Thresher Leaves Legacy of Leadership

After serving 21 years as a member of the Otterbein University Board of Trustees, with eight of those as chair, Mark Thresher ’78 has retired. He leaves behind a legacy of impact for generations of students and employees to come.

“My wife, Debbie ’77, and I always had a focus on education. Being on the board of Otterbein provided us the opportunity to extend our interest to a different group of kids,” said Thresher. “Since myself, my wife, our daughter, and son-in-law are all alumni, it was the right place for us to give back.”

Thresher joined the board as a respected leader in the central Ohio business community. His connections and experience helped facilitate the development of The Point, which has transformed the University’s ability to recruit and retain students. This, in turn, helped give space and inspiration to a new Department of Engineering and provide robust on-campus experiential learning opportunities. These new additions to campus are some of his proudest accomplishments.

“Mark was always a champion for new ideas and possibilities,” said President Emerita Kathy Krendl. “He was consistently supportive of the work and innovations Otterbein wanted to accomplish. His expertise was a major factor in securing the future of the institution.”

In addition to The Point, Thresher was also on the steering committee for the Clements Recreation and Fitness Center and supported building and renovation projects for the Art and Communication Building, Shear-McFadden Science Center, Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science, Memorial Stadium, new track and turf, and two residence halls.

Thresher has been a key part in aligning Otterbein’s academic offerings with evolving market demands through the introduction of new programs. During his tenure, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, Zoo and Conservation Science, and Engineering programs were all established, giving Otterbein students new avenues towards a successful post-graduation life and career.

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“Mark’s best talent is that it isn’t about him,” said President Emeritus Brent DeVore. “He is first and foremost on the side helping our campus community achieve the ultimate goal of student success. He puts his ego in his pocket and provides much needed guidance.”

Current Otterbein President John Comerford has felt fortunate to have Thresher as board chair. “Mark has a remarkable legacy at Otterbein. His time on the Board has been hugely impactful. Everyone has benefited from Mark’s passion for Otterbein and unique ability to lead boldly and collaboratively,” he said.

“My hope is that every graduate leaves Otterbein on the path to make a difference in the world,” Thresher said.

Thresher has no doubt that his successor to board chair, Cheryl Herbert, will continue to grow Otterbein along with the success of Cardinals of the future.

Otterbein University would like to welcome the newest members to the Board:

Rev. April Casperson ’03, director, diversity and inclusion, Connectional Ministries, United Methodist Church West Ohio Conference
Dr. Talisa Dixon, superintendent of Columbus City Schools
Greg Jordan, senior vice president and chief audit executive, Nationwide
Kathryn Stephens ’97, executive vice president, marketing and development, at The Buckeye Ranch (Alumni Council trustee)
Hannah Sturgeon ’23, student trustee
John Tansey, Ph.D., professor, Department of Chemistry (faculty trustee)

Otterbein would like to thank the following Board of Trustees members for their service. We are grateful for the leadership and commitment they shared with the University.

Rev. Larry Brown ’80
Jocelyn Curry ’78
Joan Esson, Ph.D.
Meredith Marshall ’21

Herbert Steps Up as First Female Chair

Succeeding Thresher as chair of the Otterbein Board of Trustees is Cheryl L. Herbert, the first female to hold that role at the University. Herbert served as the vice chair under Thresher.

“I’m honored to be the next chair of the Board of Trustees,” Herbert said. “Chair Thresher has left a big legacy to live up to, but I’m ready to take on that challenge and help position Otterbein for continued and future success.”

Comerford said Herbert is poised for success in her new position. “Cheryl has shown true engagement as a board member, committee chair, and vice chair. She has been, and will continue to be, an excellent leader for Otterbein,” he said.

Herbert has over 30 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She is a nurse whose career began at St. Ann’s Hospital before it moved to Westerville. She has held executive administrative positions at multiple hospitals and now serves as a senior vice president at OhioHealth.

Herbert earned her bachelor’s degree from Capital University and master’s degree in business administration from Ashland University. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, has served on numerous community Boards, and works as a volunteer in her community.

“I’m excited to see the directions Cheryl will take the University,” said Thresher.

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