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Newsmakers

Academic pioneer 

Case-trained materials scientist will lead Ohio Northern University.

Melissa J. Baumann, MS ’86, PhD ’88, a top academic officer at Xavier University in Cincinnati, will become the 12th president of Ohio Northern University this summer. A Case-trained material scientist, she will be the first woman to hold that position in the college’s 150 years. 

Ohio Northern is a private college of about 2,100 students in the village of Ada, Ohio, about an hour’s drive south of Toledo. Notable alumni include Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and farmworker organizer and MacArthur Fellow Baldemar Velasquez. 

A native of Mansfield, Ohio, and a first-generation college student, Baumann earned master’s and doctorate degrees in materials science and engineering at Case Institute of Technology. 

She began her faculty career at Michigan State University, where she taught materials science, conducted research into biomaterials and tissue engineering, and became an associate dean of the Honors College. 

She went on to Auburn University as an assistant provost, head of the Honors College and a professor of mechanical engineering. In 2017, she joined Xavier as Provost and Chief Academic Officer. 

She’s scheduled to begin her new job in Ada on July 1, succeeding a retiring President Daniel DiBiasio. 

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