About CCAD

Amanda Pierce
Media Coordinator
e-mail or 614.437.7204)

Images available on Flickr

(Aug.16, 2012)

President Announces 16th Year Will Be His Final as Leader Of Columbus College of Art & Design

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Aug. 12, 2013)—Dennison W. Griffith today announced he will retire as president of Columbus College of Art & Design at the conclusion of his current contract, which runs through June 30, 2014. Griffith is entering his 16th year as president of one of the nation’s oldest and largest private colleges of art and design.

“For reasons that are related to my belief that institutions are best served when their leadership is periodically refreshed, and personal ones linked to my family and to my ambitions as an artist, I’ve decided that this is the right moment to retire from the college and to redouble my commitment to my own art work,” Griffith said in announcing his decision to CCAD faculty and staff today. “I will serve out my 16th and final year with the same vigor and passion that I’ve always brought to this job and will assist the board and the college in all ways possible to ensure a seamless transition in leadership.”

Robert P. Restrepo Jr., chair of the CCAD board of trustees, will direct the search for a new president.

“Denny’s impact on CCAD, the Discovery District neighborhood and the larger central Ohio community cannot be understated. He’s enthusiastically transformed the college into one that is growing and financially secure, and continually raising the bar for itself and similar institutions around the country. He led the effort to build strong partnerships with the business community and played a key role in the resurgence of downtown Columbus,” said Restrepo, president, chairman and chief executive officer of State Auto Insurance Companies.

“Denny will also leave behind a senior management team and board well positioned to drive CCAD’s continued success. We’re clearly better for his leadership. On behalf of the board, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Denny for his commitment to CCAD and our community.

“We’ll soon appoint a search committee, including members of the board of trustees and faculty, to identify our next president. The board and I will work closely with Denny and his management team to ensure a seamless transition in leadership that builds on his legacy,” Restrepo said.

Griffith was named president of CCAD in 1998 after serving as deputy director of the Columbus Museum of Art. He has guided the college through significant expansion of its facilities, robust growth in fundraising, the opening of the CCAD MindMarket and a complete restructuring of the college’s curriculum, which will launch next fall.

During Griffith’s tenure, CCAD has:

  • Doubled the size of its campus facilities with the addition of 275,000 square feet of studio, classroom, and residential assets
  • Launched a Masters of Fine Arts program
  • Added more sophisticated fundraising operations that have generated $25 million in cash and planned gifts, while annual giving has grown 500% since 1998
  • Expanded its exhibitions program to include recognized contemporary artists from around the world
  • Established international education partnerships, especially in China
  • Embarked on designing a new curricular model and master schedule through a forward-looking mix of business education with innovative and design education to launch fall of 2014

Griffith serves on the boards of the Columbus Partnership, Experience Columbus and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, the leading U.S. accreditation agency for the art and design field. Alongside his administrative career, he has maintained a vigorous commitment to his work as an artist. Griffith’s work has been included in more than 100 group and solo exhibitions domestically and abroad. He is represented by Hammond Harkins Galleries in Bexley, Ohio. He is the past recipient of artists’ fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, Arts Midwest and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

Griffith earned his master of fine arts degree from Ohio State University in 1994 and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1974. He also earned a certificate of completion from The Getty Leadership for Museum Management in 1996.

“We have the facilities and tools to manage enrollment growth. We also have the right people to do so,” Griffith said today in his communication to the 330 faculty and staff of CCAD. “I’ve been deeply and powerfully affected by my time here and continue to savor the demands, experiences and profound relationships that have become woven into my life. CCAD is in my heart forever.”



About CCAD
Columbus College of Art & Design, founded in 1879, is one of the oldest and largest private art and design colleges in the United States with 1,350 undergraduate and graduate students. CCAD offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Fine Arts. Undergraduate students choose from nine majors: photography, industrial design, advertising and graphic design, animation, illustration, fine arts, fashion design, interior design and cinematic arts.