its earliest years, Rio Grande provided leadership in preparing teachers and Baptist ministers.

20th century

By 1915, Rio Grande’s major focus had shifted to teacher training, which continued as a virtually singular interest for nearly 60 years.

The affiliation with the Baptists formally ended in the early 1950s. During the same time period, the farm adjacent to the campus which was owned by the college (students worked there to produce dairy products), was sold to provide much-needed operating funds for the institution. A young businessman, Bob Evans, was the buyer.

The University Of Rio Grande's alma mater, "The Red and White," was written by Eustace St. James, a 1920 graduate and replaced a former alma mater written by Franz Josef Sucher.

In 1969, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools approved Rio Grande’s Accreditation. The Davis Library was constructed and dedicated three years before the first accreditation; the library was instrumental in winning accreditation.

Recent expansion

University of Rio Grande campus entrance.

From 1977 to 2008, Rio Grande’s campus expanded to include several new buildings and a variety of academic programs. In 1989, Rio Grande College was renamed the University of Rio Grande in recognition of its expanding curriculum. Some of the new degree programs added to the university’s curriculum in the last few years include interactive media, graphic design, radiologic technology, diagnostic medical sonography and respiratory therapy.

From 1996 to 1998, with tremendous community support and local assistance, Rio Grande established the Madog Center for Welsh Studies on campus (1996) and the Meigs Center in Middleport (1998).

In 2001, the faculty led in making changes in academic requirements for all students (the General Education curriculum) and in converting to a semester system.

In 2008, a new larger Meigs Center was constructed in Pomeroy above Meigs High School replacing the one in Middleport. Courses are also offered in Vinton County.

Although Rio now includes a variety of new cyberspace options for learning, with distance-learning courses through the Internet, the mission of the institution remains the same as Permelia Atwood and Daniel Brohard envisioned 138 years ago.


The University of Rio Grande teams, nicknamed athletically as the RedStorm, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The RedStorm previously competed in the Mid-South Conference from 2009 to 2014, and the now-defunct American Mideast Conference prior to that. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, soccer and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, track & field and volleyball.

In 2008, prior to their current nickname and mascot, its former nickname was the Redmen (for men) and Redwomen (for women).

Men's Soccer

The University has two NAIA Men's Soccer National Championships to its name including the 2003, and 2015, NAIA titles. Through the 2014 season, the university's men's soccer team has had 46 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-Americans.

Notable alumni


  1. "Raccoon Township, Gallia County, Ohio". History of Gallia County. Chicago & Toledo: H. H. Hardesty & Co., Publishers. Retrieved 28 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Raccoon Township". History of Gallia County. Chicago & Toledo: H. H. Hardesty & Co., Publishers. 1882. Retrieved 28 January 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "CREMEANS, Frank, (1943 - 2003)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Tom Spencer Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 21, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "SWITZER, Robert Mauck, (1863 - 1952)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links