Rio Grande is a small, agricultural community in Gallia County. With fewer than 1,000 people as of the last census, it lacks even a single traffic light. It could very well be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town if it weren’t for two things: Bob Evans Farms and the University of Rio Grande.
A small college with under 2500 total students, your tour here will not take you nearly as long as your exploration of the vast Ohio State University Campus in Columbus. However, the campus is beautifully landscaped and nestled in the rolling Southern Ohio countryside, making it a worthwhile stop.
Two Colleges in One
“You’re one of a kind. So are we.” is the school motto. Rio Grande is indeed one of a kind in the state of Ohio. In fact, the campus houses two institutions: the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.
The latter is a state supported two year institution, where students complete the first two years of their education. Tuition increases during the third year when students attend the University, a traditional private college.
Together the schools offer a variety of two and four year degree tracks. The school is well known for both its nursing and education graduates.
Athletically, the University of Rio Grande Redstorm (previously Redmen) compete in the River States Conference of the NAIA. They field teams in seven women’s sports and six men’s.
At one time, Clarence “Bevo” Francis, a 6’9″ sharp shooting basketball player from a local high school put then Rio Grande College on the map. He led his Redmen team to a perfect, and still unmatched, 39-0 perfect season. The team averaged over 101 points per contest, and Francis cracked the 100 point mark himself twice, setting a record that would stand for more than 50 years. His story, in pictures and articles, can be found just outside of the current gymnasium.
Rio Grande College 1876
The school itself, as Rio Grande College, was founded and opened in 1876, the vision of a local minister and a few affluent residents. In its early years, the college was well known for preparing teachers and Baptist ministers. The campus has expanded in recent years, adding new buildings and new courses of study.
For a visit, the campus is easily walkable with wide sidewalks and a central grassy area suitable for spreading a blanket and listening to the birds. The campus seems to be pup friendly and we did take along our dog.
Your visit to campus won’t take all day, maybe one to two hours at the most. That will leave plenty of time for a visit to nearby Jackson Lake State Park or Lake Hope State Park.
You may prefer a visit to the Bob Evans Farms Homestead. There is a museum on property and several restored cabins. You can enjoy a meal at the Bob Evans flagship restaurant as well.
Campus Tours: A Regular Series
Looking for more campus tours? You can easily spend an entire day touring The Ohio State University. Follow along on our tour for an introduction.
Keep checking back, as we will be touring all of the colleges and universities in Ohio. Campus tours are a great and free way to spend the day and learn a little about life in Ohio.
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