The University of Findlay is pleased to announce the hiring of Leigh Esper as the Center for Civic Engagement’s first executive director.
Esper has a wealth of administrative experience, which will serve her well as she strengthens ties with community stakeholders who will be instrumental in shaping the region’s future. She will begin her new position Sept. 18.
The CCE, established in 2016, will be housed on the first floor of UF’s new Center for Student Life. Its purpose is to form coalitions that will address the area’s most complex social issues by uniting existing agencies and individuals for collaborative problem-solving. Specifically, the CCE will focus on food insecurity; literacy; transportation; housing; substance abuse and mental health; the workforce; and safety, abuse and security.
“We’re delighted to have Leigh Esper back on campus and serving in a community leadership capacity,” said Katherine Fell, Ph.D. “Her previous work throughout the community has prepared her well, and I know that her leading of CCE will effect positive changes for Findlay-Hancock County.”
Esper will be responsible for identifying University expertise that could assist with these efforts, connecting with city and county organizations, helping to facilitate research endeavors for community partners, implementing external training and professional development programs and supporting the search for funding for community-based initiatives.
The CCE is funded through a partnership with the University of Findlay, the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation and the United Way of Hancock County.
Esper earned a Master of Science in education from the University of Dayton, and a Bachelor of Science in education from Bowling Green State University.
Since 2015, she has served as a conference services coordinator since 2015 for Marathon Petroleum Company LP. During this time, she led coordination of the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts’ fundraising gala and concert, which raised more than $500,000 for the MCPA Endowment Fund; and worked to assist MCPA interim director with opening the performing arts center.
Esper’s previously was director of corporate engagement and individual giving for UF, The Arts Partnership’s executive director, and administrative manager for the Northwest Ohio Flood Mitigation Partnership.
Esper has also been heavily involved in community service endeavors. She serves on the Findlay Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and Hancock Historical Museum Board of Directors, and on committees such as the Children’s Mentoring Connection Public Relations Committee and Cancer Patient Services Chili Cook-off Committee. Additionally, she has participated in Handbags that Help, was a Findlay Rotary Youth Exchange Program counselor, was on the Empowering Women through Leadership Advisory Committee, served in the United Way Impact Team, and is a Hancock Leadership Class of 2010 graduate.