08:49 AM

The Ohio State University Alumni Association names new leader

Sports marketing industry veteran James E. Smith will return to his alma mater as senior vice president of alumni relations and president and CEO of The Ohio State University Alumni Association (OSUAA), Inc. Subject to approval by the university Board of Trustees, Smith will take the reins of the association effective March 21. Andy Gurd, interim president and CEO, will return to his role as COO.

Smith, who earned his MA in sports management at Ohio State in 1991, will lead one of the largest alumni groups in the nation. With over a half-million living Ohio State alumni, the association has more than 50 societies and 200 clubs throughout the world.

“We are thrilled to welcome a talented alumnus back to Ohio and Ohio State to lead one of the country’s largest and most dynamic alumni organizations,” said university president Michael V. Drake. “As a Buckeye, he knows firsthand the incredible passion and potential of the Ohio State family.”

Smith brings some 20 years of experience in sports and entertainment marketing. In his most recent roles, he was vice president and chief marketing officer and executive vice president and chief marketing and revenue officer for The Atlanta Falcons football club, since 2004. He was president and general manager of the Columbus Crew soccer team from 2000 to 2004, and was named MLS Executive of the Year in 2001. He was associate athletic director in The Ohio State University Department of Athletics from 1995 to 2000, and director of live event programming at World Wrestling Federation from 1994 to 1995.

“Throughout his career, Jim has demonstrated a deep commitment to the communities he serves,” said senior vice president for advancement Michael Eicher. “He is the perfect leader to continue to build upon the incredible momentum of the alumni association.”

As leader of the OSUAA, Smith is charged with advancing Buckeye traditions while blazing new trails in the changing landscape of higher education's alumni engagement efforts. Engagement of alumni is a critical part of Ohio State’s advancement plan, which unites alumni relations, communications and marketing and fundraising in order to build awareness of, engagement with, and giving to the university. He will report to the university president and senior vice president of advancement and will serve as the campus leader in engagement.

“I am very pleased Jim is joining the alumni association as its president and CEO,” said Marchelle Moore, chair of the OSUAA Board of Directors. “Jim’s passion for the university along with his broad and deep leadership experience make him a wonderful addition to a stellar team!”

Smith succeeds Archie Griffin, who, after a decade of success, stepped down last year to assume a new role as senior advisor within the university’s Office of Advancement.

Smith met his wife at Ohio State and they have become “lifetime Buckeyes” together.

Watch a welcome message from Smith here.