Founders: (left to right) Ray English, Damon Hickey, Kathleen List, David Pilachowski, Paul Gherman, Nancy Dye, Tom Courtice,
Michele Myers, and Frank Wojcik
The Five Colleges of Ohio have been affiliated as members of state, regional, and national educational and athletic organizations for many years. Discussion to formalize the consortium began in 1993, with a focus on the creation of a consortial library and the cooperative use of technology. A grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, awarded in June 1995, provided for the development of a joint library system, establishment of an administrative structure, and investigation of the benefits and methods for sharing digital images and multimedia resources. The college presidents signed papers of incorporation on 30 June 1995, establishing the Five Colleges of Ohio, Inc. as a legal entity.
Broadening Common Ground
In the fall of 2004, at the suggestion of the Five Colleges of Ohio library directors, former professor of English Louis I. Middleman, Ph.D from Denison University crafted a history of the consortium titled Broadening Common Ground to commemorate the consortium's ten year anniversary. The work tells the history of the consortium's founding, its founders, and their thoughts for the future of the group.
Dr. Middleman writes,
Readers who have been part of the Ohio Five before or since its founding will likely find, with some blameless exceptions, mostly a record of inaccuracies and partial truths: you will know just how it was, and you will miss in these pages the nuances, the scenes behind the scenes, that were the soul of the body here portrayed. But for those who until now have known little about the consortium, it is hoped that these pages may entice you to learn more about the people and events that have brought the Ohio Five to this milestone, and to anticipate an even more wonderful second decade.
Tenth Anniversary Celebration: 2005
At a 10th anniversary celebration on November 10th, 2005, William G. Bowen, then president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, delivered a speech to mark the occasion in which he discussed several large-scale collaborative projects such as JSTOR, ARTstor, and open source software communities in general as examples of what can be accomplished when institutions resist the tempation to continue to do things locally and consider how they can collaborate to achieve real breakthroughs.
In charting new ways of accessing, managing, and storing information, colleges and universities are going to have to learn to be better than many are today at making trade-offs and in recognizing that "the best may be the enemy of the good." Advances in information technology and the potential new collaborations pose organizational challenges for these institutions, which need to be more willing to exorcise old demons and more capable of insisting that an institution-wide perspective be brought to bear on resource allocation decisions.