In a joint press conference this past Friday, President Comerford announced a university partnership with JPMorgan Chase, the city of Westerville and JobsOhio. The partnership will allow Otterbein students to work with experts at three new on-site innovation spaces and will create a scholarship.
The partnership will open new financial technology research and a development area of JPMorgan Chase inside the Point.
Comerford said benefits of the partnership include student ability to work in research and development and learn from an expert provided by JPMorgan Chase, who will be loaned as a faculty member. This fall there are already three JPMorgan Chase employees teaching four classes.
“Given the environment that we live in, colleges have to be dynamic, liberal, take more risks," said Comerford in an interview following the announcement. "You cannot do what you’ve always done; pretend the world around you isn’t changing. The Point is one path by reaching out to businesses in the area."
Chief Controlling Officer of JPMorgan Chase Corrine Burger said there are deep ties between Otterbein and JPMorgan Chase. The company has over 250 Otterbein alumni that work in the company.
David Collinsworth, the Westerville city manager, and Valentina Isakina, managing director of financial services, said the partnership holds economic benefits for the surrounding area. The partnership has promised to bring between 75-100 new jobs to the area, according to a release given out by the university.
Former Otterbein President Kathy Krendl was a guest at the press conference and was given much credit as the visionary behind the Point.
“It’s like dreams really do come true," said Krendl. "[My dream] is that it will continue to evolve and change over time, that it’s the place that is dynamic and energetic and full of innovation."
JPMorgan Chase will be the sixth tenant to move into the Point building and the largest tenant by size of deal struck. According to the executive director of the Point, Erin Bender, JPMorgan Chase will be renting out those spaces at the same rate as the other tenants.