Home » Campus » Ohio State Board of Trustees announces Les Wexner’s return, reduces Wexner Medical Center Board to ‘consultative role’

Ohio State Board of Trustees announces Les Wexner’s return, reduces Wexner Medical Center Board to ‘consultative role’

Trustee Alan Brass (left), Interim President Joseph Alutto, Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Schottenstein and Board secretary David Horn at a Board meeting Nov. 8. Credit: Chelsea Savage / Lantern photographer

Trustee Alan Brass (left), Interim President Joseph Alutto, Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Schottenstein and Board secretary David Horn at a Board meeting Nov. 8.
Credit: Chelsea Savage / Lantern photographer

Alongside Les Wexner’s return to Ohio State to chair the Wexner Medical Center Board of Trustees, the OSU Board of Trustees voted to reduce the powers previously granted to the Medical Center Board.

At its last meeting of 2013 Friday, the OSU Board unanimously supported the removal of the unilateral powers of the Medical Board after a recommendation from the Medical Center Board. It will now serve a consultative role to the OSU Board.

The Wexner Medical Center Board is comprised of up to 15 voting members, with up to five seats given to current university trustees and six seats to “public members” appointed by the Board chair in consultation with the OSU president and Board Governance committee chair. The remaining four seats are given to the OSU president, the chair of the OSU Board, the OSU chief financial officer and the senior vice president for health sciences, according to the Board of Trustees agenda.

“The updated bylaws in particular reinforce this (university) Board of Trustees as sovereign authority and fiduciary responsibility for the Medical Center,” said trustee Alex Shumate at the meeting.

The OSU Board also voiced its support for proposed Ohio House Bill 111, which would give OSU’s two student trustees voting privileges, and approved the Presidential Search Committee advisory subcommittee presidential profile, an eight-page guide meant to help potential candidates understand OSU’s important values and the qualifications needed to lead the university.

Trustee and Presidential Search Committee Chairman Jeffrey Wadsworth said while the Board knows approximately how long a public presidential search typically lasts, that doesn’t mean OSU’s will take that long.

“We did some analysis on how long it takes to find a president in an open, public search. The data tells us it’s about 300 days. We’re about 120 days in,” Wadsworth said. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to be looking for another 180, but if we find somebody in a couple of months, they may still not be able to start until the start of the academic year.”

One of the major approvals granted by the Board at its meeting was the establishment of the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute as a university affiliate. The U.S. Navy plans to grant $70 million over a five year period to one team nationally to work on educating the work force in the future of lightweight materials, according to the Board’s agenda.

The ALMMII is one of three teams nationally which have submitted a full proposal to the U.S. Navy. If selected, the collaboration between OSU, University of Michigan and the Edison Welding Institute will work to “advance the design, validation and application of such materials to quick reaction projects.”

The ALMMII team includes 45 firms in the lightweight materials industry, including companies like General Electric, Alcoa and Boeing. Other Big Ten Conference members Penn State and Purdue are two of the 17 non-industry members, according to the Board agenda.

If selected, the ALMMII will be required to match the Navy’s $70 million grant.

Trustee Algenon Marbley said some of the funds needed to match the Navy’s grant have already been donated.

“The state of Ohio has committed $10 million in support of ALMMII, primarily for workforce development,” Marbley said.

The OSU College of Engineering committed an additional $5 million in contributions, Marbley said.

Marbley said the U.S. Navy is scheduled to make the decision of who will be awarded the contract within the next few months.

“We will have a decision as to whether we are awarded the contract within the next four months or so. We are competing with a group out of South Carolina as well,” Marbley said.

Since July 1, the university has raised more than $68 million, almost one-fifth of its $390 million goal for fiscal year 2014, according to the Board agenda. That $68 million raised is about six percent higher than the amount of funds raised during the same period in 2012, going toward things including scholarships, research and facilities.

The Wexner Medical Center James Comprehensive Cancer Center has raised the most money so far for the university, bringing in almost $18 million since July 1, while the Wexner Medical Center and the College of Engineering have brought in more than $7 million each, according to the Board agenda.

The Board also accepted an approximately 387 acre property located in Pickaway County that was given to the university as a gift. With the property valued at $2.6 million, the university plans to sell the land immediately to fund an endowed scholarship for Pickaway County, to support construction for the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and to support Extension and 4-H programming.

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