Article - Office of College Advancement

Newark mayor fundraising for Ohlone campus

So far Smith has corralled $2.6 million for furnishings, equipment

By Todd R. Brown, Staff writer.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

Fremont—Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Newark Mayor David Smith recently moved into the top spot of the Ohlone College Foundation. The former executive director of enterprise and asset management for the college is now executive director of its nonprofit fundraising arm.

Smith will stay focused on collecting capital for the Newark campus during the next two years, Ohlone spokeswoman Sarah Zentner said. The campus is scheduled to open in January. So far he has corralled $2.6 million for furnishings and equipment.

"It would be a shame if we had to move over the old tablet chairs from the old campus to the new one," Smith chuckled Monday. "The ultimate goal is $10 million. We are in the quiet phase right now."

Although the capital campaign is a change in direction for the foundation, a spokesman said that shouldn't displace other goals, such as providing emergency support programs and scholarships for students.

"We actually have 25 scholarships online," said Thomas Hsu, executive assistant for the foundation. "We're offering $10,850 for the next school year."

On the other hand, Hsu said he was excited about doing fundraising for the Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology, which will be a model of green building.

"It's a really innovative campus," he said. "I love how our society is moving toward more environmental consciousness."

While Smith takes over the reins of the foundation, Smith said he will take care to avoid any ethical dilemmas as mayor of the new campus' host city.

"I would have to be very mindful of any potential conflicts of interests," Smith said, noting that he got practice while managing a company in Newark and serving as mayor.

Newark City Manager John Becker agreed.

"This is a separate career for him, working for Ohlone College," Becker said. "If there was ever any conflict of interest or anything, he certainly would excuse himself (from a vote). And there hasn't been since the voters agreed to fund the college."

Smith's new post integrates the responsibilities of his old job but involves working closely with the foundation board. He replaces Executive Director Josephine Ong-McBride, who resigned in March to relocate to Texas, Zentner said.

Eventually, Smith will focus on raising money for the new student services building on the Fremont campus, which starts construction after graduation.

The foundation announcement was issued Monday, although Smith was approved for the top spot by the Ohlone board at its April 11 meeting, Zentner said.

Staff writer Todd R. Brown covers Newark, Ohlone College and ethnic communities. Reach him at (510) 353-7004 or tbrown@angnewspapers.com.

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