BREAKING NEWS: Urbana U. changes leaders; to become branch campus

Staff report

Transitions at Urbana University continue just a few short years after the private liberal arts institution was acquired out of financial trouble by a university system based in Columbus.

Franklin University, which purchased Urbana University in 2014, announced a change in the current leadership at UU on Tuesday afternoon.

“As Urbana now sits on the precipice of becoming a branch campus of Franklin University, Dr. George Lucas has decided to pursue other opportunities and has resigned effective immediately,” according to a statement released to the media. “As Urbana’s president for the past two years, Lucas has supported the Higher Learning Commission accreditation efforts, secured the institution’s place with the NCAA, and revitalized enrollment management among other accomplishments.”

“It has been a tremendous honor to serve UU students and the Urbana community. The campus has been through a lot of change and this wasn’t an easy decision. I believe the campus is well-poised for the kind of transformation necessary to fully restore our reputation in the hearts and minds of current and future students and their parents. I wish all of my colleagues the best of luck as they look forward toward a bright future,” Lucas said.

Urbana University has been operating as a division of Franklin since being acquired.

According to the media statement, Franklin’s President and Chairman of the Urbana Board, Dr. David Decker shared in an email to Urbana faculty and staff on Tuesday that Dr. Christopher Washington, Senior Vice President and Provost at Franklin University, will assume the leadership role as Executive Vice President and Provost for the Franklin enterprise. In this capacity, and effective immediately, Washington will be directly responsible for leading Urbana University as its chief executive. Washington has been with Franklin University for more than 15 years and has experience in reputation building, academic planning, community affairs and strategic leadership. “As a transformational leader he will bring high energy and a results-orientation to his new role,” the statement read.

In the coming days, Washington will be meeting with faculty, staff and students and will preside over Urbana’s May 6 graduation. In the near term, he will also be assessing organizational needs and the best possible service configurations which will highly leverage the potential shift to branch campus status while maintaining focus on Urbana’s unique brand in its own market.

About Urbana University

Founded in 1850, Urbana University serves more than 1,800 students from around the world from its 128-acre campus. Known for innovative academic programs that feature personal attention from faculty, the university offers more than 30 undergraduate programs and several graduate degrees, delivering course work in class, online, or a combination of both. Blue Knights athletics includes 15 NCAA Division II sports along with intercollegiate bowling, cheerleading, and shooting sports.

About Franklin University

Founded in 1902, Franklin University is one of the leading and most experienced educators of adult students. The University offers applied, in-demand undergraduate, master’s and doctorate programs that enable adult learners to achieve their educational and professional goals. From entrepreneurs to CEOs, more than 45,000 Franklin alumni can be found around the world contributing to the communities in which they live and work. Students can take classes through Franklin through its Main Campus in downtown Columbus, Ohio, two central Ohio locations, in Beavercreek, at co-locations across Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and online. In addition, the University’s MBA program is offered internationally through agreements with institutions in Europe and the Middle East. Further information regarding Franklin University can be found at

Staff report