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McClure, Robert O., 1887-1952

 Person

Biographical Note

Robert O. McClure was born in Henderson County, KY on August 5th, 1887. McClure was a graduate of Asbury College and attended Northwestern University and Garrett Biblical Institute for post-graduate work. McClure also served as President of Belle City College, before becoming President of Ohio Northern University in 1943. With the nation in the midst the Second World War along with the university facing significant enrollment and financial challenges, McClure took no pay during his first year as President. The conclusion of the war, and the passing of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (also known as the G.I. Bill), helped spur a student enrollment boom between 1943 and 1948 student enrollment increased from less than 200 to more than 1,200 students.

This large increase in enrollment caused a need for new student housing, which was mostly alleviated through the use of new student trailers throughout campus along with new barrack-style dormitories for single men. In addition to the new student housing, the improving financial situation allowed for the return of the student newspaper, yearbook, and intercollegiate sports. The turn around also allowed for McClure to focus on more strategic directions in support of long-term growth, including expanded fundraising efforts and earning accreditation for the University's academic programs. Ill health led to McClure taking a leave of absence in 1948, and his eventual resignation in 1949. McClure died in Winter Park, Florida in June 1952.