“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.