Courtesy of OSU
Leaving Ohio State to go work for a nonprofit organization seemed “logical” for Tom Katzenmeyer.
After all, he has spent the last 20 years helping raise money for nonprofits.
Katzenmeyer, senior vice president of University Communications, was appointed president of the Greater Columbus Arts Council earlier this month.
“It’s sort of the one central arts agency, and for me it made a lot of sense,” Katzenmeyer said. “I’ve spent a lot of time over the last several years on community-related activities.”
Current President Milt Baughman said the GCAC is a grant-making organization funded primarily by the city of Columbus. It sponsors art organizations and individual artists and hosts events such as the Columbus Arts Festival, which is held every year in June.
Baughman plans to retire later this year, but not before he’s helped Katzenmeyer make a smooth transition. He doesn’t think that will be a problem because Katzenmeyer knows what a draw Columbus’ diverse arts community can be.
“Tom is just a terrific successor from my perspective because he’s always been a strong advocate for arts,” Baughman said. “He also knows how to tell the story of economic vitality for the city.”
Alex Fischer is CEO and president of Columbus Partnership, which he said works with the GCAC on aspects from programming to fundraising to sponsorship, and with OSU on aspects such as community outreach.
Fischer said he has worked with Katzenmeyer consistently in his role at OSU and thinks he’ll be a natural fit as the GCAC president.
“It will be a very natural collaboration to have Tom leading the arts organizations not only based on our work historically with GCAC, but candidly our close relations with Tom over the years,” he said. “Tom is probably the most active member of the university senior leadership team that is involved in the university. So much of our interaction has occurred through his community work on behalf of the university.”
Katzenmeyer, who has been with OSU for about five years, said he already knows what he can bring to the table at the GCAC – more resources and new innovative ideas.
“That’s really gonna be hopefully my hallmark once I get over there this spring,” he said. “I really wanna bring more resources to bear.”
He also said he hopes to start an internship program with GCAC, so students can benefit, gather more public and private support and increase collaboration among arts institutions and organizations.
Baughman has been president for about three and a half years, and after he indicated that this would be his last year, the GCAC board approached Katzenmeyer about taking the reigns, he said.
Katzenmeyer does not yet have a start date at the GCAC, but he plans on making the move this spring. Baughman said he plans on staying through the fall.
Katzenmeyer said he’s not sure who will replace him or when that search will begin, but Fischer acknowledged how hard it will be to replace someone like him.
“Ohio State has benefited from Tom’s passion and experiences, and any time a leader of Tom’s caliber leaves, it’s tough to replace them,” he said.
The announcement of Katzenmeyer’s departure came about two months after former university spokesman Jim Lynch left OSU to be special assistant to the director for budget communications at the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.
Katzenmeyer earned his master’s in journalism from OSU in 1977, although he was never a practicing journalist. He started out in politics then moved to the corporate side. He has also worked with nonprofits throughout his career.
About seven years ago, while Katzenmeyer was working with the Limited Brands, he taught media ethics courses at OSU, an experience he still hopes to repeat someday.
“I do intend to teach again. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done at the university,” he said. “I definitely hope to be back on campus teaching.”
Since Katzenmeyer’s contract has not been finalized, his salary was not available. In 2010, however, he made $336,000 in his position at OSU.