A familiar face at Spring Commencement
Zimpher receives Ohio State’s Distinguished Service Award
A three-time graduate and former dean at Ohio State, Nancy L. Zimpher was honored at the 2015 Spring Commencement, May 10, 2015, in Ohio Stadium. She received the university's Distinguished Service Award for her commitment to teacher preparation, urban education and university-community engagement
Zimpher, a nationally recognized leader in higher education administration, has many ties to the college.
After earning her undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees at Ohio State, Zimpher devoted more than two decades of service to the university’s College of Education. For 14 years, she was a faculty member in the School of Educational Policy and Leadership and held several vital positions before becoming dean of the College of Education in 1993 and executive dean of the professional colleges in 1994.
As dean, she successfully reorganized the College of Education into three schools and transitioned the teacher preparation programs from undergraduate to graduate level. This dramatic change led to higher admission standards, stronger placement records and heightened visibility for the college.
She was instrumental in the creation of Ohio State’s first Academic Plan, the formation of the Younkin Success Center and the establishment of Campus Partners and its activities related to the university’s development work with the city of Columbus. She also served on many University Senate and ad hoc committees, most notably the senate fiscal and provost search committees.
Since leaving Ohio State in 1998, Zimpher has become the first woman to serve as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, president of the University of Cincinnati and as the current chancellor of the State University of New York – the nation’s largest comprehensive system of higher education.
She is the co-founder of Strive Together in Cincinnati, a national model for fostering collaborations between universities and communities to promote student success throughout the education continuum. She remains active in numerous other organizations, including the National Association of System Heads and the American Council on Education. She also has chaired boards for the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, CEOs for Cities and the NCAA.