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About the Lake Campus

Wright State University Lake Campus

Wright State University—Lake Campus on the north shore of Grand Lake St. Marys between Celina and St. Marys, Ohio. As a regional campus, we are an all-inclusive package providing a full university experience with a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Here you will find small classes, affordable tuition, and highly qualified professors.

Our Mission

As part of Wright State University, we will be the focal point for the educational and cultural advancement of the residents of West Central Ohio, providing opportunities for advanced scholarship and continuing education, economic and technological development, and community service.

Leadership

Vice Provost and Chief Administrative Officer: Andrea Faber, Ph.D.

Academic Units

About Our Faculty

Wright State University—Lake Campus has 39 full-time faculty members who are committed to the success of their students. Nearly all of our professors have advanced and terminal degrees in their fields, which means your professors are researching and actively involved in their areas of expertise. Your faculty will help build the foundation for your success while enjoying the smaller campus community. They embrace the opportunity to get to know each student and find ways to motivate you to excel. 

About Our Region

Wright State University—Lake Campus is nestled in between Celina and St. Marys on scenic State Route 703. First-time visitors are drawn to its serene setting on the north shore of Grand Lake St. Marys, but they come back for the friendly atmosphere and personal attention. There are many great places to stay, eat and play in the Lake Campus area.

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History of Lake Campus

Ohio Gov. James Rhodes’s efforts in the early 1960s, to place public higher education facilities within 30 miles of every Ohioan, led to the birth of Wright State University—both in Dayton and the Lake Campus in Celina, OH.

In response to a growing desire for residents of the region to have access to higher education, a group of forward-thinking citizens from across Auglaize, Darke, Mercer, and Van Wert Counties organized early in 1962. The organization became officially incorporated as the Western Ohio Educational Foundation (WOEF). Its sole purpose was to obtain higher education opportunities for the residents of Western Ohio. After establishing a cooperative agreement with Ohio Northern University, the Western Ohio Educational Foundation officially opened its doors in the fall of 1962. With enrollment at 285 students, more than twice the number anticipated, the newly established foundation had begun the process whereby the communities’ citizens could have immediate access to a college degree.

Though WOEF was not yet affiliated with Wright State University, which then was a branch of The Ohio State University and Miami University, it too was gaining momentum. A 428-acre parcel of land near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was acquired, and in 1963, construction began on the first building. The campus opened in 1964 with 3,203 registered students and 55 faculty members. The next year, State Bill 210 passed, allowing the campus to become an independent state university contingent upon enrollment totals. The Ohio General Assembly approved the name Wright State University to honor Dayton’s Wright brothers. Finally, back in Mercer County, as the community continued to require additional educational offerings, the WOEF Board voted in 1969 for the college to become fully affiliated with Wright State University as its sole branch campus.

The Wright State University–Western Ohio Branch Campus, as it was called then, quickly reached maximum student capacity for the building so recently purchased. During a campus visit in 1969, Governor James A. Rhodes recognized these “growing pains.” Perceiving strong community support, Governor Rhodes issued yet another challenge to the young institution: “Find and purchase suitable land and the state will appropriate $2 million for a new building.” With the WOEF Board’s initiative, a massive fundraising appeal spread quickly throughout the surrounding communities. This successful campaign quickly led to the acquisition of a 173-acre site for the new campus on the northern shores of Grand Lake St. Marys. The first building on campus was Dwyer Hall, named in recognition of Minnie Dwyer’s generous support, and contains laboratories, classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, an auditorium, and student service facilities.

Ground was broken in 1979 to expand the facilities for the inclusion of additional two-year technical programs. Andrews Hall continues to house the national award-winning Office Information Systems programs. Trenary Hall was also added at that time and currently houses the Mechanical Engineering facilities. These buildings were named for the Andrews and Trenary families in recognition of their generous support. The dedication of these two buildings in September 1980 highlighted the Lake Campus’s historic responsiveness to local needs and the community’s active involvement. The Crown Amphitheatre and the marina were added in 1987, taking advantage of the Lake Campus’s beautiful setting and proximity to Grand Lake St. Marys, and adding a further dimension to the many possibilities at Wright State University–Lake Campus.

In 2009, WOEF embarked on a capital campaign to renovate and expand the Lake Campus facilities. The campaign was successful and provided the campus with a much-needed facelift along with space for a multipurpose auditorium, science labs, and faculty offices. During this time, enrollment was on the rise and in 2011 the first housing villa, Knapke Villa (named after the Thomas Knapke family), opened making Lake Campus a residential campus. The second and third housing villas, East and West Villas, opened in 2014 and 2017, as the demand for residential housing continued to grow.

Knowing the Lake Campus needed to secure land to ensure future expansion, in 2015, the campus acquired 40 acres just east of campus. Donald and Patricia Griesdorn had previously owned the property and made the dreams of future expansion a reality. Through the RISE.SHINE capital campaign, the Lake Campus was able to construct the Agriculture and Water Quality Education Center which opened in February 2018. The building provides classroom space for the growing agriculture program; a hands-on research and laboratory area for applied learning and research on agricultural and water quality issues; an outreach facility for community meetings on agricultural production, water quality, and other issues; and a focal point for partners to work proactively to support the regional agricultural industry as well as water quality efforts associated with nearby Grand Lake St. Marys and local watersheds. Additionally, through the same capital campaign, funding was secured to build a roughly 7,000-square-foot extension onto Andrews Hall. The extension houses a new university library, science education classroom, science research lab, and the Nursing Simulation Learning Resource Center. The extension to Andrews Hall officially opened in October 2019.

There is no doubt that, more than ever, students are choosing Lake Campus to fulfill their dreams of education, whether that be a degree or workforce development. Presently, the Lake Campus offers 12 bachelor’s degrees from start to finish.

 


Take the Next Step

Finding the right college means finding the right fit. See all that Wright State University–Lake Campus has to offer by visiting campus.