Follow Christ, Lead the Way
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.

Archived Articles of Interest

OCU Hosts Discussion on Religious Freedom  image

OCU Hosts Discussion on Religious Freedom

OCU Hosts Discussion on Religious Freedom  image

Published: March 30, 2016

Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government welcomed Michael Berry to campus as a guest speaker last month. Berry spoke on the topic of religious freedom in relation to his work with First Liberty Institute (formerly known as Liberty Institute). OCU believes that exposing students to a depth of knowledge and experience is a vital component in creating a firm foundation for their future. Each semester, dozens of honored guests are welcomed to campus so that students may engage in an open dialogue about the issues of today with some of the brightest minds in their
Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government welcomed Michael Berry to campus as a guest speaker last month. Berry spoke on the topic of religious freedom in relation to his work with First Liberty Institute (formerly known as Liberty Institute). OCU believes that exposing students to a depth of knowledge and experience is a vital component in creating a firm foundation for
Ohio Christian University’s School of Business and Government welcomed Michael Berry to campus as a guest speaker last month. Berry spoke on the topic of religious freedom in relation to his work
OCU Welcomes Former Wall Street Journal Editor to Campus image

OCU Welcomes Former Wall Street Journal Editor to Campus

OCU Welcomes Former Wall Street Journal Editor to Campus image

Published: March 24, 2016

Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Stephen Moore as a guest speaker on Wednesday,March 23, 2016. Moore spoke on the topic of Regaining American Prosperity, offering finical advice and economic commentary to OCU Business
Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Stephen Moore as a guest speaker on Wednesday,March 23, 2016. Moore spoke on the topic of Regaining American Prosperity, offering finical advice and economic commentary to OCU Business
Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Stephen Moore as a guest speaker on Wednesday,March 23, 2016. Moore spoke on the topic of Regaining American Prosperity, offering finical advice and
OCU MBA Ranks 5th in Central Ohio  image

OCU MBA Ranks 5th in Central Ohio

OCU MBA Ranks 5th in Central Ohio  image

Published: December 15, 2015

Ohio Christian University now ranks fifth in Central Ohio for MBA programs according to a recent release from Columbus Business First. The announcement came as a part of Columbus Business First’s annual MBA Program List release, which ranks Central Ohio schools based on Fall enrollment numbers. OCU moved up three spots from 2014.  To view the full list, click here. If you’re looking for a career boost, an MBA from Ohio Christian University provides the leaders of today and tomorrow with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in a competitive business environment. The program
Ohio Christian University now ranks fifth in Central Ohio for MBA programs according to a recent release from Columbus Business First. The announcement came as a part of Columbus Business First’s annual MBA Program List release, which ranks Central Ohio schools based on Fall enrollment numbers. OCU moved up three spots from 2014.  To view the full list, click here. If you’re looking for a
Ohio Christian University now ranks fifth in Central Ohio for MBA programs according to a recent release from Columbus Business First. The announcement came as a part of Columbus Business First’s
MBA Student Values Faith in Learning image

MBA Student Values Faith in Learning

MBA Student Values Faith in Learning image

Published: September 25, 2015

                At Ohio Christian University, we take much pride in our students and their success, so the academic quality we produce to get them there is a huge priority to us.                 These academic priorities are evident to OCU student, Jalinda Wilson. With an undergrad degree under her belt, Jalinda transferred from a secular college to OCU and joined our MBA program.  She says, “What I like the best about attending OCU is that I am getting a quality education with a Christian perspective.  My undergrad was done at a secular college and in many of the classes, I
                At Ohio Christian University, we take much pride in our students and their success, so the academic quality we produce to get them there is a huge priority to us.                 These academic priorities are evident to OCU student, Jalinda Wilson. With an undergrad degree under her belt, Jalinda transferred from a secular college to OCU and joined our MBA program. 
                At Ohio Christian University, we take much pride in our students and their success, so the academic quality we produce to get them there is a huge priority to us
Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students image

Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students

Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students image

Published: September 1, 2015

Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students   “I’m Rob Portman. I work for you.”   That’s how Senator Rob Portman introduced himself to a room full of community leaders, students, and press at Ohio Christian University this afternoon.   Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Sen. Rob Portman to campus today for a roundtable discussion on economic development and human trafficking awareness. Economic leaders from Fayette, Ross, Pickaway, and Franklin counties were present to discuss how the region’s role in business and workforce development is changing with the
Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students   “I’m Rob Portman. I work for you.”   That’s how Senator Rob Portman introduced himself to a room full of community leaders, students, and press at Ohio Christian University this afternoon.   Ohio Christian University was pleased to welcome Sen. Rob Portman to campus today for a roundtable discussion on economic development and human
Senator Rob Portman Visits OCU, Speaks with Students   “I’m Rob Portman. I work for you.”   That’s how Senator Rob Portman introduced himself to a room full of community leaders, students, and