Kaufman accepts two-year appointment as Capital University's interim president

CHRIS BOURNEA
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ThisWeek group

Capital University announced June 2 that David Kaufman, immediate past chief executive officer of Encova Insurance, formerly Motorists Insurance Group, will be its interim president.

Kaufman is scheduled to assume the two-year appointment July 1, succeeding Elizabeth Paul, who is leaving Capital after four years to assume the presidency of Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.

“Dave has the leadership experience to keep Capital moving forward and address the challenges that all institutions of higher education are facing in light of the current unrest, as well as ongoing concerns of COVID-19,” Bernie Ostrowski, chairman of Capital’s board of trustees, said in a news release. “He brings a strong track record of building fiscal sustainability, inclusive collaboration and stakeholder engagement.”

Kaufman said he brings his experience in business and as founder of Future Possibilities, a nonprofit organization that partners with Columbus City Schools to provide life-skills coaching to youth in underserved communities, to his new role.

Capital’s presidential search “really aligned with my corporate experience, building teams,” Kaufman said. “It really fits with what we can use to take the university to another level.”

A Worthington resident who originally is from Columbus, Kaufman started his career as an actuary with Connecticut General and then as a financial analyst with Capital Holding Corp., the news release said. He started at Motorists Insurance Group in 1986, joining the executive leadership team as senior vice president and CIO in 2000.

He was elected executive vice president by the Motorists Mutual board of directors in 2010 and then was named executive vice president of all companies in the group in 2011. He was elected president and chief operating officer in 2012 and became president and CEO of all companies in the group a year later, the news release said.

Kaufman earned bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and economics from Ohio Wesleyan University. He received the Associate of the Casualty Actuarial Society designation and is a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation and is a member of CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion.

As co-chairman of the Insurance Industry Resource Council formed by then-Gov. John Kasich, Kaufman led the development of insurance and risk management programs in 12 universities across the state.

“Dave’s business acumen and widespread respect from central Ohio community leaders, coupled with his appreciation for Capital’s role as a leader in higher education, makes me confident that he will help us position the university for success long-term,” Ostrowski said.

The university suspended its search for a permanent president in May because of COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions, Ostrowski said.

“We had a number of highly qualified candidates for Capital’s presidency,” he said. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, we couldn’t conduct the in-person, on-campus interviews that we ultimately determined were essential to allow the Capital community to get to know the candidates and for the candidates to get to know the university.”

Kaufman said he plans to meet with Capital administrators in the coming weeks to discuss plans and social-distancing requirements for allowing students back on campus in the fall, as well as budgetary challenges the university faces.

“My hope being to come up with a set of goals that everyone can see themselves in,” he said.

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