A free and excellent public education is the right of every child, and a democratic society will only succeed if there exists an educated public. Public education is, therefore, a moral imperative -- a process in which every child is enabled to reach his/her God-given potential. In this week the Department of Religion will bring to the conversation on this perspective on Public Education experts in the field of education from both the private and public sectors.
Ronn Richard is the president & CEO of The Cleveland Foundation. Having held over the past 26 years a variety of key management positions in government, the private sector, and the nonprofit sector, early in his career Mr. Richard was a U.S. diplomat serving at the American Consulate General in Osaka/Kobe, Japan and at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. as a desk officer for North Korean, Greek, and Turkish affairs respectively. He also served in San Francisco as a Pearson Program Fellow where he researched and reported on U.S.-East Asian and U.S.-Latin American trade, investment flows, and technology transfers. In addition to his responsibilities at the Foundation, in January 2009 Mr. Richard was appointed by Governor Strickland to the volunteer temporary post of Infrastructure Czar to oversee the expenditure of the infrastructure components of the federal stimulus funds for Ohio.
Since his arrival in Cleveland, Mr. Richard has joined the boards of Council on Foundations, Living Cities, Greater Cleveland Partnership, Ohio Grantmakers Forum, Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, Ohio Business Development Coalition, Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital National Leadership Council, and Friends of the Mentally Retarded Campaign Committee. Mr. Richard chaired the Ohio Grantmakers Forum's Task Force on educational reform for the State of Ohio.
Mr. Richard served for many years on the board of trustees of Spelman College and on the board of advisors of the Landegger Program in International Business Diplomacy at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He was a visiting professor for international business at Bennett College in North Carolina; currently serves on the board of trustees of the International Biomedical Research Alliance (an academic joint venture between NIH-Oxford and Cambridge Universities) and the Finca Vigia Foundation (dedicated to preserving Ernest Hemingway's home in Cuba); and also serves on two corporate boards in the biotech and metals sectors.
Mr. Richard holds a master's degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, a bachelor's degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis, and honorary doctorates from Notre Dame College and Baldwin-Wallace College. He is a recipient of the African-American President's Council Champion Award for his work in the area of inclusive economic development, and in 2007 he received Wheaton College's Otis Award for Social Justice (previous recipients include Senator Edward Kennedy, Gloria Steinem and Marian Wright Edelman). Mr. Richard was inducted into Hiram College's Garfield Society (the college's highest honor) and was the recipient of the Entrepreneurs for Sustainability's 2007 Champion of Sustainability award. Mr. Richard is also a member of the Cleveland Committee on Foreign Relations.