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Ohio Christian Sees Startup Center as 'Front Door' for Business Community image

By Emily Bench, Staff reporter, Columbus Business First

John Kulaga sees Ohio Christian University as an important partner in Pickaway County’s educational and economic development efforts.

Kulaga, president of the Circleville school since last year, said to reach not only the school's business students but also the community at large, Ohio Christian last August launched the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.

"We are a great front door for anyone who wants to do business here," he said.

"The 22,000-square-foot, collaborative space is very much community endeavor," Kulaga said. "The idea is that we’d have not only entrepreneurs setting up shop there, but also have them pour into the community members here."

The university donated land for the $10 million center, which provides incubator space for startup businesses and serves as a job-creation and workforce development hub for the community and also houses the School of Business & Government.

"Of our 59 different programs, the school of business is our largest," he said. Around 1,200 students are enrolled in the school.

On Nov. 3, the center is hosting a free event open to entrepreneurs and anyone who wants to launch their own business. It will be held in collaboration with a Christian networking group and the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center. (To find out more and to sign up, click here.)

"In 2013, it was the dream of OCU to spearhead an initiative that would serve our economically oppressed area – an initiative that would create new jobs and businesses here," said Craig Brown, vice president of entrepreneurship for Ohio Christian. "Our center was born out of that vision. Now, this conference will inspire people to make ideas a reality; we expect great participation."

Rob Kopp, the chief operating officer for Metro Data Center, is one of the keynote speakers at the event. He said that this will create exactly what is needed in the area – business development from leaders as well as students.

"I’ve experienced a lot of students with a startup desire," he told me. "When I was in college, I hadn't even heard of that word. Now, OCU offers its own (minor) in it – it's evolving."

When Kulaga took the helm as president last year, there were big shoes to fill. Kulaga's predecessor, Mark Smith, in 11 years as president had grown the small bible college in Circleville from 400 to 4,600 students. The private school was struggling to make payroll and in financial distress when he took over. He's credited with increasing employment from 500 to 800, launching online programs, and directing millions in capital construction projects.

Kulaga said that growth has continued over the past year. Enrollment remains at around 4,000 students, the operating budget of $42 million has held steady and $30 million in construction endeavors are underway.

"We are focused on not just getting not just bigger, but better," he told me. "We want enrollment growth, but we also want retention and graduation rates to go up.

"Access to education is great, but not if you don't complete it."

Before student aid and scholarships, tuition at Ohio Christian University is $22,000.

Articles of Interest

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Published: December 6, 2018

By Amber Ginter ‘19 Ohio Christian University (OCU) senior Kaleb Blevins has embraced a calling beyond his chosen vocation. Graduating a year early with a degree in Sports and Business Management, Blevins is dedicated to many volunteer activities. Participating and leading in faith-focused programs is his calling. Blevins leads a Bible study at Bloom Carol’s Catalyst High School and participates in an Apprenticeship at Grace Fellowship that inform his higher education. Having a passion for youth, playing and teaching piano, coaching and playing soccer, and leading groups, Blevins
By Amber Ginter ‘19 Ohio Christian University (OCU) senior Kaleb Blevins has embraced a calling beyond his chosen vocation. Graduating a year early with a degree in Sports and Business Management, Blevins is dedicated to many volunteer activities. Participating and leading in faith-focused programs is his calling. Blevins leads a Bible study at Bloom Carol’s Catalyst High School and
By Amber Ginter ‘19 Ohio Christian University (OCU) senior Kaleb Blevins has embraced a calling beyond his chosen vocation. Graduating a year early with a degree in Sports and Business Management
OCU Accounting Students Tour Kenworth Facilities

Accounting Majors Tour Kenworth Manufacturing Facility

OCU Accounting Students Tour Kenworth Facilities

Published: November 28, 2018

Ohio Christian University's Business School accounting students, led by Professors Betsy Magill and Lane Patrick, met with Kenworth’s accounting management staff on October 25, 2018. Assistant Controller Ron Butterbaugh and Human Resources Manager Brian Putnam led the group on the tour.  Kenworth has manufactured trucks since 1923. Students toured the factory where the Kenworth trucks are produced. They saw the assembly of raw materials, truck production in progress, and the finished units. They watched as the trucks were assembled, including viewing the components and parts that go
Ohio Christian University's Business School accounting students, led by Professors Betsy Magill and Lane Patrick, met with Kenworth’s accounting management staff on October 25, 2018. Assistant Controller Ron Butterbaugh and Human Resources Manager Brian Putnam led the group on the tour.  Kenworth has manufactured trucks since 1923. Students toured the factory where the Kenworth trucks are
Ohio Christian University's Business School accounting students, led by Professors Betsy Magill and Lane Patrick, met with Kenworth’s accounting management staff on October 25, 2018. Assistant
8th Annual Small Business Round Table

Business Roundtable Offers Great Advice

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Published: November 28, 2018

Ohio Christian University’s School of Business & Government® hosted their 8th annual Small Business Round Table on Thursday, November 1, 2018, at the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, the University's facility for business development and innovation. This event brought together over eighty students and four small business owners. The discussion focused on starting and managing a small business. Business executives at this year’s Round Table were Jesse Lear and Travis Smith, founders of V.I.P Waste Services; Mike Cessna, owner of My Auto Care, Bella Freight, and Redline Wear; 
Ohio Christian University’s School of Business
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Published: November 15, 2018

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Tony Perkins Keynotes OCU Chapel Service image

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Published: October 23, 2018

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Anthony R. Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative policy and lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C., gave the message at Ohio Christian University’s Chapel Service on Monday, October 22. His visit was a stop on the Council’s “For the Sake of America: Stand Strong in the Lord” national road tour and part of the University’s School and Business and
Anthony R. Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a conservative policy and lobbying organization based in Washington, D.C., gave the message at Ohio Christian University’s Chapel

Archived Articles of Interest

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Published: November 17, 2017

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Professor Monty Lobb traveled to Kiev, Ukraine to speak at the 500th anniversary celebration of the Reformation in early November. In greeting to assembly, he spoke about the importance of integrating Christian character into personal relationships to build better community. He also presented on the value of a Christian education in a program session.  For two days Ukrainians listened to
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OCU Business Students Visit the New York Stock Exchange

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Published: November 9, 2016

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Dr. Monty Lobb is the new Dean of School of Business and Government at OCU

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Published: June 1, 2016

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — Ohio Christian University is pleased to announce that Dr. Monty Lobb will assume the duties of Dean of the School of Business and Government on June 1, 2016, upon Dr. Dave Garrison’s retirement. Dr. Garrison will now become Dean Emeritus, which is a lifelong appointment. Dr. Monty Lobb, OCU professor since 2012 and former Assistant Secretary of State of Ohio, holds his J.D. from University of Dayton School of Law, his B.A. from Olivet Nazarene University, and he also earned undergraduate credits from New College at the University of Oxford. Dr. Lobb is president of
CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — Ohio Christian University is pleased to announce that Dr. Monty Lobb will assume the duties of Dean of the School of Business and Government on June 1, 2016, upon Dr. Dave Garrison’s retirement. Dr. Garrison will now become Dean Emeritus, which is a lifelong appointment. Dr. Monty Lobb, OCU professor since 2012 and former Assistant Secretary of State of Ohio, holds his J.
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Student Learn Valuable Business Skills at Annual Roundtable  image

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Published: April 15, 2016

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Students of Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government had the opportunity to speak with various community leaders at the annual Corporate Roundtable. A panel of five experienced
Students Participate in Poverty Simulation  image

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Students Participate in Poverty Simulation  image

Published: April 7, 2016

The Ohio Christian University’s Intercultural Department was pleased to have VISTA (Volunteers In Service to America) facilitate The Poverty Simulation on last month. The Poverty Simulation is intended to be an “immersive experience that helps participants increase their knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of poverty.” According to their website, “The Poverty Simulation is a unique, enlightening experience that helps individuals begin to understand what life is like with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress. It moves people to think about the harsh realities of
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