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Dennison W. Griffith announces retirement as CCAD president

Anne Evans Anne Evans Dennison W. Griffith announces retirement as CCAD presidentPhoto courtesy Columbus College of Art & Design.
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Today, Dennison W. Griffith announced his retirement as president of the Columbus College of Art & Design, a role he has held since 1998. He will retire at the end of his current contract, which runs through June 30, 2014.

“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 announcing his decision to CCAD faculty and staff today. “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.”

Griffith recently had a showing of his artwork, a new series of encaustic paintings that are predominately white, entitled The White Paintings at the Hammond Harkins Galleries.

The search for a new president for the college will be headed 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 understated,” says Restrepo. “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. We’re clearly better for his leadership. On behalf of the board, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Denny for his commitment to CCAD and our community.”

A few of the achievements realized under Griffith’s leadership include: doubling the size of the CCAD campus facilities with the addition of 275,000 square feet of studio, classroom, and residential assets; launching a Masters of Fine Arts program; and embarking on designing a new curricular model and master schedule through a forward-looking mix of business education with innovative and design education to launch fall of 2014.

“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,” Griffith said today in his communication to the 330 faculty and staff of CCAD. “CCAD is in my heart forever.”

For more information, visit CCAD.edu.

Photo courtesy Columbus College of Art & Design.

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  • lizless

    Wow, this is a such sad time for both CCAD and OSU losing such talented and beloved leaders.

    Thanks, Denny, we’ll miss you.

  • susank

    I think this is a good move by him for CCAD. He has served for 15 years and done a good job. The art world and careers in art related fields have changed dramatically in that time and I feel that bringing new vision is important for the future success of the students.

  • tobyb

    Hopefully the future president of CCAD will endeavor to tackle the bloated costs of an Arts education.


    Current estimated total 4 year cost (not including tuition increases): $158,048

    example student loan:

    Monthly Payment: $1,066.79

    Amount Borrowed: $92,700.00
    Interest Rate: 6.8%
    Term: 10 years
    Number of Monthly Payments: 120
    Total Interest Cost: $35,315.36
    Total of All Payments: $128,015.36

    Using these parameters, a post graduation salary of $128,015.36 is recommended to afford the $1,066.79 monthly payment (10%) in the example loan modeled above. This assumes a loan payback over 10 years. You can change the terms of the loan using the student loan calculator below.

    I plugged in the same amount with a 20 year repayment:

    Under these parameters you would need a post graduation salary of $84,913.89 to afford the $707.62 monthly payment in the loan modeled above.

    Finally with a 30 year repayment:

    Under these parameters you would need a post graduation salary of $72,520.16 to afford the $604.33 monthly payment in the loan modeled above.

  • bucki12

    I know a bunch of CCAD graduates but I don’t think any of them were making anywhere near those salaries on graduation. Just getting a paying job in something art related seemed like a major hurdle. That is something that might need some more focus.

  • mrpoppinzs

    I would say that sustainability of the current educational model is probably the most pressing thing and one that will be the legacy to the next president. It is not something unique to CCAD but the debt to expected salary ratio seems especially sobering in those fields. Maybe people see the education market as too big to fail? It appears the burden is mostly landing on the students without a realistic return.

  • RhondaH

    Those are some scary numbers.

  • artGrad

    I feel the need to defend my Alma Mater! Most students at CCAD receive academic/portfolio based scholarships from the college itself. CCAD is a non-profit institution.

    I chose to attend CCAD because tuition was MUCH cheaper than an equivalent east coast arts college and offered the largest scholarships. ( The college does give out the occasional full tuition scholarship, though I didn’t get one. ) My debt when I graduated was 17K, I attended 4 1/2 years of school and graduated in 2009. I found a job in a field related to my studies immediately through CCAD’s annual Directions career fair and now lead a comfortable life. My major was Media Studies ( photography, video, animation, + some random digital art type classes ).

    While I recognize that other students will exit the college with more (or less!) debt than I did, I think the numbers tobyb quoted from collegecalc.org are a worst case scenario, and a little over-dramatic. That said, if you don’t get a decent scholarship + federal grants, you might consider attending a cheaper college.

    President Griffith is a very friendly and charismatic man. He, and a few other members of the administration, made it a point to know every student by name and would happily say hello whenever they saw one. He was an incredible fund-raiser for the school and I’m sure he will be missed.

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