Ologie founder Beverly Ryan honored with CCAD’s Spirit of Denny Griffith award

bev ryan

Spirit of Denny Griffith Award celebrates the late CCAD president’s legacy and recognizes a volunteer for service to the college.

Visionary Columbus leader Beverly Ryan, senior partner and founder of Ologie, is the 2019 recipient of Columbus College of Art & Design’s Spirit of Denny Griffith Award. The award celebrates the legacy of the late CCAD president, and honors a volunteer for their service to the college. Ryan has a true passion for higher education, and her branding firm has developed a reputation for generating big ideas and disruptive work for numerous higher-ed clients. Ryan studied at CCAD, received an honorary doctorate from the college in 2012, and served on the CCAD Board of Trustees from 2007 to 2016. We chatted with her about the honor.


What was your relationship like with Denny Griffith?

I cherished my relationship with Denny. When people remember Denny, they often say, “He would light up the room.” They are so right. He saw the good in everyone and everything. His positivity and joyfulness moved ideas forward.

What does it mean to win an award that pays homage to his work?

I feel humbled to be honored in his name. I hold him in such high regard, and I miss him very much. He was one of the all-time greats.

What did you learn from your time at CCAD?

I attended CCAD in the early ’80s. I had the most amazing professors—Mike Link, Mark Hazlerig, Richard Aschenbrand, Lowell Tolstedt, Richard Petry, and Bruce Robinson. The list goes on and on. The environment was amazingly competitive. I came out of that experience with an incredible work ethic and the ability to think critically and conceptually. That’s the magic formula for CCAD kids.  

Your support for CCAD includes time as a trustee. Why was board service important to you?

As a trustee, I had a seat at the big table. I was able to influence the direction of the college with a really stellar group of people who genuinely cared. I learned a lot and hopefully I added value along the way.

In your work at Ologie, what have you witnessed about the changing demands on higher education and on designers and thinkers?

Higher education is experiencing a lot of challenges right now. Change is happening at lightning speed, and higher education institutions aren’t accustomed to turning the big ship that quickly. It is essential that colleges and universities adapt more easily than they are currently. They must meet the students where they are—there is no room and no time for stagnation. The designers and thinkers within and around higher education have to be courageous enough to be distinctive and tell their college’s story in breakthrough ways. 

As an employer, what are some of the in-demand skills that you see from CCAD grads?

We currently have five designers at Ologie from CCAD. CCAD graduates have the ability to generate ideas. They are conceptual thinkers and problem solvers. That’s the most valuable skill you can have.

What do you see as CCAD’s role in culture and commerce now? What about in the future?

CCAD feeds and develops the creative economy. Automation will replace many things, but it will not replace idea generation and innovation.

How has CCAD changed under Dr. Melanie Corn’s leadership?

Dr. Corn has evolved, added, recruited, and retained students, faculty, staff, programming, and curriculum. And she’s somehow made it look effortless.