Carol Newcomb giving remarks prior to 2021 commencement

When Carol L. Newcomb was hired as executive director of Fisher’s Executive Education program in 1997, she inherited a program that, because of its proximity and access to so many national companies, had plenty of potential but was viewed as a sleeper.

Over the next 15 years, Newcomb turned potential into prowess and shaped executive education at The Ohio State University into a nationally recognized and respected destination for business leaders. Her impact as a change agent at Fisher and a supporter of a number of university-wide initiatives was celebrated at Ohio State’s 2021 Summer Commencement ceremony, where Newcomb was presented with the Distinguished Service Award (DSA).

Carol Newcomb receiving DSA
Carol Newcomb receives the Distinguished Service Award from Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson.

“It is recognition for developing a team that exceeded expectations for advancing recognition of the excellence found in Fisher programs,” she said of the DSA. “All the elements for success were present. I simply had the privilege of refocusing faculty, staff and corporate officials to reflect common interests and the faculty’s ability to contribute to corporate effectiveness.”

Long before distance learning had been established and embraced as it is today, Newcomb led the innovation behind what helped establish and differentiate Ohio State’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program as a trendsetter in education: online delivery. The EMBA, which launched in 2000, embraced technology by delivering a large percentage of the curriculum online, affording busy EMBA students the flexibility of travelling to campus just once each month during the program.

“The major issue was to understand how to best use new technology, the faculty flexibility in delivery modes, appreciate corporate interests in ‘just in time learning’ and finding the nexus between faculty expertise and corporate needs,” Newcomb said.

Carol Newcomb and Joe Alutto
Carol L. Newcomb and her husband, Joe Alutto, at the dedication of the Alutto Quad on Fisher's campus in 2016.

This hybrid delivery not only helped increase students’ access to executive education, it also attracted candidates from across the country and around the world, establishing Fisher and Ohio State leaders in executive offerings.

The EMBA program was later replicated by peer and aspirant institutions and was recognized by Businessweek as one of its top-10 EMBA programs.

“I have seen firsthand the incredible impact that Carol has had as a leader within our college community, especially within the executive education space,” said Anil K. Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business at Fisher. “Having worked alongside Carol, I can attest to the strategic, results-oriented approach she applied to every project and challenge that crossed her desk. Her pursuit of quality and professionalism served as incredible motivation for her staff.”

The motivation sparked results. Newcomb’s leadership also drove the proliferation of non-degree programs. From custom-designed, open-enrollment or those created with corporate partners, non-degree programs opened the doors and connected Fisher and Ohio State to some of the top organizations regionally and nationally. The prowess and performance of these non-degree programs during her tenure culminated in another top-10 ranking in The Economist.

The solid foundation on which Fisher’s executive education program is built is not only because of Newcomb’s past leadership, but also because of her enduring commitment to Ohio State. In 2012, the Carol L. Newcomb-Alutto Executive Education Endowed Fund was created by her husband, Joseph A. Alutto, to honor his wife’s legacy at the college. The fund supports executive education leadership at Fisher. The family also supports many other student-focused initiatives at Fisher and across the university.

Alutto family
Members of the Alutto family and their friends in 2016.

“We believe in the power of education and learning by doing,” Newcomb said. “Those are both hallmarks of Fisher’s benefits to those who are learning as current students as well as the lifelong learners within our alumni community. It is simply a joy to contribute to such outcomes.

Across the university, Newcomb was chair of Women & Philanthropy at Ohio State and is chair of the benefits committee and a board member of The Ohio State University Retirees Association. Beyond campus she has served as a past chair of the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s board of trustees, is chair of its nomination committee and was a mentor for the United Way of Central Ohio.

“When we speak of recognizing individuals who have served Ohio State in truly outstanding fashion, I can think of no one more deserving of the Distinguished Service Award than Carol,” Makhija said.