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The University of Rio Grande (URG), established in 1876, is an independent four-year, comprehensive university that offers programs ranging from certificates through the master degree level. In the past, many of its graduates entered the teaching profession. Today, many are preparing for business and public service careers, as well as for the teaching profession. During its history, the University of Rio Grande (pronounced Rye-oh) has been at times a denominational college, a two-year college, a self-help student work college, and a four-year liberal arts college.

Rio Grande Community College (RGCC), established in 1974, offers a wide range of services, including career programs, associate degree transfer programs, and continuing education programs. The Community College reinforces the University’s philosophy and history of making meaningful, affordable education and services available to all who can benefit.

The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College represent a unique marriage between public and private education, between career and liberal arts education, and between younger and older students. The same staff, faculty, and facilities support both the private University and the Community College programs. Students in the Community College programs have the opportunity to enroll in liberal arts courses and programs. Students in liberal arts programs have an opportunity to experience career education courses and programs.

Through a contract between URG and RGCC, Ohio residents in their first two years of college work can take advantage of public community college tuition rates to earn associate degrees in arts or career education. Students have the option of continuing toward a baccalaureate degree at the University of Rio Grande or transferring to another institution to complete a four-year degree.

The University's contemporary 190 acre campus is located in Rio Grande, Ohio, nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of the Southeastern region of the state offering students the safety associated with a small town. The Rio Grande campus is an oasis of learning, innovation, and technology in the region. The institution's strengths lie in a faculty of teacher/scholars who are dedicated to both the academic and humanistic growth of every student; programs that are academically challenging and numerous opportunities for extracurricular involvement. As America's unique private/public institution of higher education, Rio Grande's mission is to provide learners the opportunity to attain a high-quality, high-value education. Our personalized, learner-centered environment promotes successful lives, careers, and responsible citizenship.

The University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College is America’s unique private/public institution of higher education designed to provide learners the opportunity to attain a high quality, high-value education.  Our personalized, learner-centered environment promotes successful lives, careers, and responsible citizenship.

Rio will continue to be a learner-centered community. It will continually provide support, developmental activities and modern equipment for faculty, staff and students. This support enables the faculty and staff to increase the ongoing learning and academic achievements of the students. Rio will consistently provide an environment where learning is the priority and excellent teaching is honored. The institution will respond quickly to regional, state, national and international needs.
Rio Grande Community College offers:
  •  Associate’s degrees for students in professional studies and the liberal arts and sciences, as well as certificates in career and technical
  • The first two years of courses for bachelor’s degrees.
  • Access to a broad array of courses at an affordable price.
  • Developmental courses along with the necessary support to enhance academic skills.
  • Appropriate business and industry partnerships and training for economic development in the surrounding four-county community college district.
  • Linkages with high schools that promote uninterrupted high school to college articulation.
  • Opportunities for community involvement in the decision- making processes.
  • Additional location in Meigs, Jackson, and Vinton Counties to meet the needs of the local community.
The University of Rio Grande offers:
  • Access to a broad array of associate, bachelor, and master degrees.
  • An effective balance of career preparation, liberal arts, and practical training in a nurturing environment characterized by a focus on the unique needs of the individual.
  • Opportunities for intellectual and personal growth in a close-knit campus community.
Both URG and RGCC are committed to:
  • Encouraging the development and enhancement of integrity, morally and ethically responsible behavior, respect for diversity, and service learning among students and
  • Nurturing basic professional values such as a hard work ethic, basic honesty, self-discipline, perseverance, interpersonal cooperation, and social responsibility among students and
  • Providing equal opportunity for students and employees, whatever their age, gender, religious background, ethnic or cultural
  • Providing opportunities for any student with special needs to receive an education equal to that of any other
  • Offering courses though distance and distributed learning at the certificate, undergraduate, and graduate
  • Providing opportunities for students, employees, and members of the communities served by the institutions to be engaged intellectually, aesthetically, socially, and physically outside the classroom
  • Maintaining a highly motivated and academically qualified full-time faculty dedicated to excellence in teaching, advising, and personal

A Rio Grande education instills self-confidence and motivation and prepares students for the challenges of living a fulfilling life, reaching career and pre-professional goals, and being a responsible citizen in a culturally diverse, global community.

Strategic Plan

One of the most important responsibilities of board members at a college or university is to set the strategic direction for the institution. At the annual retreat of the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College boards of trustees held in October 2010, the members fully embraced that mandate. Simply put, they charged the President and leadership team to “think big.” Set in that context, this plan is Rio Grande’s Decade of Dreams.

The University and Community College forged a unique partnership in the early 1970s in order to best serve students in the region. Rio Grande’s mission is to maintain rigorous standards in its undergraduate, graduate, and adult education programs and to engage students from a wide spectrum of abilities and backgrounds while consistently preparing students for the challenges of living fulfilling lives, reaching career goals, and being responsible citizens in a culturally diverse, global community. As part of the planning process, those original tenets were reviewed, and a blueprint for the next decade is now written.


Accreditation @ Rio list of University & Community College accreditation.


History @ Rio Timelines and a brief history of the University & Community College

Institutional Effectiveness

Institutional Effectiveness @ Rio facilitates processes for Continuous Quality Improvement

Office of the President

Office of the President
Ryan Smith

Office of the Provost

Office of the Provost
Dr. Kellie Bean

Board Members

University & Community College

Campus Safety

Campus Safety @ Rio Clery reporting for the University & Community College

Campus Map

Campus Map .pdf map of the University & Community College

Request for Proposals

Request for Proposals . University Housekeeping

Fast Facts

Students can choose from over 70 academic programs, including certificate programs, associates, bachelors, and master’s degrees. Custom majors and minors are also available for those students whose needs differ from traditional program offerings. A Rio Grande education is student centered, and provides an effective balance of practical training and the liberal arts. Rio students also have numerous opportunities available to study abroad and participate in internships.
Rio Grande’s 190 acre campus is nestled in the beautiful rolling hills of Southeastern Ohio, offering students breathtaking natural beauty and the safety of the small town of Rio Grande. The campus includes five residence halls, modern instructional facilities, professional athletics facilities including an Olympic size pool, and a performing arts center. The Bernard V. Fultz Center for higher education, a full service learning site, is located in a 13,000 square foot facility in Pomeroy, Ohio. At the Fultz Center it is possible to earn a full associate degree or begin work toward a baccalaureate degree through completion of general education courses or the state transfer module.
Rio Grande is located in southeastern Ohio along US Route 35, 100 miles southeast of Columbus via Rts. 23 and 35; 120 miles east of Cincinnati via Rts. 32 and 35; 250 miles south of Cleveland, via Rts. 77, 7, and 35; and 60 miles north of Huntington, WV via Rts. 7 and 35.
Student Body
The Rio Grande student body of over 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students come from 15 states and 23 countries.
Campus Life
Rio Grande offers its students a vibrant campus life, including nine social fraternities and sororities; numerous professional and community organizations; hundreds of planned campus activities a year; an active intramural sports program; and outlets for artistic expression. In addition, Rio Grande’s location within minutes of national forests and parks makes it ideal for nature enthusiasts.
Student Faculty Relationship
The student-faculty ratio is 15:1 and the average class size is 14 students.

Rio Grande offers twenty sports, nine for men and nine for women. Men’s programs include baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, track and field and wrestling. Women’s programs consist of basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, track and field, and volleyball. Coed sports programs include cheer and eSports.  Rio also offers nine junior varsity programs in men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, men’s and women’s bowling, men’s and women’s soccer, softball and volleyball. Rio is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and competes in the River States Conference.


Financial Aid
Over 96% of Rio Grande students receive some form of financial assistance. Eligibility for financial aid is determined by the federal government by information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Rio Grande has set March 15 as the priority filing deadline. Students can submit the FAFSA after that date, but those students submitting their FAFSA prior to Rio’s filing deadline may be eligible to receive additional financial aid. For more information about financial aid, students can contact the Financial Aid Office at 1-800-282-7201.
Accreditation and Approvals

The University of Rio Grande is accredited or approved by the Higher Learning Commission; the Ohio Board of Regents; the State of Ohio Department of Education, the Ohio Board of Nursing, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, the Council on Social Work Education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology, and the Joint review Committee on Education in Diagnostic Medical Sonography.

The Emerson E. Evans School of Business at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) located at 11374 Strang Line Road in Lenexa, Kansas, USA. For a list of accredited programs please refer to our IACBE member 



From Cincinnati:
  • Merge onto OH-32 E via exit number 63B toward Batavia.
  • Merge onto US-35 E toward Gallipolis.
  • Take the OH-325 exit toward Vinton/Rio Grade
  • Turn RIGHT onto OH-325
  • Turn LEFT onto North College Avenue


From Charleston:
  • Take I-64 W toward Huntington.
  • Take the WV-34 exit exit number 39 toward Winfield.
  • Turn RIGHT onto WV-34.
  • Turn LEFT onto US-35 N.
  • Take the OH-325 exit toward Vinton/Rio Grade
  • Turn RIGHT onto OH-325
  • Turn LEFT onto North College Avenue


From Columbus:
  • Take US-23 South towards Circleville.
  • Merge onto US-35 E via the exit on the left.
  • Take the OH-325 exit toward Vinton/Rio Grade
  • Turn RIGHT onto OH-325
  • Turn LEFT onto North College Avenue


From Huntington:
  • Take OH-7 on OH-7/BROOKWOOD AVE.
  • Turn LEFT onto OH-7/2ND AVE.
  • Turn LEFT onto OH-160/PINE ST. Continue to follow OH-160.
  • Merge onto US-35 W toward RIO GRANDE/JACKSON.
  • Take the OH-325 exit toward Vinton/Rio Grade
  • Turn RIGHT onto OH-325
  • Turn LEFT onto North College Avenue


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