Michael C. Eicher
Senior Vice President and President of The Ohio State University Foundation
Just before Mike Eicher came to work here, he joined a popular bike ride across a nearby Midwestern state. On one leg of his trip, he slipped on an Ohio State jersey that then-president Gordon Gee had given him.
Soon, strangers began shouting at him.
Mike waved. He smiled.
He was quickly learning that he had joined a massive family, one that spans that globe – and one that has a distinct way of identifying its members.
A graduate of the University of California, San Diego, Mike began his career in higher education at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he rose from associate director of development in the School of Medicine to deputy director and director, and from there to vice provost for medical science development, then assistant and associate vice chancellor. Under his leadership as vice chancellor, Campaign UCLA, a 10-year effort completed in 2005, raised $3.05 billion.
Prior to joining Ohio State, Mike served for six years as senior vice president for external affairs and development at Johns Hopkins University, where he led the Johns Hopkins: Knowledge for the World Campaign. That effort focused on student aid and faculty support, construction of clinical buildings at the medical campus and important renovation projects. It closed in 2008 with commitments of more than $3.7 billion.
Mike returned to a public university because he believes in its noble mission and great power. He joined Ohio State in fall 2012 as senior vice president for Advancement and president of The Ohio State University Foundation. Building on his goal to inspire people to choose Ohio State – for their education, medical care, research support, entertainment and more – he has set out to share the university’s most compelling stories, engage more than half a million alumni, and expand private philanthropy to support Ohio State’s core priorities.
“There are a lot of people talking about Ohio State. Our ambitions are growing, our confidence is growing,” he said. “We are setting big, audacious goals for ourselves.”
Under Mike’s direction, Ohio State streamlined and integrated its communications and marketing, alumni relations and fundraising teams. He led the But for Ohio State Campaign, which raised over $3 billion from more than 750,000 donors and became the university’s most successful fundraising effort ever. His expectations for the university continue to soar.
Now, of course, he is a full-fledged Buckeye, one who knows exactly what to say when someone shouts “O-H!” (For the record: “I-O!” with boundless enthusiasm.) He has taken part in the call-and-response more times than he can count, in more places than he ever expected.
“It’s everywhere you go,” he said, “and it is wonderful.”