Hodge gives final annual address at Miami

Miami University President David Hodge stressed the importance of creativity and innovation during his final annual address Wednesday, saying Miami must do even more to think outside the box in a rapidly changing world.

“The key to becoming even better is to strengthen those qualities that result in more creative individuals and a more creative university,” he said.

“At Miami we have a number of places where creativity and innovation are taught directly, including the entrepreneurship program, creative writing, (and) interactive media studies,” he said.

But Hodge believes there is room for improvement.

The key goal is “to improve the future of our global society. To do so will require more creativity and innovation than ever,” he said.

Hodge pointed to the regional campuses as examples of leading that creativity. Recently, Hodge has advocated changes in the Middletown and Hamilton campuses, such as having them offer traditional four-year degrees.

“The Miami regional campuses are undertaking an incredibly creative endeavor, namely, the reinvention of themselves into a single college with semi-autonomous responsibility for developing a new curriculum … it is exciting to see these new ideas flourish at this very special moment of challenge and creativity,” he said.

Glenn Platt, a professor of interactive media studies at Miami, said of Hodge’s speech, “At a time when universities are shifting and feeling all kinds of pressures they’ve never had before, being creative and innovative is a survival strategy. It’s a way that they remain relevant in the 21st century.”

Hodge will retire in 2016 after 10 years of service to the school.

Hodge has presided over a period of growth and expansion at the university, with projects including the new Armstrong Student Center and Dauch Indoor Sports Center. Other projects included the Farmer School of Business building, five new residence halls and two new dining facilities.

But his tenure also included a number of controversies, including the reconfiguration of the university’s regional campuses and the university’s spending.

The Armstrong Student Center cost $53 million, with the design alone costing $5 million. It featured $1,400 wooden cocktail tables and decorative tripod lamps costing $1,035 a piece.

Under Hodge’s leadership Miami University has also received high rankings nationally for its undergraduate and graduate programs.