Goldean Gibbs switched from working for Indiana Business College to working for Harrison College without actually changing employers.

Goldean Gibbs switched from working for Indiana Business College to working for Harrison College without actually changing employers.

That's because after the Columbus native was chosen as executive director of the nearly 107-year-old educational institution's first venture outside of its namesake state, officials decided to make the second name change in the college's history.

While that meant new signs were in order for the dozen existing campuses in Indiana as well as a culinary school and online presence, no such change was necessary at the Grove City campus off Jackpot Road.

Not even a temporary sign had yet been erected at the construction site, although the bare metal bones of the 22,000-square-foot building have.

What's now Harrison College was founded by former educator Charles Cring as Marion Business College in 1902. The first name change, to Indiana Business College, took place 11 years later. The switch to Harrison College was announced in late April, after the development plan for the local branch had been approved by city council.

Technically, when the Jackpot Road facility opens to students in late September, if construction continues to be on schedule, it will be Harrison's second Columbus campus, the other being in Columbus, Ind. But, Gibbs said that she wants the newest undertaking for Harrison College to become very much a part of the fabric of its home community.

The college has joined the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce and officials hope to be involved in community activities as well as to serve the residents from an educational standpoint.

"I just think we're really hopeful that we get a lot of Grove City students," Gibbs said. "We picked it because Grove City is an up-and-coming community."

Goldean Gibbs grew up on the northeast side of Columbus. She graduated from Linden-McKinley High School. Columbus City Schools Superintendent Gene T. Harris was in her graduating class. Gibbs attended Bowling Green State University, graduating with a degree in radio and television communications, but she switched gears in terms of career almost immediately.

"I consider myself a 30-year educator," Gibbs said.

Among other stops along the way to her current position, Gibbs said that she has worked over the years for the Ohio Board of Regents, the now-defunct Ohio Student Loan Commission, Ohio State University, Ohio Dominican University, the State Board of Proprietary School Registration, Ohio Institute of Health and the Ohio Center for Broadcasting.

A stint as the state regulator of for-profit colleges, such as Harrison, gave Gibbs an appreciation for the role such institutions play in society.

"I just believe that there needs to be a choice," she said. "Not everyone can go to Ohio State or Franklin University."

Smaller, more hands-on operations for those with more career-specific goals, and schools that can quickly adjust to what employers want in terms of skills and training, can be of great value to some students, in Gibbs' view.

Indiana Business College, for example, which started out as practically a secretarial school before switching to business education, over time has broadened the curriculum to include the fields of health care and information technology, Gibbs pointed out. That, coupled with the expansion outside of Indiana's borders, was part of the formula that led to the new name of Harrison College, a switch that's really required no adjustment on the part of Gibbs.

"Some of my collegeagues are having a tough time making the change," she said.

Gibbs was working at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting, and was quite happy in her position, when a headhunter contacted her about the executive director post for then-IBC's proposed Grove City branch. She feels it was largely because of her extensive contacts in the state, primarily in the various levels of higher education but also in the legislature.

"I'm one who subscribes to the theory that everything happens for a reason," Gibbs said. "I think it was a great match."

Gibbs feels Harrison's historically high placement rate for graduates (nearly 93 percent) and small class size of between 16 and 20 students, coupled with an economy that's forcing many people to make career changes in response to unforeseen life changes, will help bring people to the new campus.

Harrison College is currently operating out of temporary office space inside the Blue Moon Event Center. For quite a while, Gibbs said, she was the sole employee, but now two others are on board, an admissions representative and a financial aid person.

While the branch campus has obtained state permission to have a total of 12 programs, Gibbs said that probably only three will be offered right out of the gate, probably in the areas of medical assisting, criminal justice and business. Tuition costs will be between $3,400 and $3,600 a quarter, which Gibbs said is comparable to what Franklin University charges.

Lots of prospective adjunct faculty members have already been in touch to offer their services, according to Gibbs.

"I'm pleased at the number of resumes I've gotten," she said.

Construction is on schedule for completion Sept. 21, with the doors set to open Sept. 28, Gibbs said.

"I'm looking forward to it being filled," she said of the 22,000-square-foot building. "I'm really excited about becoming a part of Harrison in Grove City, and to be director of the first campus outside of Indiana is exciting. I want to carry out the legacy of Harrison in Ohio.

"I know we're going to be successful."