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Social media, scholarship campaigns on enrollment office marketer’s mind

Pete McGinty, who graduated from OSU in 1981, became the associate vice president of marketing and strategic communication for the Office of Enrollment Services July 15. Credit: Courtesy of Pete McGinty

Pete McGinty, who graduated from OSU in 1981, became the associate vice president of marketing and strategic communication for the Office of Enrollment Services July 15.
Credit: Courtesy of Pete McGinty

Ohio State welcomed home one of its own when Pete McGinty, a 1981 alumnus, assumed responsibilities as associate vice president of marketing and strategic communication for the Office of Enrollment Services this summer.

McGinty left his post as chief marketing officer at local marketing and communications firm Fahlgren Mortine to join OSU’s staff July 15.

He said his job is to “lead the marketing and communications efforts to help recruit students” for OES, a department that reports to Provost Joseph Steinmetz and is distinct from the university’s communications division.

His team aims to showcase the opportunities and resources at OSU and in Columbus to current and prospective students.

McGinty will earn about $190,000 annually, OSU spokeswoman Liz Cook said. McGinty replaced Allen Kraus in the position, who left OSU for a job with Ologie, a Columbus brand-marketing firm that helped with the design of the OSU Department of Athletics Fawcett Center’s Buckeye theme.

McGinty has been hired to build upon the groundwork of the marketing plan laid by his predecessor, but his title is new because the position’s duties have been “expanded to include marketing and communication efforts for Ohio State’s new $100 million scholarship campaign,” Cook said in an email.

The campaign is called the Ohio Scholarship Challenge, and aims to create a full scholarship in each of the Ohio’s 88 counties and support other alumni club scholarships.

McGinty’s department plans to use electronic and print marketing, web development and social media to accomplish its goals, he said.

“We need to push the message that we’ve got strong academics, along with the fact that coming to Ohio State is a great living and learning experience,” McGinty said.

Jonathan Wlodarski, a third-year in Spanish and English, said he wouldn’t have been persuaded to attend a college based on if they reached out to him via social media.

“I would say that I probably would have been annoyed by it. I imagine it would work in favor for other people but I wouldn’t like that,” Wlodarski said.

Third-year in international studies and Spanish, Marisa Lally, though, said using social media could make a big impact on potential students.

“It does have value because today, a lot of people are involved with social media. So I think that students — especially high school students now — would feel connected to the university that way,” Lally said.

McGinty said his department will also focus on characterizing the area for out-of-state students to help them get a feel for the area.

“(We want them to) understand that Columbus is a vibrant community. There are significant opportunities for them in terms of their enrichment with a college education and also beyond,” McGinty said.

Dolan Evanovich, vice president of strategic enrollment planning, said McGinty was largely brought in to help with the Ohio Scholarship Challenge.

“We need to have someone with his (McGinty’s) experience work with our advancement team and find ways to raise more need- and merit-based aid. We want to expand our connections with the Columbus region and he can help us position Columbus in the most positive way,” Evanovich said. “We’re an economic engine for the state of Ohio, and with his vast experience, he was clearly the candidate of choice.”

Evanovich said OSU had conducted a nationwide search to fill the position and McGinty “rose to the top very quickly.”

McGinty worked for Experience Columbus, an organization that fosters city tourism, prior to his time at Fahlgren Mortine. Beginning in 2009, he led the Fahlgren Mortine project that oversaw collaboration between entities like Columbus 2020, an economic development organization that works toward goals such as adding jobs in Columbus by the year 2020, and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce to market the city’s cultural and economic offerings.

The chance to return to OSU and apply his expertise was one McGinty didn’t want to pass up, he said.

“It instantly appealed to me. I’ve remained close to the university. I’m a member of the Alumni Association. This place is in my blood. Being a part of helping the university continue on its mission is something that’s extremely exciting for me,” McGinty said.

McGinty has two stepchildren who graduated from OSU, as well as two children who he said he hopes “will soon be on their way to attending OSU.”

McGinty said the transition to his new job has brought him back to his college days.

“In many ways, I feel like a student again. My eyes and ears are wide open. I’m in an absorbing phase and a learning phase,” McGinty said. “I’m not ashamed to say that. What better place to be than in a position to have to learn and grow and be challenged in all of the best ways?”

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