Tiffin University and OFIC Announce Education Partnership

L to R: C. Todd Jones, President and General Counsel of AICUO, Dr. Lillian Schumacher, Tiffin University President, Bill Spiker, President of OFIC.

L to R: C. Todd Jones, President and General Counsel of AICUO, Dr. Lillian Schumacher, Tiffin University President, Bill Spiker, President of OFIC.

TIFFIN UNIVERSITY, Tiffin, OH—Tiffin University, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (AICUO) and the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) have entered into a new educational partnership according to Dr. Peter Holbrook, Tiffin University Provost.

Through this new partnership, employees of AICUO and OFIC’s member colleges and universities now have the opportunity to save on the overall cost of earning a Ph.D. in Global Leadership and Change offered by Tiffin University beginning fall semester 2019. 

Global Leadership and Changewas developed with the adult professional in mind,” said Dr. Kenneth Rauch, Director of the Ph.D. Program. “It was designed with a curriculum to recognize the challenges and tremendous opportunities within today’s cross-cultural work environment. Practitioners in leadership roles in today’s business and educational environments have often been excluded by the traditional delivery of Ph.D. programs and extensive residency requirements within these programs. TU’s degree is offered within the online format and features limited residency requirements. Flexibility and the relational approach of faculty engagement allow students to work independently, but never alone.”

“Ohio’s independent colleges are partnering in many creative ways to make innovative educational programs affordable,” said C. Todd Jones, President and General Counsel of AICUO. “Tiffin University’s program will open outstanding opportunities for leaders at our state’s institutions. AICUO is proud to partner with TU to help make Global Leadership and Change available to new leaders on our member campuses.”

"The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) is pleased to partner with Tiffin University as they offer greater access to their doctoral program, Global Leadership and Change, to qualifying employees of our 33-member campuses,” said Bill Spiker, President of OFIC. “Tiffin University and our other independent colleges and universities in Ohio are providing undergraduate and graduate programs which will help secure Ohio's economic future."

“Tiffin University is proud to partner with AICUO and OFIC to offer their member institution employees the opportunity to continue their education," said Dr. Lillian Schumacher, Tiffin University President. “Tiffin University aspires to motivate and positively impact individuals through educational collaborations like this representing an incredible opportunity to help adult learners.” 

Walsh University President Announces Retirement

North Canton, Ohio – After 18 years of monumental growth under his leadership, Walsh University President Richard Jusseaume has officially announced his retirement. Jusseaume will stay on as Walsh’s leader through the end of this fiscal year (June 30, 2019) and, to ensure a smooth transition for the new president, will remain in a consultant position for the final year of his contract. A national search to procure Walsh’s new president will commence immediately.

 As Ohio’s second longest-serving president of a four-year private university, Richard Jusseaume became the sixth president of Walsh University in 2001. Under his guidance, Walsh has experienced phenomenal growth in almost every facet of its operations including enrollment, academic programming, faculty and staff, financial resources and physical facilities. In total, he has spent five decades at Walsh in various roles including student, Dean of Students, Board of Director member, and ultimately as President. He began his career as an educator for 17 years before transitioning into corporate leadership at Graphic Enterprises Inc. He led Graphic Enterprises for another 17 years before returning to Walsh where he has just completed his 17th contract year as President.  For a complete timeline of accomplishments, visit https://www.walsh.edu/jusseaume.

Campus to Career Connections (Ohio Business Magazine Feature)

By Eric Spangler

By Eric Spangler

Rob Twitchell knows the value of an education from an independent college in Ohio. Twitchell, the COO of Reliant Capital, an accounts receivable management company headquartered in Gahanna, Ohio, graduated from Ohio Northern University, an independent university located in Ada, Ohio.

That’s one of the reasons Twitchell says Reliant Capital recently decided to make a donation to The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges to fund three renewable scholarships for students attending one of 33 independent colleges and universities in Ohio.

The only stipulation for the scholarship is that students preferably live in Franklin County and contiguous counties, since that’s where Reliant Capital is located; they should major in business, communication, finance or marketing; and must meet the academic standards of The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges and demonstrate financial need, says Twitchell.

“We just kind of feel that as our company grows it’s our responsibility as a corporate citizen to give back to the community,” Twitchell says. “And since we support the higher-education industry it just kind of made sense for us to get involved and support their work.”

Reliant Capital helps colleges by managing their outstanding debt, he says. “We treat our borrowers with dignity and respect,” says Twitchell. “The institutions we support are extremely important to us and expect us to treat their alumni and former students well and we pride ourselves on doing that.”

He says Reliant Capital does everything possible to help people resolve their distressed loans so they can get back on with their life. “We just want to make sure that we participate in every phase of this by offering scholarships and helping people make it more affordable and hopefully people don’t end up as our customers,” Twitchell says.

Making a donation for scholarships is important to Reliant Capital because the money is being used to make a difference in students’ lives, he says. “I’m personally a big fan of a liberal arts education and I’ve seen the value of it in my own life.

“I realize that there are some people that might be on the edge of being able to afford attending one of these schools,” Twitchell says.

Scholarships through The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges gives companies access to the state’s future workforce.

Scholarships through The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges gives companies access to the state’s future workforce.

Scholarships through The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges gives companies access to the state’s future workforce.

It’s that personal touch that has elevated The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges, the national leader in providing unrestricted gifts and student scholarships to Ohio’s independent colleges and universities since its founding in 1950 to now, says Bill Spiker, president of the organization. Until 1986 the group raised money through corporate donations for general expenses at its member institutions, he says.

But The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges started raising money from corporate donors specifically for student scholarships at member institutions in 1986.

“I like to say we dipped our toe in the water in 1986 and then today we’re up about chest high,” says Spiker. Today, about three-fourths of the money the group raises is distributed back to its member schools in the form of scholarships, he says.

The scholarships have been successful because corporate officials like to know where their gift is going and what their money is supporting, Spiker says.

Twitchell agrees with that assessment. “I really can’t stress enough that the money for The [Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges] goes right to the student so we’re getting the money right to the point of need, which I think is pretty critical,” Twitchell says.

Corporate officials can even get introduced to a scholarship recipient and that may lead to a new employee upon graduation, he says.

“Students may have a choice as to where they want to start their career and if a company has stepped forward with a contribution to help reduce the cost of attending a member school then that student may look more favorably on joining that company,” says Spiker. “So it’s a way of establishing that relationship,” he says.

That relationship creates a “campus to career connection,” Spiker says. “That’s what we’re saying to corporate Ohio, we’ve got something to return to you,” he says.  “It’s not just, ‘Give us money and we’ll do a good job with it.’ It’s really saying to them we can potentially give you a return on your investment, especially if you’re hiring.”

The scholarships provided by The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges are creating a talent pipeline for corporate Ohio, says Spiker. “The reason we exist is to raise money from corporate Ohio, return it to the students who are attending the member campuses, making their education affordable and creating a future workforce for Ohio,” he says.

That, in turn, may help keep Ohio’s economy strong and growing. Twitchell says it’s well documented that Ohio is going to face a shortfall of qualified workers in the very new future. By providing scholarships to students with financial needs businesses are making it possible to address that shortfall of qualified workers, he says.

Spiker agrees that keeping qualified workers in Ohio is important to the economy and says the scholarships offered by his organization are creating a talent pipeline for Ohio business.

Twitchell succinctly sums up the scholarship program and its importance to the state’s economy. “I think by participating in this [scholarship program] we’re making the Ohio economy better, which benefits us all,” says Twitchell.

OFIC Talent Pipeline Solutions hosted by Motorists Insurance Group

Fantastic turnout for the OFIC Talent Pipeline event hosted by Motorists Insurance Group in Columbus on September 21. Attendees included representatives from: Alliance Data, American Electric Power, AT&T, Battelle, Big Lots Stores, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea, HMB, American Honda Motor Company, Inc., Honda of America Mfg., Inc., Huntington National Bank, ICC, First Financial Bank, Motorists Insurance Group, Thomas and Marker Construction.

Join us for our next event or learn more: www.ofic.org.

Tiffin University to Join The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges

L to R: Francie Henry, Regional President-Central Ohio, Fifth Third Bank and OFIC Board Chair; Bill Spiker, President, OFIC; Lillian Schumacher, President, Tiffin University

L to R: Francie Henry, Regional President-Central Ohio, Fifth Third Bank and OFIC Board Chair; Bill Spiker, President, OFIC; Lillian Schumacher, President, Tiffin University


The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) announced today that Tiffin University, located in Tiffin, Ohio, will be added as the 33rd collegiate member of their organization. Tiffin joins 32 other independent, non-tax-funded, liberal arts colleges and universities from Ohio. The University is led by Dr. Lillian Schumacher, inaugurated in November of 2016, as the University’s first female president.

Making the decision to apply for membership in OFIC for Dr. Schumacher was an easy one. “Since accepting the position of Tiffin University President,” explained Schumacher, “I have been asking myself: Why does our University exist; why do we do what we do? The answer is rather simple: Because of our students. We are here to serve our students. OFIC’s mission is the same - their fundraising efforts help Ohio’s students reach their goals of a college education.”

“OFIC helps students in need by partnering with corporate and foundation donors that believe strongly in higher education and want to create scholarship programs which help the flow of students from our member campuses to careers with corporate Ohio,” said Bill Spiker, OFIC President. “We welcome Tiffin University and look forward to a strong relationship that will have a direct impact on students and the economic future of Ohio.”

Schumacher went on to explain why scholarships from OFIC donors are important. “Our students, like so many of those attending the other 32 member institutions, rely on scholarships to achieve their academic goals. More than 90 percent of Tiffin University's students receive some form of financial aid. With financial support, students' lives are positively impacted, and our communities are stronger by having a growing college-educated workforce.”

Tiffin University will join 32 other Ohio independent colleges and universities as a member of OFIC including: Ashland University, Baldwin Wallace University, Bluffton University, Capital University, Cedarville University, Defiance College, Denison University, The University of Findlay, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Franklin University, Heidelberg University, Hiram College, John Carroll University, Kenyon College, Lake Erie College, Lourdes University, Malone University, Marietta College, University of Mount Union, Mount Vernon Nazarene University, Muskingum University, Notre Dame College, Oberlin College, Ohio Dominican University, Ohio Northern University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Otterbein University, Ursuline College, Walsh University, Wilmington College, Wittenberg University, and The College of Wooster.

Claire Johansen, Chair of Tiffin University’s Board of Trustees also supported their inclusion in OFIC. “Tiffin University's noble purpose is to transform lives through education,” said Johansen. “The Board firmly believes that membership into OFIC aligns directly with the University’s Guiding Principles. A majority of our students come from homes with modest incomes and are the first in their family to attend a four-year college. Our University practices financial constraint, however college is expensive. Scholarships serve as a “life-preserver" for students. Providing a sound foundation for our students’ success is why the Board strongly supports membership in OFIC.”

“We are excited to include Tiffin University in OFIC’s membership," said OFIC Board Chair, Francie Henry, Regional President-Central Ohioat Fifth Third Bank. “Many of our donors make connections with their student scholars through luncheons or visits to their company headquarters. They also find that offering internships and job opportunities, post-graduation, is a way for them to address their own corporate talent pipeline issues. Tiffin University's membership has the potential to bring new corporate partners that are working hard to build Ohio's economy. Students staying in Ohio and working here are key components of our collective success."

Tiffin University’s membership in OFIC is effective July 1, 2018.

Tiffin University
Founded in 1888, TU has become a premier university for challenging students to enhance their global competencies for success in a diverse world. The University enrolls students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Tiffin, Ohio, at several locations in Ohio, online, and in several foreign countries. The campus at Tiffin is a blend of traditional historic and modern buildings, creating a vibrant and warm home for a culturally diverse educational community. Throughout its history, TU has maintained its dedication to providing a professionally focused, learning-centered education to prepare students for successful careers and for productive and satisfying lives of excellence, leadership, and service. Tiffin University’s faculty offers a unique combination of practical application with scholarly knowledge. The TU approach to learning and skill set development insists on connecting students to the workplace as soon, and as often, as possible during their college experience through internships.

The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC), a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, is the national leader in providing student scholarships and unrestricted gifts to Ohio’s independent colleges and universities.

OFIC member colleges and universities award nearly one-third of all bachelor’s degrees in the state. Since 1950 OFIC has worked to highlight the leadership, value and excellence of independent higher education and has provided scholarship commitments and unrestricted operating gifts through funds raised in annual solicitations of businesses and foundations, thereby assuring continuation of excellence in private higher education. OFIC is governed by a board of trustees comprised of Ohio’s corporate leaders, as well as presidents of the 33 member colleges and universities. 

For more information about OFIC, visit www.ofic.org or contact Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Karey West at west@ofic.org or 614-469-1890.




John Comerford, Ph.D., Selected as Otterbein University’s 21st President


Comerford brings a record of success in enrollment and financial growth to the position.

Westerville, OH— A college president with extensive experience in promoting access, affordability, diversity and career preparation has been selected as the 21st president of Otterbein University. 

John Comerford, Ph.D., president of Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, was selected after a months-long search that drew nearly 80 applicants from across the nation. He will take his post on July 1, 2018.

“We had a wealth of highly qualified candidates who applied for the position but John Comerford stood out from the start,” said Mark Thresher, chair of the Otterbein Board of Trustees and CFO of Nationwide. “His proven commitment to inclusion, innovation, access and affordability closely align with Otterbein’s values, while his experience promises to advance Otterbein in these areas and others.”

“I am honored and humbled to be joining the Otterbein University and Westerville communities. Otterbein is an innovative and inclusive institution that has combined its traditional commitment to the liberal arts with new and exciting academic and co-curricular offerings,” Comerford said. “I am moved by Otterbein’s history and commitment to ensuring higher education remains accessible and affordable, while maintaining academic excellence, no matter a student’s family financial situation. We need institutions that are willing to be leaders in this area.”

John Comerford, Ph.D., comes to Otterbein University with a record of commitment and advocacy for higher education and liberal arts colleges. He has served as president of Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois, since 2013, where he has been at the center of a number of innovative programs designed to enhance student access and learning.

Comerford was chosen to lead Otterbein following an eight-month nationwide search by a 12-person search committee in consultation with an expanded group of 10 campus representatives. The committee included representatives from all Otterbein constituencies, including trustees, students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni, as well as the Westerville community.

Learn more at www.otterbein.edu/21stpresident. 

Comerford was introduced to the Otterbein and central Ohio communities at an announcement at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24.

Comerford was introduced to the Otterbein and central Ohio communities at an announcement at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24.

Bluffton University names next president

Dr. Jane Wood

Dr. Jane Wood

BLUFFTON, Ohio – For just the tenth time in its 119-year history, Bluffton University’s Board of Trustees has named a new president, announcing that Dr. Jane Wood has accepted the call to serve as Bluffton’s next president beginning July 1, 2018.

“Dr. Wood has demonstrated success in achieving enrollment growth at several institutions by leading academic program innovation, strategic planning, alignment and visioning processes that moved those institutions forward, along with proven success in building relationships for public and private partnerships to broaden the school’s reach,” said Kent Yoder, chairperson of the Bluffton University Board of Trustees. “She is a committed Christian with leadership experience at both Catholic and Protestant institutions and has a passion for social justice. We are excited that she was drawn to Bluffton for its mission, history and faith tradition rooted in peace and social justice. The Board is united in agreement that Dr. Jane Wood is the right person for this time in Bluffton’s history.”

Dr. Wood currently serves as the vice president of academic affairs and dean at Mount Marty College, a Benedictine liberal arts and co-educational institution in Yankton, S.D. Her previous professional positions were at Westminster College, in New Wilmington, Pa.; Park University and University of Missouri, both in Kansas City, Mo.; and at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan. Her experience in higher education includes positions as a tenured faculty member, department chair, academic dean and vice president. Dr. Wood earned her Ph.D. and master’s degree in English literature from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Missouri.

“This is an exciting time in the life of Bluffton University and it will be an honor to build on the substantial and outstanding programs that are already in place and innovate with the campus community to build new programs that will provide sustainable bridges to the future,” said Wood. “I will lead with an appreciation for Bluffton’s history and its fine reputation as an institution firmly rooted in the ideals of the liberal arts and sciences and framed by the values of the Mennonite/Anabaptist faith. Bluffton’s compelling mission, distinctive history and traditions offer an opportunity to refine and connect a successful past with an exciting future.”

In her previous roles, Dr. Wood worked collaboratively with faculty, staff, students and public and private partners to develop strategic plans that spurred enrollment growth through academic program development including undergraduate, adult studies and graduate-level programs.

“It is exciting to create, with campus and community collaboration, an innovative and practical strategic vision with academic excellence at its core,” said Wood. “I believe there are significant growth opportunities for right-sized, Christian, liberal arts institutions who work closely with for-profit and non-profit entities to identify the best fit for students for internships, future employment and partnership investments in key identified areas of the university’s academic programs. These initiatives must be balanced with a commitment to a core liberal arts education that equips graduates for success across the full range of professions and for advanced studies in a constantly changing world.”

Dr. Wood also has experience in implementing successful Title IX program improvements, including diversity hiring initiatives, and in fundraising. She has a breadth of experience with different college settings including serving for and interacting with students and faculty at public, private, and Catholic and Presbyterian institutions.

“As a woman who was born and raised in the United Methodist Church (and where my husband and I raised our two daughters), I understand the power of faith as it resonates in individual lives and as it infuses organizations,” said Wood. “Faith is central in my own life and my integrity is guided by my deepening spiritual compass. I am drawn to Bluffton’s Mennonite/Anabaptist faith history for multiple reasons. As a trained mediator, I am committed to Bluffton’s restorative justice principles and understand that Bluffton has always been welcoming to students of all faith backgrounds and is committed to encouraging informed understanding and dialogue, core values that are in great need during this time in our nation and our world. Bluffton’s mission is both special and essential and why I feel called to serve and lead at this time.”

Dr. Wood also noted her enthusiasm for Bluffton’s current $26 million comprehensive fundraising campaign including construction of the Austin E. Knowlton Science Center. To date, Simply Innovate—The Campaign for Bluffton, has surpassed 60 percent of the university’s total campaign goal and more than 80 percent of the funding needed for the science center. In her previous roles, Wood has demonstrated success in developing academic programs related to health care and increasing partnerships that enhance enrollment.

“I look forward to engaging with energy and enthusiasm the many constituents of Bluffton University to achieve the goals of Simply Innovate—The Campaign for Bluffton,” said Wood. “I applaud all that Dr. Harder has done to position Bluffton for continued success and am excited to carry forward the vision for Bluffton’s emerging excellence in the natural and health science areas. Without doubt, the university’s current goal to open Knowlton Science Center for the 2020/21 academic year is achievable, and I look forward to investing myself fully with staff and volunteers to make this dream a reality for Bluffton students.”

Bluffton’s presidential search process was led by Cheryl Hacker, Bluffton alumna and vice chair of the Board of Trustees. The Search Committee included board members, faculty, staff, a student, a community member, the president of the Bluffton University Alumni Association, a representative from Mennonite Education Agency and alumni representatives from the Ohio Conference and the Central District Conference of Mennonite Church USA. The committee began their work in September and received more than 50 applications for the presidency.

“We had a fully inclusive process, with the opportunity for faculty, staff and students to meet the final candidates and provide feedback,” said Yoder, board chair. “The Board extends its appreciation to the committee and the campus community for their thoughtful engagement and prayers of support during the presidential search process.”   

Dr. Wood follows Dr. James M. Harder who will retire in June after completing 12 years as president at Bluffton University and more than 30 years working in higher education. 


Former University of Mount Union head football coach inducted into College Football Hall of Fame


NEW YORK, New York – On Tuesday, December 5th, the National Football Foundation (NFF) and College Hall of Fame will host its 60th NFF Annual Awards Dinner at the New York Hilton Midtown with former University of Mount Union head football coach and current athletic director, Larry Kehres, as one of the inductees.

Founded in 1947, the NFF and College Hall of Fame is a non-profit educational organization that runs programs designed to use the power of amateur football in developing scholarship, citizenship and athletic achievement in young people.

Other members of the class include Bob Crable, Marshall Faulk, Kirk Gibson, Matt Leinart, Peyton Manning, Bob McKay, Dat Nguyen, Adrian Peterson, Mike Ruth, Brian Urlacher, Danny Ford and Steve Spurrier. 

Kehres is in his 42nd year at Mount Union. He returned to his alma mater in 1974 as an assistant football coach and as the first head coach of the swimming program. In 1985, Kehres was named director of athletics and in 1986 he added head football coach duties, which he continued until 2013. Now, he acts as an associate professor of physical education. 

Under Kehres, the football team has won 23 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships (1986, 1990, 1992-2012) while posting 21 undefeated regular seasons (1986, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995-2004, 2006-2012) and claiming 11 NCAA Division III National Championships (1993, 1996-1998, 2000-2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2012). 

Otterbein University President Announces Retirement


“President Krendl and her leadership team have made significant contributions to improve the campus, the experiences of its students, faculty, staff and alumni as well forming strong networks in central Ohio and beyond,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Mark Thresher, executive vice president and CFO of Nationwide. “We are thankful for the growth and leadership she has brought to Otterbein during her tenure and the strong commitment she has toward educating the whole person while creating a model community of lifelong leaders and learners.”  

Krendl has worked to position Otterbein for continued success through increasing fundraising efforts, launching new academic programs, diversifying revenue sources, building relationships with business and community leaders, establishing partnerships with women’s organizations, and collaborating with non-profits and other higher education institutions. She has also focused institutional attention on recruiting top quality students, faculty and staff to the Otterbein community.

Having joined Otterbein at the beginning of the recession, Krendl committed to identifying strategies to maintain access to an affordable four-year education. She worked with the Otterbein Board of Trustees to freeze tuition costs for students and families. As a result, tuition at Otterbein has been held constant for all students for the past four years — an unprecedented decision in higher education today.

New scholarships and merit opportunities became a key priority in launching a $50 million comprehensive campaign — the university’s largest fundraising effort in its history. Another effort to establish an affordable pathway to a degree was announced this past spring with the development of a new dual admission program with Columbus State Community College. The program drastically reduces the cost of a four-year degree for families making an Otterbein degree more affordable than most four-year public institutions in the state. 

Partnerships with local K-12 school districts have also created affordable opportunities for students graduating from Columbus City, Westerville, South-Western, and Whitehall school districts to complete a four-year degree at Otterbein through special financial award packages.

The expansion and diversification of academic programs during Krendl’s presidency have yielded strong enrollments and increased diversity in the student population. They have also helped to define the distinctive identity of the institution. Further expansion of graduate programs, including the introduction of its first doctoral program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, along with the development of unique undergraduate majors, such as Zoo and Conservation Science and Systems Engineering, heavily focused on Otterbein’s commitment to experiential learning opportunities, have further enhanced Otterbein’s academic reputation and distinguished it as a destination institution for students from across the country.

Most recently, the launch of The Point at Otterbein, an economic driver and collaborative partnership with business and industry, the City of Westerville, and the State of Ohio, has re-defined the future of higher education as students, faculty, and partners integrate the STEAM fields — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — in an experiential, hands-on learning environment. The collaboration will drive economic growth for the region through business development and job creation, while providing student experiences through internships, capstone projects, and research initiatives. This one-of-a-kind concept in central Ohio has been identified as a model of 21st century education by Fortune 500 businesses and government officials who have visited The Point.

Krendl is the first recipient of the Women for Economic Leadership Development (WELD) Riveter Award; she was also named among Ohio’s Most Powerful and Influential Women by the National Diversity Council; she was a finalist for the 2016 Columbus CEO Award; and this month she will be honored as a Progressive Woman in the Smart Women Awards ceremony. She has served on numerous boards including the Columbus YWCA, I Know I Can, Ohio Campus Compact and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation. As president of Otterbein, she has continued to teach a first-year seminar for entering students on Women and Leadership. She also founded the Otterbein University Women’s Leadership Network to support the mentoring of women and girls in various fields of interest and professional development. She is the first female president to serve Otterbein since its founding in 1847.

A search for Otterbein’s 21st president in its 170-year history will begin this fall led by Otterbein Board of Trustees member Cheryl Herbert, Senior Vice President at OhioHealth.

Carmen Twillie Ambar Named 15th President of Oberlin College



The Oberlin College Board of Trustees announced today that Carmen Twillie Ambar will become the College’s 15th president and first African American leader in the institution's 184-year history. Ambar, currently president of Cedar Crest College, will be on campus full time beginning in September.

Carmen Twillie Ambar addresses the campus community during an announcement ceremony on May 30, 2017.  

Ambar’s values align closely with Oberlin’s mission. “Oberlin is a singular institution in American higher education, with an historic commitment to social justice, academic and musical excellence, and the liberal arts,” Ambar says. “I look forward to my work with Oberlin’s faculty, staff, students, board, and alumni to think creatively and collaboratively together. I am humbled to be joining this institution and excited about the opportunity to lead it into its next era.”

Ohio Bankers League partners with OFIC for 3-year, $300k gift

(L to R) Todd Clossin, President & CEO, WesBanco and Chair, OFIC Board of Trustees, Evan Kleymeyer, Executive Director, The Ohio Bankers League Foundation, James M. Gasior President & CEO, The Cortland Savings and Banking Company, Bill Spiker, President, OFIC.

(L to R) Todd Clossin, President & CEO, WesBanco and Chair, OFIC Board of Trustees, Evan Kleymeyer, Executive Director, The Ohio Bankers League Foundation, James M. Gasior
President & CEO, The Cortland Savings and Banking Company, Bill Spiker, President, OFIC.

April 11, 2017 - The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Annual Meeting, Board of Trustees, Columbus Museum of Art

The OBL has established a partnership with OFIC, a leader in scholarship administration, to help Ohio banks build better communities through scholarships. This concept will multiply their investment in higher education to have a stronger, more lasting local impact that helps create a pipeline of talent across Ohio.

The three-year OBL scholarship program investment of $300,000 establishes an endowment and provides current scholarships at OFIC member universities. It allows Ohio banks to help make higher education more affordable for students, while increasing awareness of careers in the banking industry. This connectivity could provide them with summer internship opportunities and potentially careers at an Ohio bank. More importantly, this program helps shape the future of the banking industry through the permanent endowment.

OBL chose to partner with OFIC to help create real change in Ohio’s local communities. “Banks, like many other industries, are struggling with an aging employee base and we knew we needed to do something significant to address this issue, said Ohio Bankers League CEO, Mike Adelman. “OFIC’s exclusive partnership with Ohio independent universities, many of which are in the smaller towns of Ohio where OBL member banks are located, means our investment is having a true local impact.”

“Ohio independent universities continually work hard to improve the state’s college-educated workforce and with funds from our donors, such as this scholarship program, we are supporting their efforts,” explained OFIC President, Bill Spiker.  “With an average of over 60% of our graduates staying in Ohio to enter the job market, this program is a great way to demonstrate that banks in their hometowns are a great choice to begin their careers.”

The Ohio Bankers League is the trade association for the Ohio banking industry – and is Ohio’s only organization focused on meeting the needs of all banks and thrifts in the Buckeye State. For more than 125 years, the OBL has been the voice of the Ohio banking industry fostering a cooperation that has made it one of the strongest and most reputable financial trade associations in the country.

President of John Carroll University to Retire

The Rev. Robert Niehoff, president of John Carroll University, has announced his retirement.  (Robert Hartshorn/Hartshorn Studios)

The Rev. Robert Niehoff, president of John Carroll University, has announced his retirement. (Robert Hartshorn/Hartshorn Studios)

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio - The Rev. Robert Niehoff, president of John Carroll University since 2005, announced Wednesday that he plans to retire.

Niehoff said in the letter to the university community that the search for his successor will begin immediately.

"I have been thinking for some time about the ideal time to position the University for new leadership," he wrote. "This year has been exceptional and full of hard rewarding work. With the Higher Learning Commission's recent reaffirmation of our accreditation status; the successful conclusion of the Forever Carroll comprehensive campaign; the launch of our new strategic plan; growing recognition and prestige for our accountancy and science programs; and achieving national media coverage for beating Mt. Union in football for the first time in 27 years, it became clear to me that the time for me to retire is now."

Ohio Dominican names University's 16th President

Robert A. Gervasi, Ph.D

Robert A. Gervasi, Ph.D

Columbus, OH – The Ohio Dominican University (ODU) Board of Trustees has announced that Robert A. Gervasi, Ph.D. will serve as the University’s 16th president. Gervasi will succeed Dr. Peter Cimbolic, who is retiring after seven years as ODU’s president. Gervasi will begin at Ohio Dominican on June 26, 2017.

Gervasi has spent the last nine years serving as president of Quincy University, a private Catholic Franciscan liberal arts university located in Quincy, Illinois. Quincy has approximately 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students.

During Gervasi’s tenure as president, Quincy experienced growth and improvement in numerous areas, including enrollment. In fall 2016, Quincy welcomed its largest class on record. Over the past nine years, enrollment in the university’s Honors Program has increased from 33 to 202 students. Quincy also became a more diverse campus under Gervasi’s leadership, with approximately 17 percent of the university’s student population made up of minority students, compared to five percent in the region. 

“We are tremendously blessed and proud to have an individual of Robert Gervasi’s experience, leadership and enthusiasm serve as Ohio Dominican University’s 16th president,” said Tom Mueller, chair of ODU’s Board of Trustees. “Quincy University has experienced tremendous success and growth under his guidance. As a sitting president, Bob has successfully navigated many of the challenges currently being experienced at small, private Midwestern universities, and we’re excited for him to bring his expertise to Ohio Dominican.”

Wittenberg University Selects 15th President

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - The Wittenberg University Board of Directors has unanimously selected Dr. Michael Frandsen, vice president for finance and administration at Oberlin College, as Wittenberg’s 15th president. Frandsen will begin his tenure July 1, 2017.

“Wittenberg is extremely blessed to have found in Mike an outstanding leader in higher education and a passionate advocate for the liberal arts who exemplifies our mission,” said the Rev. Jonathan Eilert, chair of the Wittenberg Board of Directors and chair of the presidential search committee. “Mike clearly sees the big picture, finds the intersections that create opportunity, seeks creative solutions, and collaborates and communicates effectively with constituents, all while staying focused on our students and their personal and professional success. We are thrilled to have attracted such a distinguished leader, and we are convinced that he will take Wittenberg to new heights of excellence.”

Frandsen’s selection follows a six-month national search led by a 15-member search committee comprised of Board members, faculty, staff, community representatives, alumni and students, and managed by Tom Courtice of TBC Search Consulting, L.L.C. A total of 90 applications were submitted for the position.

More information about Frandsen can be found online at www.wittenberg.edu.

OFIC Announces Three Gifts at Annual Board Meeting

At the annual meeting of the board of trustees, held on the campus of Otterbein University, The Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) accepted three contributions to fund scholarships for students attending OFIC member institutions and continued support of the organization’s Bridges program.

Greg Steenrod, Vice President, Business Development at GEM Energy presented a gift commitment to OFIC in the amount of $70,000 to be paid over 20 years. The scholarship program through OFIC will benefit students in Ohio Northern University’s Advanced Energy Engineering program.

L to R: Todd Clossin, President & CEO WesBanco, OFIC Board Chair, Bill Spiker, OFIC President, Greg Steenrod, Vice President, Business Development, GEM Energy LLC.

L to R: Todd Clossin, President & CEO WesBanco, OFIC Board Chair, Bill Spiker, OFIC President, Greg Steenrod, Vice President, Business Development, GEM Energy LLC.

Sarah Briggs, Vice President, External Affairs from AT&T Ohio and Christopher Wyche, Director, External Affairs, from AT&T Ohio presented a check in the amount of $50,000 in support of The OFIC Bridges Program. The program creates a pathway for urban and economically disadvantaged students to gain access to higher education by providing information for both students and their families regarding the importance of a college education, the financial and educational preparation required, and the higher education processes involved. 

L to R: Todd Clossin, President & CEO WesBanco, OFIC Board Chair, Bill Spiker, OFIC President, Christopher Wyche, Director, External Affairs, AT&T Ohio, Sarah Briggs, Vice President, External Affairs, AT&T Ohio.

L to R: Todd Clossin, President & CEO WesBanco, OFIC Board Chair, Bill Spiker, OFIC President, Christopher Wyche, Director, External Affairs, AT&T Ohio, Sarah Briggs, Vice President, External Affairs, AT&T Ohio.

Finally, Renee Roberts, HR Manager, Great Lakes District, United Parcel Service along with OFIC/UPS Scholar Anthony Sumpter from Ohio Dominican University, presented a $88,400 check which represents the scholarships made possible by a grant from the UPS Educational Endowment Fund administered by the Council if Independent Colleges (CIC) in Washington, DC. Nationally, CIC and The UPS Foundation teamed up to provide nearly $1.5 million in student scholarships this year.

L to R: Todd Clossin, President & CEO WesBanco, OFIC Board Chair, Bill Spiker, OFIC President, Renee Roberts,  HR Manager, Great Lakes District , United Parcel Service.

L to R: Todd Clossin, President & CEO WesBanco, OFIC Board Chair, Bill Spiker, OFIC President, Renee Roberts, HR Manager, Great Lakes District, United Parcel Service.

L to R: OFIC/UPS Scholar Anthony Sumpter, Ohio Dominican University,  Renee Roberts,  HR Manager, Great Lakes District , United Parcel Service

L to R: OFIC/UPS Scholar Anthony Sumpter, Ohio Dominican University, Renee Roberts, HR Manager, Great Lakes District, United Parcel Service

OFIC/UPS Scholar Anthony Sumpter, Ohio Dominican University

OFIC/UPS Scholar Anthony Sumpter, Ohio Dominican University

“We are pleased that we had three major donors not only show their support through their contributions to OFIC, but also through their presence at our board meeting,” said Bill Spiker, president of OFIC. “Companies like GEM Energy, AT&T and UPS are essential to our efforts to help Ohio students achieve their academic goals and become active members of the workforce in our communities.”

Following the board meeting, attendees were offered a tour of the newly opened and first-of-its-kind facility, The Point at Otterbein University. 

Otterbein has partnered with leading organizations from the private and public sectors in central Ohio to create The Point at Otterbein University, a new science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) Innovation Center that combines academics with the business and manufacturing needs of our community.  Located at 60 Collegeview Road, The Point and it's STEAM Innovation Center is home to two resident companies and Otterbein academic departments, with lab space available to businesses and the broader community.

OFIC Names Liz Johnson, Cindi Marshall, Regional Vice Presidents for Development

Liz Johnson

Liz Johnson

Liz Johnson has been named Regional Vice President for Development, NE Ohio. "Liz has a great background in both fundraising and sales which will allow her to be successful in approaching Northeast Ohio business leaders in support of Ohio's independent colleges and universities," said OFIC President Bill Spiker. Most recently, Johnson was the Director of the Mount Union Fund at the University of Mount Union. Under her direction, the university raised over $5 million in philanthropic support toward the Fund during her three years as director.

A graduate of Cuyahoga Falls High School, Johnson enrolled at the University of Mount Union and with her liberal arts education in Communications and Elementary Education secured, Johnson began her business career upon graduation in 1993.  First hired as a patient representative at Berger Hospital (Circleville), followed by three years as a professional representative of pharmaceutical giant, Merck & Co., Johnson then extended her sales career with a very successful eight-year engagement with Progressive Insurance (Mayfield).  Prior to joining the advancement staff at Mount Union, Johnson worked six years for the Solon Board of Education as an educational aide. Johnson resides in Solon with her husband, Matt, and two high school aged children, Connor and Evan.

Liz will be responsible for Northeast Ohio regional campaigns of OFIC in greater Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown seeking support from businesses, corporations, private foundations, and individuals. 

Cindi Marshall, MCM

Cindi Marshall, MCM

Liz joins Cindi Marshall, MCM, who has been promoted from Senior Director to Regional Vice President for Development. Cindi has been with OFIC for 4.5 years and has 20 years of resource development experience, which includes leadership development positions benefitting higher education, health and human service, and health care organizations. Cindi holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in Communications and Marketing. Cindi will continue to be responsible for seeking support from businesses, corporations, private foundations, and individuals in Central Ohio, and in Western Ohio from Cincinnati and Dayton, north to Toledo.

Lourdes University Names 10th President

Mary Ann Gawelek, Ed.D., Provost and Dean of the Faculty at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, has been appointed the 10th President of Lourdes University. After conducting a national search which garnered candidates from 11 states, Dr. Gawelek was selected overwhelmingly by Lourdes University, its sponsor the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania and the institution’s Board of Trustees. She will begin her role as President on July 1, 2016, with an inauguration planned during the 2016-2017 academic year.