Press Release

Franklin University President Honored as Columbus’ SMART 50 Honoree


Sherry Mercurio
Executive Director, Office of Community Relations
(614) 947-6581

Columbus, OH (July 14, 2021)

Franklin University, one of the leading educators of working adults in central Ohio, is proud to announce, President, Dr. David Decker has been named a Smart 50 honoree, placing him among central Ohio’s top executives for 2021. Established in 2014, Smart 50 honorees were selected from an extensive list of nominees for their ability to effectively build and lead successful organizations. Nominees were considered based on their success in the area of innovation, impact, and sustainability.

Dr. Decker has been recognized for his innovation and transformational leadership as a president, as well as his long history of service to the greater-Columbus community. Under Dr. Decker’s leadership, Franklin has embarked on several innovative initiatives, including: expanding its academic offerings to include four new master’s programs and five new applied doctoral programs that provide access to higher education, personal growth, and professional achievement. In addition, the University has amplified and strengthened its partnerships both domestically and internationally, continuing to be a distinctive characteristic of the University, led by Dr. Decker.

From an impact perspective, Over the past 15 months, as the world experienced a historic level of disruption, Dr. Decker championed the University’s continued commitment to meeting the needs of its students under the rapidly changing circumstances of their lives. These circumstances called for a new way of interacting with students and conducting business. While other institutions struggled with the transition, the expertise that earned Franklin the distinction as Ohio’s #1 nonprofit university for online degrees enabled its students to continue their educational journey seamlessly, thanks to the leadership of Dr. Decker.

“It is a tremendous honor to be named among Central Ohio's Smart 50 top executives.  Rather than an acknowledgement of my own work, I consider this award to be a tribute to the outstanding work of the entire Franklin community in supporting and advancing our students, validating Franklin’s distinction as Ohio’s Number 1 nonprofit university for online degrees.” 

All 50 winners will be honored at a special celebration and in a special editorial report in the November 2021 edition of Smart Business Columbus. 

About the Smart 50 Awards
The Smart 50 Awards currently takes place in the cities of Columbus, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Eligible Smart 50 nominees must be a top executive of an organization with a physical office in their award region.

About Dr. David Decker
Dr. David Decker joined Franklin University as its fourth President in 2007. Under his leadership, the University has expanded its portfolio of academic offerings, focused on workforce development, introduced international partnerships, and has established a world-class Instructional Innovation Center focusing on enhancing student learning and student success. 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.

About Franklin University

Accredited, nonprofit, and dedicated to educating adults since 1902, Franklin provides onsite course options at our Main Campus in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and is an innovator in providing personalized online education. The University offers applied in-demand undergraduate, masters, and doctorate programs that enable adult learners to achieve their educational and professional goals. Through agreements with partner institutions, the University also offers international academic programs, including its top-ranked MBA.

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds specialized accreditations for specific academic programs through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Franklin University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE).

News Type

  • University