Ohio State Alumni Association president and CEO Jim Smith will step down from his role in April. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Alumni Association president and CEO Jim Smith will step down from his role later this year, citing a need to be closer to family. 

Smith, an Ohio State alumnus, has led the association since 2016 and will continue his role through April 1, according to a Friday Ohio State news release. 

“My definition of family has grown significantly the last few years to include more than 570,000 of my fellow alumni,” Smith said in the release. “But as my parents have gotten older, their needs have changed, and I need to be closer to them and the rest of my family in Atlanta.”

The university will launch a national search to find Smith’s replacement, according to the release.

Katy Endsley, vice chair of the alumni board, will lead the search committee for the next Alumni Association president and CEO, Ben Johnson, university spokesperson, said.

Some of Smith’s top priorities in his role were affordability initiatives for students and enhanced outreach to recent graduates, the release states. The association awarded more than $310,000 in scholarships to nearly 50 students during Smith’s tenure. 

The association has more than 50 societies and 125 clubs throughout the world and those groups awarded nearly $4.5 million in scholarships to almost 2,700 students during Smith’s time, according to the release.

“Jim is a true Buckeye, through and through. He is 100% authentic, and he’s done an exceptional job advocating for our alumni and Buckeye Nation,” University President Michael V. Drake said in the release. “We are thankful for his service and know that he will continue to be a prominent and active member of the Buckeye family.”

Smith’s departure is completely unrelated to the investigation regarding sexual harassment allegations against William White and White’s subsequent resignation, Johnson said. 

White is a former Alumni Association ambassador, former director of communication and corporate engagement for the College of Engineering and former Ohio State football player whose last day in the office was Feb. 22, 2019, before leaving the payroll Aug. 10, 2019.  

A complaint was filed in April 2019 accusing Smith and David Williams, College of Engineering dean, of interfering with the investigation.  

However, the report found that although Williams and Smith raised “strong concerns about the process and intended outcome of the investigation,” there was no evidence to suggest interference.