It had not been legal for one president to preside over both institutions in the past, due in part to conflicts of interest that could be caused by the management of public and private funds under one umbrella. However, Ohio House Bill 1, the budget bill passed by the Ohio General Assembly in July, included legislation that allows one president to preside over both institutions
The University of Rio Grande Board of Trustees and the Rio Grande Community College Board of Trustees both voted at their meetings on Thursday, Aug. 27 to approve Gellman-Danley as the president.
Don Wood, interim president of the university, will return to his position as chair of the URG Board of Trustees when Gellman-Danley takes over as president on Oct. 1. Dr. Herman Koby, president of the community college will “resume his retirement,” according to the press release.
Gellman-Danley previously served as the coordinating officer for both the university and community college for 15 months. A position created by Ohio Chancellor Eric Fingerhut in an attempt to increase collaboration at Rio Grande.
Gellman-Danley currently serves as the vice chancellor for academic affairs and system integration for the Ohio Board of Regents. She previously served as the president of Antioch University McGregor, an adult-learning private university that offers bachelors degree completion and graduate degrees in Yellow Springs. As president, she worked closely with the local region to raise the funds needed to enable the building of a new campus facility and to increase enrollment through partnerships with local community colleges and businesses.
Fingerhut said he is pleased now to see Gellman-Danley selected as the next president at Rio Grande.
“Dr. Gellman-Danley is a remarkable leader in higher education. She has played a significant role in positioning the University System of Ohio to drive the state’s economy,” Fingerhut said. “I look forward to working with Dr. Gellman-Danley to provide more affordable options for higher education in southeast Ohio. The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College are truly fortunate to have a president with her talent and vision.”
In addition to her work with the Ohio Board of Regents and as president of Antioch University McGregor, Gellman-Danley has 15 years of experience in community college leadership in New York and Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, she served as the vice chancellor for educational outreach for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. At Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y., she served as the vice president for educational technology and as the vice president for institutional advancement.
Gellman-Danley has experience in distance learning and educational technology, holding leadership positions with the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority and Cox Cable Communications in Oklahoma City, Okla. She also served as a consultant for more than 20 community colleges on strategic planning, technology, administrative structure and on-line learning.
“I am honored to be offered the presidency of Rio Grande Community College and the University of Rio Grande. I naturally have mixed feelings about leaving the Ohio Board of Regents at this time, as Chancellor Fingerhut is leading a transformational change for higher education in the state. I hope I can help that agenda in the field now, and find this a very important time to become the new president of one Rio,” Gellman-Danley said. “This is a beautiful campus in a very special place in Ohio, and the opportunities are endless. With a very strong faculty and staff already in place, we can work together with our county leaders to meet the challenging needs of the economic downturn and offer the single best solution to improving the financial well-being of the region and the individual. That solution is education.”
Gellman-Danley said one of her main goals will be to help Rio Grande move towards a shared vision that includes providing a variety of educational pathways for the learners of today and the future.
“Rio is in an ideal position to bring students into post-secondary education through the community college and move toward degree completion and graduate programs at the university level. I hope to engage community leaders from all four counties and beyond to build relationships that will empower and sustain Rio for many years,” Gellman-Danley said. “Community engagement is critical — for both the leadership and ours students. It is a beautiful part of the state and country — we need to continue to build programs that attract individuals from the region and those coming to us from other parts of the state and nation. We have to find new ways to serve adult learners and those finding themselves in need of continuous re-tooling due to changes in the economy and their jobs. Above all, we have to do this with quality that continues to cement our reputation internationally.”
Gellman-Danley earned a bachelor’s degree in speech-english education from Syracuse University, a master’s in library science from Simmons College, an MBA in marketing from Oklahoma City University and a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Oklahoma. She also has completed extensive post-doctoral work, including a graduate certificate program in advanced information technology from New York University.
Gellman-Danley is married to William E. Danley, who is a teacher with a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and has four children — three grown and one entering his senior year at Ohio State University.