Board of Trustees

Franklin’s Board of Trustees

To ensure the highest quality education for our students, Franklin is governed by a group of 20+ officers and trustees. Each of our officers and trustees takes seriously the role of furthering affordable and accessible education for working adults, while upholding the University’s reputation, mission and values, and Four Cornerstones. View the bios of our trustees and see how Franklin (and you) benefit from the expertise of respected, visionary industry leaders and entrepreneurs engaged in providing strategic insight and direction.


Dr. David Decker

Dr. David R. Decker serves as the fourth President of Franklin University. Prior to coming to Franklin he held a number of positions at the New York Institute of Technology, including playing a key role in their internationalization and development of their online presence.

Dr. Decker has also held positions at Youngstown State University, as well as at three other universities, and has international teaching experience in China, Malaysia, Russia, Mexico, Spain, Germany, Brazil, and Jordan.

His extensive corporate experience includes serving as president and CEO of a $130 million manufacturing company.

Melissa Gutierrez

Melissa Gutierrez currently serves as Chair of the Board. She current serves as SVP and General Manager with Synchrony, where she leads the rapidly growing Pets Best Insurance business unit within the Care Credit portfolio and serve as a key partner to leaders across the Care Credit platform within Synchrony. Prior to joining Synchrony, Melissa held a number of positions at Nationwide Insurance, including positions in sales, strategy, marketing and finance across several business units including Nationwide Insurance, Nationwide Financial and Nationwide Better Health. Melissa holds the chartered life underwriter (CLU) designation, and in addition to her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Franklin University, also holds an MBA from the University of Dayton.

Stan Partlow
Vice Chair

Stan Partlow retired from American Electric Power in 2020. He last served as  AEP’s Vice President and Chief Security Officer a post he was appointed to on Sep. 1, 2015. Stan joined AEP  as the Director of physical security and aviation services on Oct. 31, 2005. During his career with AEP Stan had leadership responsibilities for physical security operations, access control, asset protection for AEP facilities and properties, AEP´s aviation services department, cyber security, procurement and the motor vehicle fleet. Prior to joining AEP, Stan served the Law Enforcement community for over 25 years. Stan served the Columbus Division of Police for over 21 years and  retired as the Commander of the Detective Bureau. Stan served as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1984-1988 where he was responsible for conducting a variety of criminal investigations. As a former adjunct professor at Franklin University, he taught in the Leadership and Public Safety Management programs. Stan has also been an adjunct professor for Capital University. Stan holds a Juris Doctor degree from the Capital University School of Law (1995), a Master of Science degree in administration from Central Michigan University (1990), and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Bowling Green State University (1980). At Franklin, Mr. Partlow currently serves on the Finance Committee and the Infrastructure Committee. 

Ralph Sanese

Mr. Sanese is Vice President, Business Development AVI Foodsystems and President of Sanese Services, Inc., a family-owned foodservices and vending company. He is a board member of the Simon Kenton Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is active in several other civic organizations. Mr. Sanese, a Franklin University alumnus, serves on the Infrastructure Committee and the Human Resources Committee.

Clarke Price
Immediate Past Chair

Clarke joined the board in 2010 and currently serves as the Chairman of the Board. Clarke is a proud Franklin alumnus (B.S. in Business Administration ’69), and veteran of the U.S. Army, where he served as a Public Information Specialist. In 2012, Clarke retired as the President and CEO of the Ohio Society of CPAs (OSCPA) and now dedicates his time working with others to underscore the importance of leadership in the non-profit world. During his 40-year career with OSCPA, Clarke worked in virtually all areas of the operation, including public relations, membership, governmental relations and marketing. Before joining the Ohio Society of CPAs, Clarke was an account executive with a New Jersey-based advertising agency. He has served as Chairman of the Board and on several committees within the America Society of Association Executives; was a founding architect of the ASAE CEO Center; and was made an ASAE Fellow, an honor given to less than one percent of ASAE members.

Board Members

Stacey Armstrong

Stacey Armstrong is an alumnus of Franklin University, having earned her MBA in 2009, and currently serves as the chief operating officer (COO) at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. Stacey originally joined OhioHealth in 1991, as a medical technologist at Riverside. She then transitioned into management positions that progressed into leadership roles at both Grant and Riverside. From 2010 to 2015, she gained experience in various vice-presidential roles including vice president of ambulatory care services and vice president of operations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Stacey returned to OhioHealth in 2015 to assume the role as vice president, specialty practice operations, OhioHealth Physician Group. Prior to her current role as COO at Riverside, she served as chief operating officer, and then president, at Grant.  In addition to her current role, Stacey is also the co-accountable executive for CareConnect (Epic), OhioHealth’s electronic medical record. She also serves as the operational liaison to the Administrative Fellowship Program, and is the accountable executive for an OhioHealth Joint Venture Endoscopy Board. Stacey received her bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Indiana University.

Jack O. Cartner
Board Member

Mr. Cartner is a past Chairman of the Board. He currently serves as chair of the Infrastructure Committee and is an active member on the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. He is President of MoTrim, Inc., which manufacturers boom-type hydraulic mowing machinery, headquartered in Cambridge, Ohio with an additional plant in Florida. Mr. Cartner is a Franklin University alumnus and resides in Cambridge with his wife.

Jamie Crane
Board Member

Ms. Crane is a community advocate currently serving on the boards of Goodwill Columbus, Upper Arlington Community Foundation, and the Columbus Foundation Reese-Shackelford Supporting Organization. She has also served on numerous other boards, including Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio/Greater Ohio, Columbus School for Girls, and I Know I Can. She is highly active with the Crane Group, which was founded by her grandfather. Prior to leaving the corporate world, Ms. Crane worked in Chicago (IL) for Kraft General Foods/Kraft USA where she led the brand management for several multi-million dollar product lines, and developed the strategic plan and coordinated the major planning projects for a multi-billion division. Ms. Crane holds an MBA in Marketing from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, at Northwestern University (IL), and a BS in Marketing and Management from Indiana University. Ms. Crane and husband Tim Miller reside in Columbus, and are the proud parents of Taylor and Hailey. Jamie is the Chair of the Communications and Advancement Committee.

Mary Laird Duchi
Board Member

Ms. Duchi joined the board in 2009. Mary is past Chair of the Franklin University Board of Trustees and currently serves on the Finance Committee and the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. Mary has extensive background in both the private and public sectors. She joined Battelle in 1977 and retired from the organization 34 years later as the Vice President of Operations and Systems Services. Ms. Duchi has volunteered her time toward both professional and personal interests by serving as Board member for the Battelle National Biodefense Institute; as a Franklin Park Conservatory Trustee; as a board member for both the Central Ohio Regional Science and Engineering Fair and Edison Welding Institute boards; and on a number of committees and boards for the city of Upper Arlington. Ms. Duchi earned her MBA in Finance and Quantitative Methods from The Ohio State University and her BBA in Finance from the University of Michigan.

Phil FankHauser
Board Member

Phil Fankhauser is co-founder and principal of Epcon Communities and Epcon Communities Franchising. Since 1986 Epcon has been a developer of communities designed for the age 55+ market. With a home office in Columbus, Ohio and Regional offices in Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina, Epcon is recognized nationally as a top builder of age targeted properties. The franchise business includes franchised builders in over 20 states. Fankhauser has over 45 years’ experience in real estate development and construction and serves as a member of the Urban Land Institute’s “Lifestyle Residential Development” Council. He is an alumnus of Franklin University and currently serves on the Communications and Advancement Committee as well as the Infrastructure Committee.

Gary L. Flynn
Board Member

Mr. Flynn joined the board in 2002. Gary serves as the Chair of the Partnership Committee. In addition, he serves on the Communications & Advancement Committee, the Committee on Trusteeship Governance, and the Audit. Controls & Compliance Committee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Franklin University in 1971. Flynn also is a 1983 graduate of The Ohio State University’s Executive Development Program. Mr. Flynn was employed 33 years at Abbott Laboratories, a leading global broad based healthcare company, where he retired as Senior Vice President of Abbott Nutrition.

Ted Ford
Board Member

Ted Ford is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience in government, marketing, higher education, and public-private partnerships. Ted currently serves as a CEO for Advanced Energy Economy Ohio, a state-wide trade group involved in the development and financing of advanced energy projects. Previously, Ted served as TechColumbus’ first CEO and as President and CEO of Edison Welding Institute, a nationally recognized independent engineering research and development organization. As Senior Vice President for University Advancement at Northern Arizona University in the late 1990’s, he led the development launch of the institution’s first capital campaign which raised $100 million. He has served as a business development professional, legislative advocate, legislative staffer, and executive assistant to the Governor of Ohio. He is also a regional affiliate director for BioOhio. He received his undergrad and his Master’s at The Ohio State University. Ted serves as the Chair of the Academic/Student committee.

Anthony Gonsalves
Board Member

Mr. Gonsalves is currently working as a Marketing Consultant. He has an extensive marketing background, which is highlighted in his previous position as the Chief Marketing Officer for Allied Insurance, Titan Insurance, Nationwide Commercial, Nationwide Specialty, and Nationwide Agribusiness in Des Moines Iowa. Mr. Gonsalves has also worked as the Vice President for Marketing Strategy & Planning for Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio. At Franklin, Mr. Gonsalves currently serves the Academic/Student Committee as well as the Communications and Advancement Committee.

Bruce Hagen
Board Member

Mr. Hagen joined the Franklin board in 2010 and currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair. Bruce is the regional executive and president of the OhioHealth North Market. He is responsible for coordinating OhioHealth’s growth in the northern areas served by the hospital system. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the healthcare industry. He is a fellow in the American College of Health Care Executives, and has been affiliated with many community service programs including the Board of Directors of the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Gerald R. Ford Council of Boy Scouts and the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association, Great Rivers Affiliate. Bruce serves on the Finance Committee and currently chairs the Committee on Trusteeship Governance.

Gary W. James
Board Member

Mr. James is an alumnus of Franklin University, a past Board of Trustees Chairman, and currently serves on the Finance, Partnerships, and Governance Committees. He is founder and President of Dynalab, Inc., an electronic manufacturing services company; Dynalab Test Systems, Inc., a designer and manufacturer of electronic test equipment; President of JAAS Systems, LLC, a publisher of manufacturing software; and a board member of MD Systems, LLC, a medical device manufacturer. Mr. James has served as President of a Kiwanis club, Treasurer of National Church Residences, and in numerous other community organizations.

Floyd V. Jones
Board Member

Mr. Jones is a past Chairman of the Board and currently serves on the Human Resource Committee, Infrastructure Committee and the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. He is retired Vice President of Production for The Dispatch Printing Company, as well as Chairman and President of Dispatch Consumer Services and Chairman and President of Consumers News Services. Mr. Jones, a Franklin alumnus, is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Mr. Jones serves on the Board of the American Red Cross and United Way of Franklin County.

Lori Kaiser
Board Member

Lori is the founder and CEO of Kaiser Consulting, an accounting and finance consulting firm.  She is an accomplished professional with a proven track record in assessing risk and creating solutions for Fortune 500 Company C-Level Executives and Boards.  Lori has strong business judgement, financial acumen, global perspective and a team approach to implement innovative solutions to complex business challenges.  Prior to Kaiser Consulting, Lori served with (1999-2000), Nationwide Communications Inc. (1996-1999) and KPMG LLP (1985-1992).  She has previously taught at Franklin and is currently teaching in the MBA program at Ohio State. She has a personal commitment to higher education and is interested in all that’s going on at Franklin. Lori currently sits on the Board of Directors, The Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (2017-Present), The Advisory Board for the Business Leadership and Accounting Department, Miami University (2016-Present and 2013-Present), Board of Directors, Women’s Fund of Central Ohio (2014-Present).  She also has been a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners since 2011. Lori holds a Master of Business Administration with Honors from the University of Chicago (2000) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accountancy, Cum Laude from Miami University, Oxford, OH (1985).

Gregory S. Lashutka
Board Member

Mr. Lashutka is a past Chairman of the Board and serves on the committees for Partnerships and the Committee on Trusteeship Governance. Currently, Greg serves as a Senior Consultant with Findley Davies, a human resource consulting firm. He retired as Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations at Nationwide. Before joining Nationwide, he served as Mayor of the City of Columbus, Ohio; being elected for two consecutive terms. Prior to being mayor, Mr. Lashutka was a partner with the law firm of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey following his two terms as Columbus City Attorney. Mr. Lashutka was co-captain of The Ohio State University football team and later played professionally for the Buffalo Bills. Mr. Lashutka earned his bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University, a juris doctorate from Capital University Law School, and in 1999 was awarded an Honorary Degree of Law from The Ohio State University. Mr. Lashutka continues to be involved with many community organizations and has been honored with numerous national and community awards. Mr. Lashutka was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Community Leadership from Franklin University in 2011.

Peter Roche
Board Member

Mr. Roche retired from his position as Senior Vice President, Finance at Chemical Abstracts Services in 2008. Prior to joining Chemical Abstracts, Mr. Roche served as Vice President, Accounting & Finance for Honda of America Manufacturing and Senior Manager Tax Consultant with Peat Marwick; a tax consultant for the CPA firms of Frank, Seringer & Chaney and Hammersmith, Roche & Jenkins. Mr. Roche also serves on the board of Catholic Social Services as the chair of the Finance Committee and member of the Executive Committee; and serves as the treasurer for St Gabriel Radio, Inc. Mr. Roche serves Franklin as the Chair of the Finance Committee and serves on the Partnerships Committee.

David Stone
Board Member

David Stone is the Executive Managing Director of Specialty Banking at Huntington National Bank, where he manages specialized commercial banking units. Stone has more than 30 years of experience in lending and was most recently at PNC, formerly National City, where he was an executive vice president and head of corporate banking, based in Columbus. Stone began his banking career at National City in 1988 in Cleveland as a member of the corporate banking development program. Over the years he held a variety of other executive positions at the bank including regional manager and credit department manager. Prior to his career in banking, he was an instructor of economics at the University of Findlay. Stone earned his bachelors and master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. He currently serves on the Academic/Student Committee, the Finance Committee, and Chairs the Audit, Controls and Compliance Committee.

Matthew Toussant
Board Member

Matthew is a senior executive and consultant for the non-profit scientific information firm, CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society.  Matthew has over twenty years as the CAS operations leader and as chief scientist over the world’s largest and most comprehensive chemical science data and information collection.  He has been employed by CAS in numerous positions since 1980.  Matthew served in the US Army Reserve from 1982-2002.  Matthew holds a PhD, Interdisciplinary (food protein chemistry, nutrition, pathophysiology) (1992), a Master of Science degree in Food Chemistry and Nutritional Biochemistry (1979), and a Bachelor of Science degree (1976) all from The Ohio State University.  Matthew is also a Registered Patent Agent with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Carole Watkins
Board Member

Carole Watkins is a Franklin alum, having received her Bachelors of Science in Business. She retired as the Chief Human Resources Officer of Cardinal Health in 2016, where she worked for 20 years. Prior to joining Cardinal Health, Carole had over 20 years of human resources experience with other Central Ohio based companies including The Limited, O. M. Scott & Sons, Lazarus and Huntington Bank. Ms. Watkins currently serves on the board of Delta Dental of Ohio, Delta Dental of Kentucky and Renaissance Health Services. In addition, she serves on the Board of Flying Horse Farms (past Chair), and the global Serious Fun Children’s Network, both serving children with serious illnesses and their families. Previously she served on the Action for Children Board (Past President), the Childhood League Center board, the Executive Leadership team for the Go Red Luncheon, and the American Heart Association’s Great Rivers Affiliate Leadership Development Committee. She currently serves as Chair of the Human Resources Committee and serves as a member on the Academic/Student Committee.

David White
Board Member

David White has held the position of vice president and chief information officer at Battelle since February 2012. He and his team are responsible for aligning and advancing corporate application development, infrastructure platforms and development initiatives across the enterprise. A key component of this position entails leveraging new and emerging trends and concepts to provide more cost effective business solutions. David has held various executive-level positions with the state of Ohio including executive program manager of the Ohio Administrative Knowledge System, director of state accounting within the Office of Budget and Management, and director of revenue management within the State of Ohio Treasury. He is a member of the CIO Advisory Board for, the advisory board of the Columbus African American Leadership Academy and a member of the COSI Community Board. David attended The Ohio State University, where he studied electrical engineering. He eared a degree in business administration from Columbus State Community College and a degree in computer management from Franklin University.  

Trustees Emeriti