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Business School Dean Holds Ohio State Reins For Now

Ohio State’s
acting president said the temporary nature of his job hasn’t stopped
well-meaning alumni from offering suggestions.

One of the first e-mails Joseph Alutto received after being
appointed interim president last month was from an alumnus suggesting he open
up campus parking to all comers.

“All I could think about was, ‘Boy, that would be one
mark that I could make on this place,'” Alutto said Tuesday with a laugh,
envisioning the controversy on the crowded campus, the nation’s largest.

Alutto, former dean of OSU’s Max
M. Fisher College
of Business, combines stellar academic credentials with powerhouse fundraising.
His background is the perfect description for the full-time job of president, a
position Alutto says he’s not seeking.

Alutto, who grew the business school’s endowment by more
than 600 percent, is also acting provost, the university’s top academic post
and the No. 2 job after president. That’s the position Alutto says he’s
interested in once trustees select a new chief of the university.

The search for the next president is going well, said Alex
Shumate, the Columbus lawyer
directing the university search committee. He would not comment further. Karen
Holbrook retired this summer after five years.

So far, Alutto has used the interim job as a soapbox for
keeping Ohio State
affordable and making sure it’s a university that delivers once students get

“It’s access to excellence. It’s not access to
mediocrity,” Alutto told The Associated Press in an interview. “If
we’re reaching out to bright students and saying, ‘Come to Ohio
State,’ we then have an obligation
to create an absolutely world-class environment.”

The business school endowment, which funds student
scholarships, professors’ salaries and various programs at the school, is about
$141 million, up from just $18 million when Alutto became dean in 1991.

Alutto also oversaw a campaign that raised $45 million for
the construction of five new business school buildings.

Alutto, 66, has published more than 65 academic articles on
managerial behavior. A New York City
native, he earned his bachelor’s at Manhattan
College, the first in his family to
go to college.

He is at the office by 7 a.m.
and works well into the evening. He’s known for a personal touch that includes
responding to all e-mails within 24 hours.

“People can sometimes look at a large state university
and expect the leadership isn’t attentive to them,” said Jim Miller,
external affairs and development director at the business school. “Joe
Alutto is attentive he takes care of people who ask him to do things, and I
think donors appreciate that.”

Ohio State’s
Columbus campus had 51,818 students
during the past school year the highest enrollment nationally at a public

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– Associated Press

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