Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro Wraps Up Public Service Career


COLUMBUS, OH – February 1, 2013 – Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro concludes more than 30 years of public service today, retiring after serving nearly two years as Chancellor. Petro was appointed by Governor John Kasich in March 2011 to lead the University System of Ohio, one of the largest systems of public higher education in the nation.  

Petro began his tenure as Chancellor with a goal of increasing completion rates among Ohio’s students, and promoted ways that students could earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or certificate of completion in less time and for less money.

“When I became Chancellor, I came in knowing that nationwide – and even more so in Ohio – we face the issue of an undereducated workforce, and the future of our state and the prospects for its economic growth hinge on having more citizens with a certificate of economic import, an associate degree or a baccalaureate degree,” Petro said.  “As we move into the global economy of the 21st century, there has never been a more important time to realize that this lack of skilled workers is a serious problem.”

Under Petro’s leadership, the Board of Regents accomplished several key objectives, including:

  • Expanded ability for commercialization at universities: Petro improved commercialization efforts in the state, marshaling the expertise of Ohio’s university research community and top business leaders to knock down barriers and encourage the further commercialization of innovative ideas and products.
  • Developed concrete strategies for increasing the state’s overall attainment of degrees and workforce credentials: Petro recently convened the Complete College Ohio Task Force, which produced the first-ever detailed approach to helping students complete their degrees. Petro’s key advocacy has been to increase the number of students who attain their degrees in Ohio.
  • Streamlined Technology Resources: Created OH-TECH, the Ohio Technology Consortium, by merging the Ohio Academic Resources Network, Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) and Ohio Learning Network (OLN) and shifting all IT personnel from OhioLINK into a single consortium. The merger cut down on the expenses caused by administrative, technological and management duplication and inefficiency, generating an estimated savings of $650,000 to $850,000 per year.
  • Upgrades to OARnet: Launched Ohio into the future of technology through the creation of a high-speed, statewide broadband pipeline designed to carry data at astonishing speeds of 100Gbps, a tenfold improvement, and open a new frontier for Ohio’s researchers and job creators. 
  • Better Education Coordination: Improved P-20 collaboration efforts by overseeing the move of the Ohio Board of Regents’ office from the Rhodes Tower to the Ohio Department of Education Building at 25 S. Front St. The move was completed on Dec. 31, 2012.

“As I look back on more than 30 years in public service, many highlights come to mind, and several of those involve my time here,” Petro said. “I am honored to have served as Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents. There are daunting challenges ahead, but I know our work will directly impact the future of Ohio’s students.”


About the Board of Regents

The Ohio Board of Regents is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio. The agency is directed by its Chancellor, who is a member of the Governor of Ohio's cabinet. The Chancellor, with the advice of the nine-member Board of Regents, provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly, advocates for the University System of Ohio and carries out state higher education policy.


Jim Petro Background:

Petro has served as Ohio Attorney General (2003-2007) and Ohio Auditor of State (1995-2003). In 28 years as an elected official, he also served as State Representative, Cuyahoga County Commissioner and Rocky River City Councilman and Law Director.

Petro engaged in private practice of law for more than 20 years as a partner or managing partner in several Ohio law firms. He was recognized as an “Ohio Super Lawyer” and a 33-year AV-rated lawyer from Martindale & Hubbell. 

In 2010, Petro and his wife, Nancy, co-authored the book, “False Justice,” which addresses eight myths that lead to wrongful convictions in the American criminal justice system. “False Justice” serves as a call to action, following true stories and outlining the need to overhaul a system that, Petro believes, places thousands of innocent people in prison. Petro was named the 2011 recipient of the Champion of Justice Award for Public Service by the Innocence Network, the coordinating body for 56 member organizations serving the wrongfully convicted and their families in the United States.

In 2010, Petro was recognized with the Ohio Government Finance Officers Association Timothy I. Murphy Excellence in Government Award, honoring his record of integrity, achievement and leadership in decades of public service.

Additional achievements include his selection as an “Ohio Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics magazine and Cincinnati Magazine in 2006; receipt of a Legacy Award and Visionary Leadership Award from the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police in 2005 and 2006; and receipt of a national March Fong Eu Achievement Award from the National Notary Association in 2005.

Petro earned a law degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1973 and a bachelor’s degree in history from Denison University in 1970. He also received honorary doctorates from The University of Toledo and Denison University.