University Leadership & Board of Trustees

Officers of the University 2021-22
Chair of the Board Cheryl Herbert
Vice Chair William E. Harrell, Jr. ’94
Secretary Alan Waterhouse ’82
Assistant Secretary Theresa Harris
President of the University John Comerford, Ph.D.
CFO/Vice President for Business Affairs Susan Bolt
Executive Committee 2021 – 22
Chair of the Board Cheryl Herbert
Vice Chair William E. Harrell, Jr. ’94
Secretary Alan Waterhouse ’82
Assistant Secretary Theresa Harris
President of the University John Comerford, Ph.D.
Audit & Risk Management Committee K. Christopher Kaiser `77
Enrollment & Advancement Committee Lisa Hinson P`17
Financial Resources Peter Bible ’80
Governance Committee David Fisher ’75
Student Success Committee James Francis ’71

University President

Comerford

John Comerford

President


John Comerford is a member of Otterbein's Experts Bureau. To speak with an expert, please contact Director of Communications Jenny Hill at jhill@otterbein.edu or 614-370-3221. Expert Profile 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…

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President's Cabinet 2021 - 22

Erin Bender

Erin Bender

Executive Director of The Point


Erin Bender is founding Executive Director of The Point at Otterbein University - a new collaboration, education and innovation center made possible by public officials at all levels of government, local business and community leaders, public schools, and creative faculty and students at Otterbein. It's offers student-centered collaboration and cross-disciplinary, high-impact learning that bridges learning with doing, students with professionals, in one shared space at 60 Collegeview Road, west of Otterbein's main campus. It is a conduit between abstract learning and concrete practice,…

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Jefferson Blackburn Smith

Jefferson Blackburn-Smith

Vice President of Enrollment Management


Jefferson Blackburn-Smith is a member of Otterbein's Experts Bureau. To speak with an expert, please contact Director of Communications Jenny Hill at jhill@otterbein.edu or 614-370-3221. Expert Profile Jefferson Blackburn-Smith assumed his position as vice president of enrollment management on March 1, 2012. He came to Otterbein from The Ohio State University, where he was the senior associate director of undergraduate admission and first year experience for seven years. Blackburn-Smith joined the Office of Undergraduate Admission and First Year Experience at…

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Susan Bolt

Susan Bolt

CFO and Vice President for Business Affairs


Susan most recently served as Vice President for Finance and Administration at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana from 2013 – 2018.  She is a senior-level executive with extensive finance, administration, and investment management experience as well as a strong background in higher education business services.  Susan comes to Otterbein with a B.A. in Business Administration as an accounting major from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Hartford with a concentration in finance.

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Wendy Sherman Heckler

Wendy Sherman Heckler

Provost & Senior Vice President


Wendy R. Sherman Heckler began her career at Otterbein University as an Associate Professor of Science Education in 2007, and served as Director of Graduate Programs in Education from 2009 to 2012. She was Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of University Programs from 2012 to 2017. Sherman Heckler has taught courses in science teaching methods for pre-service and in-service teachers; master’s-level research methods; current issues in education; physical science; life science; integrative studies (energy and society); and…

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Mike McGreevy

Michael McGreevey

Vice President for Institutional Advancement


Michael McGreevey joined Otterbein as vice president for institutional advancement on Oct. 19, 2015. He came to Otterbein from Wells College in Aurora, NY, where he served as vice president for advancement since 2008. McGreevey brings with him more than 25 years of experience in higher education administration within advancement, alumni relations, international education, enrollment and student affairs. As vice president for advancement at Wells College, McGreevey developed a full service advancement program and led the planning and implementation of…

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Willie Neumann Headshot

Willie Neumann

Chief Information Officer


Willie Neumann joined Otterbein in February 2019 as the Chief Information Officer of Information Technology Services.  He came to us on a contract basis as the Interim Executive Director of Information Technology Services in August 2019. Neumann has been a Contract Chief Information Officer for over 20 years.  As a business owner, C level executive and a startup mentor, he understands the importance of cooperation and collaboration.  His experience in Financial, Securities, e-commerce, Insurance, Healthcare and software development, makes for…

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Dawn Stewart

Dawn Stewart

Vice President for Student Affairs & Director of Athletics


Dawn Stewart enters her eighth year at her alma mater after being hired as the Director of Athletics in April of 2012, when Otterbein conducted a national search that netted over 100 applicants vying for the position. She has served in that role ever since and, most recently, was promoted to Interim Vice President for Student Affairs for the 2019-20 school year. Stewart, coming to Otterbein after spending four years as Director of Athletics at nearby Capital University, holds 20-plus…

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Board of Trustees 2021 - 22

Peter Bible `80


Peter Bible is EisnerAmper LLP’s Chief Risk Officer and is responsible for risk management, SEC services, strategic thought leadership, regulatory relations and inspection groups. He works closely with the Professional Practice Group to assure compliance with the Audit and Assurance Practice’s quality control policies. Peter also consults with clients on difficult and complex accounting and financial reporting issues. As a leader in the Public Companies Group, Peter also aids the firm’s efforts in meeting the business and regulatory needs of…

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April Casperson `03


Rev. April Casperson serves as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church. She is an ordained deacon passionate about diversity and inclusion, vocational discernment, and the organizations and systems that recruit, educate and equip leaders for thoughtful, intentional ministry. Rev. Casperson previously served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Methodist Theological School in Ohio.    Rev. Casperson has completed doctoral coursework in higher education administration from Ohio University. She has completed a Master of Divinity and a…

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John Comerford

President


John Comerford is a member of Otterbein's Experts Bureau. To speak with an expert, please contact Director of Communications Jenny Hill at jhill@otterbein.edu or 614-370-3221. Expert Profile 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…

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Deborah E. Currin `67


Deborah Ewell Currin earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Otterbein with a major in elementary education and a minor in art. She has owned and operated Future Antiques, Inc. since 1985. Currin is an artist whose works have been published in Better Homes and Gardens and Good Housekeeping magazines. She has also done design work for American Greetings Corporation. Currin was named Volunteer of the Year in 1995 by former Ohio Governor George Voinovich. Currin is a certified parenting…

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Talisa Dixon


Dr. Talisa Dixon is in her third year as the Superintendent and Chief Executive Officer of Columbus City Schools. She began her tenure in March 2019 after five years leading the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District in Northeast Ohio. Dr. Dixon previously spent nine years as an administrator in Columbus City Schools from 2001-10. She served six years combined as the principal at Brookhaven High School and at Columbus Alternative High School. She began her career in public education…

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David W. Fisher `75


David W. Fisher is vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of Wesley Family Services (formerly the United Methodist Children’s Home) in Worthington, Ohio, and a member of the law firm, Kephart Fisher, LLC, based in Columbus. A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, Fisher graduated from Otterbein in 1975 with a degree in philosophy and theology. After college, he did graduate work at Candler School of Theology at Emory University before attending law school at Northern Kentucky University. Since earning…

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James L. Francis `71


Jim Francis earned his bachelor's degree in education from Otterbein and his master's degree in counseling from Cleveland State University. He is a retired human resources executive with over 20 years of service as vice president of human resources at BFGoodrich Specialty Chemicals and the Swagelok Company. He is currently the president of J&L Fran Enterprises, a leadership consulting business. Jim has been a member of the board of trustees for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for over twenty years.…

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Daniel Gifford `88


Daniel C. Gifford, CPA (Inactive) graduated from Otterbein University in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Dan started his career at KPMG where he worked for over ten years and has held various accounting related roles in industry since leaving public accounting. Currently, he is the chief financial officer of Bold Penguin where he serves on the senior leadership team and is responsible for accounting, finance and M&A due diligence. Gifford has served on the Otterbein University Alumni Council…

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William E. Harrell, Jr. `94


William “Eddie” Harrell Jr. earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Otterbein University in 1994 and his master’s degree in business administration from Ashland University. He is the Regional Vice President of all Radio One Markets in Ohio, inclusive of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. Prior to becoming Regional Vice President, Mr. Harrell served as Vice President and General Manager of the Cleveland market from 2014 to 2015 after leading the Columbus market from 2011 to 2013. Mr. Harrell was…

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Theresa Harris


Theresa Harris, President and Founder of TMH Solutions, has more than 30 years of progressively responsible experience in Management and Information Technology. TMH Solutions, LLC is a certified women and minority owned and managed company working to collaborate with her customers and strategic partners to deliver high quality, cost effective solutions. Prior to establishing TMH Solutions, Theresa was Application Sales Manager for Public Sector for Oracle in the States of Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. During her years in the IT…

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Cheryl L. Herbert


Cheryl Herbert has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Her career began at St. Ann’s Hospital in Westerville. In 1990, she joined the staff at MedCenter Hospital in Marion, Ohio, as director of continued care services. By 1997, she was named president of the hospital. Herbert joined the OhioHealth system in 1998 as vice president of Marion General Hospital. In 2000, she became president of Morrow County Hospital and in 2004, she was hired to oversee the…

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Gregory S. Jordan


Greg began his career at Nationwide in 2001 and has served in several Business and Finance leadership roles. Greg is currently, Senior Vice President & Chief Audit Executive, and is responsible for overseeing the Nationwide's Office of Internal Audit activities. In this role, Greg is responsible for reviewing and communicating the results of internal audit work and serves as a business partner and strategic advisor on various business cabinets. Greg previously held the positions of Vice President and Chief Financial…

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K. Christopher Kaiser `77


Chris Kaiser earned his bachelor’s degree in 1977 from Otterbein University in business administration with a concentration in accounting. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1979 and worked for Deloitte, an international auditing and consulting firm for 15 years. Kaiser, who retired in 2016, was the Chief Operating Officer for OSU Surgery, LLC, a multi-specialty surgical practice that provides business and management services to more than 100 doctors affiliated with The Ohio State University. He joined this organization in…

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Elijah McCutcheon `22


Elijah McCutcheon ‘22, a Columbus, Ohio native. Is currently pursuing his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science. During this time Elijah is involved in various ways on campus. He currently serves as the President of Men of Vision a diversity organization at Otterbein working to promote leadership and brotherhood, amongst Otterbein Students. He also serves as Secretary for The African American Student Union. Elijah believes in working to make a difference in whatever level he is at and apart of that…

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Nevalyn Fritsche Nevil `71


Nevalyn Fritsche Nevil originally began her college career at Florida State University in 1966. She finished her freshman year, but then transferred to Otterbein in her hometown of Westerville. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology and went on to earn her master’s degree in counseling psychology at The Ohio State University in 1978. She began her career at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center, where she helped develop several books focused on helping people with psychological disorders.…

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Melinda Phinney `85


Melinda (Mindy) Phinney earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Otterbein in 1985. She then furthered her education at Medical College of Ohio at Toledo where she received an MD degree. She completed medical training in Internal Medicine at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio, where she also served as Chief Resident of Internal medicine. She obtained specialty training in Nephrology at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. Melinda has published articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and has written two book…

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Rebecca C. Princehorn `78


Rebecca Princehorn graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Otterbein University in 1978 with honors. She also holds a juris doctorate and a master of public administration from the University of Kansas. She is a partner of the public finance group at Bricker & Eckler, LLP. She is listed in the Best Lawyers in America (Education Law - 2014). She is a member of the Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys, the Worthington Community Improvement Corporation, and the…

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Joan Rocks

Professor, Department Chair, Athletic Training Program Director


Although Joan has over 32 years of athletic training experience, her entire career has been focused on teaching and striving to be an effective educator. Her “biography” is therefore based on her teaching journey. It is Joan's educational belief that any instructor must establish the building blocks that create a strong foundation in the student’s learning processes. The basic building blocks that are taught at a young age include, trust, loyalty, friendship, and the ability to focus on future goals,…

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Brant O. Smith `95


Brant Smith is President and General Manager of Waltek & Co., Ltd in Cincinnati, Ohio with another office in Nashville, Tennessee. Waltek & Co. specializes in custom curtainwall applications for high rise commercial projects, structural glass, glass flooring, cable wall systems, glass/steel canopies, and all types of ornamental metal work/glass handrails. The company, started by Brant’s father, has a reputation for exceptionally prompt delivery on quality wall systems, custom ornamental metals, distinctive glass and aluminum handrails, and individually designed and…

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Kathryn Stephens `97


Kathryn Stephens graduated from Otterbein University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and since graduating has proven herself a natural born leader.  Over the past decade Kathryn has worked for nonprofit organizations dedicated to exceptional causes and communities.  She served as the Executive Director for Walk with a Doc, an organization encouraging people to get moving and to get healthy by walking with physicians and providers.  Kathryn served as the Director of Philanthropy for Susan G. Komen Columbus, an…

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Hannah Sturgeon `23


Hannah Sturgeon ‘23 is from Granville, Ohio pursuing three Bachelor’s of Arts Degrees in Political Science, Environmental Science, and Sustainability Studies. She has previously served as a 2nd-year class senator in OUSG and has worked on the executive board of the ALDPES honor society as the Community Service Chair. She was also the PR Chair of the Cardinal CorpsLeaders prior to being elected to serve as the organization’s Vice President. Finally, she co-leads the student voter registration and education group…

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John Tansey

Professor


John Tansey has been a faculty member at Otterbein since 2002. He has taught courses ranging from the more general (General Chemistry, Survey of Organic and Biochemistry) to more specific (Advanced Biochemistry). He has also taught in the Nursing department and Integrative Studies, and Honors programs. He was awarded the ‘Best New Teacher’ award in 2004. He currently serves as the Director of the interdisciplinary program in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB). John is a graduate of the University of…

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Alan Varrasso `11


Chief Technology Officer, JPMorgan Chase After completing his bachelor’s degree at Marietta College in 1996, Alan Varrasso established his career with Verizon. During his nearly 20 years with Verizon, Alan completed his MBA at Otterbein before joining JPMorgan Chase in 2012. Currently the Chief Technology Officer, Alan leads technology delivery to more than 5,000 branches and 16,000 ATMs. Through his role, he also provides support for 2.5 million small business customers and Chase’s auto loans and leases portfolio.

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Alan Waterhouse `82


Alan Waterhouse served as the first president and CEO of Asteres, Inc., a start-up firm in San Diego which commercialized a system to store and deliver finished prescriptions to consumers in a retail pharmacy. Prior to joining Asteres, Inc., Waterhouse was president of Cardinal Health’s Packaging Services division. He came to that position from Pyxis Corporation where he was executive vice president of manufacturing/operations. Before joining Pyxis, Waterhouse held several senior management positions in manufacturing and operations with General Motors…

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