President Griffith Announces 16th Year Will Be His Last at CCAD

September 19th, 2013 by Katlin McNally
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CCAD President Denny Griffith

CCAD President Denny Griffith

In 16 years, our President Denny Griffith has led significant expansion of our facilities, led a robust growth in fundraising, and overseen both the opening of the CCAD MindMarket and a complete restructuring of the college’s curriculum—and he will be retiring from his post on June 30, 2014.

Griffith announced his decision to retire to all faculty and staff on Aug. 12, and since that time numerous publications have written about his legacy including The Columbus Dispatch (and another article here), Columbus Business First, and Columbus Underground.

“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 his announcement. “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.

“We have the facilities and tools to manage enrollment growth. We also have the right people to do so,” Griffith said.

Griffith was named president of CCAD in 1998 after serving as deputy director of the Columbus Museum of Art. During his time as president he has seen the college double in size of its campus with the addition of 275,000 square feet of studio, classroom, and residential assets; launched a Master of Fine Arts program; added a more sophisticated fundraising operation that has generated $25 million in cash and planned gifts (and annual giving that has grown 500% since 1998—can we say wow?!); expanded the exhibitions program to include recognized contemporary artists from around the world;established international educational partnerships; and embarked on  a new curricular model and master schedule that commingle business and design education.

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, OH. He is also a 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.

The search for Griffith’s replacement will be led by Robert P. Restrepo Jr., chair of the CCAD board of trustees.

“Denny’s impact on CCAD, the Discovery District neighborhood, and the larger central Ohio community cannot be overstated,” said Restrepo, president, chairman, and chief executive officer of State Auto Insurance Companies. “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.”

A search committee will be appointed  that will include members of CCAD’s board, faculty, and staff and will work closely with Griffith for a seamless transition.

“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,” Said Griffith.  “CCAD is in my heart forever.”

To say we are sad to see him leave would be an understatement, but his early announcement allows us to not only get excited for what the future of CCAD will hold, but also look back and celebrate his time with us. And a big celebration, like our Alumni & Family Weekend, will be a great opportunity to do that. Griffith will  give a final CCAD lecture, open to all those who attend on Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. (RSVP for his talk here).

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