The Ohio Dominican University (ODU) Board of Trustees has announced that Connie Gallaher will serve as the university’s 17th president. She will succeed Dr. Robert Gervasi, who after four years, will step down as president in June at the completion of his agreement with the university. Gallaher will begin her service at ODU on April 25 as president-designate, and she will assume the presidency in June.
A registered nurse for more than 40 years, Gallaher has served in numerous executive leadership roles with all three major adult health systems in the Central Ohio region. She spent the last 14 years with OhioHealth in Columbus, most recently serving as chief operating officer, then president of OhioHealth at Home, which provides comprehensive care and treatment to patients in their home setting. During her tenure, Gallaher identified and executed various strategic initiatives to develop program offerings, expand patient access to quality care, and enhance patient responsiveness, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to her roles with OhioHealth at Home, she served as system vice president of OhioHealth Neuroscience. Gallaher retired from OhioHealth in February.
“The Presidential Transition Task Force engaged dozens of highly qualified candidates who expressed interest in the opportunity to lead Ohio Dominican University; however, throughout this process, there was unanimous agreement that Connie Gallaher possesses the skills, qualifications, business experience and enthusiasm needed to transform the university as it begins an exciting new chapter,” said Thomas Winters, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Connie is a servant leader in every sense, and her vision for the future, inclusive approach to leadership, and thorough understanding of the Columbus region, including its business community, will help to ensure ODU continues on a path toward sustainable growth and success. I am eager for her to meet and engage with more members of Ohio Dominican’s outstanding community in the weeks and months ahead.”
“The Board of Trustees is proud of the way in which the leadership team and the Ohio Dominican community in general has responded to the challenges facing higher education, including the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fred Takavitz, chair-elect of the ODU Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the board, I wish to express our sincere appreciation to President Gervasi for his leadership over the past four years, including one of the most challenging stretches in the university’s 110-year history. We are confident in Connie’s ability to continue to build upon the positive momentum that has been generated at Ohio Dominican in recent years, particularly with regard to enrollment, fundraising, program creation and partnership development.”
“While I have had the privilege of working in the health care sector for the past few decades, the opportunity to take my learning and passion for leadership to Ohio Dominican University is an incredible opportunity and honor,” Gallaher said. “The Dominican pillars of care are the foundation at the university and exactly what our society needs today. I have been very impressed by the integration of mission, care and education that simply defines the university. I see ODU as a gift to our community, state and beyond. We are a minority-serving university living as one community that more than exemplifies diversity and inclusion – modeling what so many others hope to achieve. I look forward to helping our community learn more about Ohio Dominican and celebrating its rich heritage and its impact in our communities.”
“I am excited for students, faculty, staff, alumni, Dominican Sisters of Peace, and members of the Central Ohio community to have the opportunity to get to know Connie as I have over these past several months,” said Sr. Patricia Twohill, OP, prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Peace, ODU’s founding congregation. “Her professional accomplishments, business acumen and personal values align closely with Ohio Dominican’s identity and mission. The steadfast leadership and commitment that Connie has displayed throughout her career make her a natural fit to lead Ohio Dominican.”
“Connie’s impressive background in the health care industry aligns more closely with higher education than many might suspect,” said Janet Bay, M.D., a member of ODU’s Board of Trustees. “Under Connie’s leadership, patients not only gained better access to care, but the quality of care they received improved as well. I am excited to see how Connie leverages her vast experience to find unique, creative and impactful ways to create new opportunities for ODU students to help equip them with the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to achieve professional and personal success.”
Before joining OhioHealth, Gallaher served in a wide range of roles, including vice president at Riverside Methodist Hospital; associate administrator of the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital at The Ohio State University Medical Center; and as vice president, chief nursing officer, and director of patient care services at Mount Carmel East Hospital, all in Columbus, Ohio. She served as president of the Bariatric Care Center of Ohio in Groveport; vice president and chief operating officer of Health Care Plus and Preferred Care Plus in Columbus; and administrator and director of patient care services at Grant Medical Center in Columbus. She also has served as a staff nurse, head nurse and director at The Ohio State University Medical Center.
Gallaher has served as adjunct clinical faculty at The Ohio State University College of Nursing, and has presented on a variety of topics, including health care, teamwork and leadership. She has been recognized for her leadership within the health care field, and has been credited with developing leaders who serve in a wide range of settings and environments.
Gallaher earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing Administration from The Ohio State University College of Nursing, and a Certificate in Internal Coaching from the Hudson Institute of Coaching. She has been a registered nurse since 1978.
Active in her community, Gallaher has participated in many organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association and the American Heart Association. During her work in neuroscience, she worked with many different associations that focus on neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).