The Ohio State University is home to landmark buildings, and behind the creation of several of them is Associate Vice President for Student Life Molly Ranz Calhoun. While Molly’s job focuses on marquee buildings, she is also passionate about the development of something more important: people.
In her role, Molly has planned the construction of some of Ohio State’s most recognizable buildings, including the Ohio Union, the North Residential District (NRDT) and the Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC). Her hard work is rewarded when she sees the results, and her commitment to the success of these projects translates to her drive to help the staff and students around her succeed.
“My strength is maximizing and taking both people and projects to the next step,” she said. “I want to help something good become something great.”
A Buckeye born and raised, Molly always wanted to follow her parents’ footsteps and attend Ohio State. While pursuing her degree in industrial design in the early 1980s, Molly joined the Office of Student Life facilities department, where she worked on the stadium housing project and realized her love for creating interactive, useful spaces for others.
Throughout her 32-year Ohio State career, Molly has played a crucial role in implementing notable buildings and managing the development process of both students and physical structures.
The NRDT, home to more than 7,000 students, is a place for students to live, learn and grow. The district is designed around the Second Year Transformation Program (STEP), and includes recreation, dining and outdoor spaces. The RPAC, used daily by hundreds of students, faculty and staff, has helped Buckeyes stay healthy by providing easy access to exercise equipment and wellness classes.
“It’s so cool to see how campus has transformed since I lived in Barrett House in 1981. I love seeing how the buildings are being used,” said Molly. “Going into the Union, remembering what our vision was for the space and seeing the students use it as we had planned is the most rewarding.”
Molly’s influence reaches beyond Ohio State’s campus because many different groups throughout Columbus utilize the Ohio Union. It is a hub for various conferences, career fairs, meetings and events.
Her drive stems from her passion for student excellence. Molly is involved with the Ohio State Social Change program, where she works closely with students and Senior Vice President for Student Life Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston. She is also dedicated to ensuring that student employees within the Office of Student Life are successful.
“Students are amazing, and I love to see their passion,” she said. “It’s all about them, and I really enjoy watching them succeed and giving them opportunities to do so.”
Of all her accomplishments, including an Ohio State Distinguished Staff Award, Molly is most proud of the people she has influenced in her position and her success as a leader in the facilities and operations management field.
“What we have accomplished in this department and the people who work in it makes me proud,” Molly explained. “I love the leadership aspect; plus, it’s rewarding to be a female leader in a male dominated field.”
Molly takes pride in her achievements and the accomplishments of those around her.
“I’ve worked with the most amazing people, and we’ve built so much—quite a lot that wasn’t here 30 years ago,” she said. “We enjoy what we do, and we are creating the next leaders.”