Justin Fincher, Ph.D.
Vice President, Advancement Strategy and Administration
Having a father in the Navy meant Justin Fincher was on the move. Constantly. His childhood was filled with new cities, new schools and new homes – from California to Virginia, rural Tennessee to urban Long Island. The shifting settings taught him a valuable skill.
“I can survey an environment very quickly,” he said. “And I try to quickly build relationships with the best people to help navigate that environment.”
Justin is Ohio State's first-ever Vice President for Advancement, Strategy and Administration. In addition to campaign planning and operations, he oversees a team of more than 115 in prospect development, donor experience, Foundation Board and volunteer management, communications, human resources, business intelligence, information technology and records. His goal is to build and steward lasting, meaningful relationships within the university and among its donors, alumni and constituents.
Justin came to Ohio State in 2013 after holding leadership roles at Johns Hopkins University and Rutgers University.
His plan to become a pediatrician quickly changed after he arrived at Rutgers as a student. He was captivated by the diverse and rewarding environment of higher education – a place where people were passionate about the development and success of others. The Navy kid finally felt at home. He earned his master’s degree in college student personnel at the University of Maryland-College Park, and received his doctorate degree there after completing a large quantitative study in its higher education administration program.
Through his graduate work in counseling, Justin became fascinated with listening to what motivates others and helping to coax out their inner confidence. He has written journal articles and book chapters on how self-awareness is foundational to growing as an engaged leader.
“I know that when I focus primarily on helping others, I always come out better as a person and professional,” he said.
He was drawn to Ohio State’s innovative spirit and energy, its groundbreaking research work and its warm, welcoming nature. The university is so vast, he said, that the possibilities for those who work and attend school here are endless.
“People who are successful at Ohio State are comfortable knowing that the day’s going to end and you’re going to feel like there’s so much more that you can do,” he said. “The opportunity here is so great.”