Ohio State announced Tuesday that it has chosen Blake Thompson as the university’s next vice president for government affairs.
Thompson, who currently serves as secretary of the Board of Trustees, joined OSU in 2009 as the vice president for institutional affairs at both OSU and Battelle, an international nonprofit research organization based in Columbus.
In addition to teaching public policy and nonprofit leadership at OSU’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Thompson has also assisted in the establishment of the Center for Science and Technology Policy, a policy center in the school that is endowed by Battelle. Thompson also helped create the Wexner Medical Center Board, and assisted in providing staff support for the presidential search committee. He also served on the presidential transition team, according to a university press release.
As vice president, Thompson will work within the OSU Office of Government Affairs to bolster relationships between the university and federal, state and local government officials. The Office of Government Affairs works with all levels of government on legislative, budget, economic and community-building issues, the release said.
The university has been looking for someone to fill this position since January, when Herb Asher, a professor emeritus of political science, retired after more than 30 years of working closely with OSU presidents.
According to university salary data from calendar year 2013, Asher made a base salary of $236,385 while working as vice president for economic and workforce development and special assistant to the president.
Although Thompson, who has a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Mississippi, has an academic background based in science and research, he has previously worked with and for the government at multiple levels.
Prior to taking a job at OSU, Thompson served as director of university partnerships for Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Before that, Thompson held the position of Republican Deputy Staff Director of the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, the release said. He also served on the staff of Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran as legislative director.
In the release, OSU President Michael Drake said he thinks Thompson is “well-positioned to make a smooth transition” into his new job at the university.
Thompson is set assume the role of vice president for government affairs “pending Board of Trustees approval,” the release said.