Faith Knutsen talks about the SEE Program at the Welcome Reception.

Voinovich School welcomes students, faculty and professionals to new year

Marilyn Icsman
September 12, 2018

The Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs held its annual welcome reception Sept. 7 in the Ridges Auditorium. The yearly welcome event brings students, faculty and professionals from all of the school’s programmatic areas together at the beginning of the academic year.

New and returning students met, had professional headshots taken, and learned about current projects from Voinovich School faculty and professionals.

Marsha Lewis, Voinovich School’s senior associate dean, welcomed students to a new school year.

“The faculty and the professional staff here at the Voinovich School have what we consider among the greatest jobs in the world,” Lewis said. “Because every year, about this time, we get to start a new chapter. And we get to welcome our new colleagues, all of you, who work alongside us on the project work, and the work we do that makes a difference in our communities, our state, our nation and the world.”

In offering his welcome, Founding Dean Mark Weinberg quoted the school’s namesake, the late U.S. Sen. George Voinovich: “I believe the government’s highest calling is to empower people and galvanize their energy and resources to help solve their problems, meet their challenges and seize their opportunities.”

Voinovich, a 1958 graduate of Ohio University, spent 44 years in government, serving in the Ohio Legislature and as mayor of Cleveland, governor of Ohio, and U.S. Senator. Weinberg said that Voinovich’s core values are demonstrated in the school.

“Senator Voinovich always encouraged the school to design and deliver practical solutions to wickedly difficult problems, expand higher education public-private partnerships, and most importantly, educate, mentor and develop people from every sector and walk of life to be engaged in public service,” Weinberg said.

Weinberg also emphasized the Voinovich School’s national recognition as a leader in public innovation.

“With this official welcome, we charge students… to have a great and rewarding career just like many of the graduates of this university are going forward, be guided by core beliefs like the beliefs that were held by the senator, and make a difference in the world,” Weinberg said. “With this official welcome, we reaffirm our commitment to mentor you and to provide you with opportunities to help you become leaders who will make this world a better place.”

Among those students is Morgan McCarthy, a junior in the College of Business and second-year Voinovich Research Scholar. She works with the Social Enterprise Ecosystem project which helps social enterprises, organizations that combine the social mission of a nonprofit with the market-driven approach of a business, with financing and operational sustainability, under Director of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Faith Knusten. This year, McCarthy will calculate social return on investment (SROI). This calculation places a monetary value on social impact, or the effect on a community, by determining how many dollars of social impact are created for every dollar invested in a non-profit organization.

“Since this is a new type of calculation, I am really excited to start working on it,” McCarthy said. “I hope the work that we do on our projects can transform the way that people think about value.”