Wunderlich Securities' wealth management group has recruited a longtime UBS wealth advisor to its Franklin office. Joseph Sanders manages about $48 million in client assets and had been with UBS for almost 15 years. On the firm's website, the 29-year industry veteran (and former college football coach) says his call to move "is one I have made after a great deal of personal reflection and research. It has been a very thoughtful process centered on meeting the needs of my clients."
The recently hired Dr. David Rosen is now into his first academic year as president of O’More College of Design.
Post Managing Editor William Williams chatted with Rosen regarding his efforts and goals related to the Franklin-based college.
You are still relatively new to the job. After about three months and with the fall semester having recently started, what are your impressions overall about the role?
I am new, but I understood the job before I took it. In fact, I consider this job my dream job. My interest in this position stemmed from having a clear understanding of what a conservatory school of design in a region with an exploding creative economy could accomplish. Keep in mind that Nashville has the fourth largest fashion industry in the country, and O’More has the top fashion design and fashion marketing programs in the state. These programs are both nationally ranked. Nashville has one of the fastest growing built environments in the country.
In addition, O’More boasts one of the top interiors programs in the nation. This figure is measured by the number of national competition winners among its students. Our graduation rate last year was 81 percent, making it the highest among all art and design schools with the exception of Rhode Island School of Design. Of our graduates 94 percent find jobs in their fields within six months of graduation.
When I began the job, I already had pretty strong impressions and I can’t imagine that changing. We have dynamic programs, dedicated faculty, eager students, and we are aligned with the economic growth of the area and are playing a key role in helping to stimulate that growth.
My one surprise, I suppose, has to be how special the bond between students, staff and faculty is. The support they provide one another is the main ingredient for success at O’More.
O’More’s fall enrollment is 179. Do you have a goal for next fall and, if so, what might be your strategy regarding achieving it?
We have always been small, and that has been purposeful. We are a best-kept secret, and we actually like that. If you ever come on campus, you will feel that being here is like being in a private garden. The smaller environment gives us character, but we have decided to share the secret a bit more widespread, and we are already seeing the results. For instance, the number of inquiries this year is already three times greater than the number of inquiries we had for the entirety of last year. I don’t know where the final enrollment next year will be, but we are sharing the secret selectively and students seem very interested.
What is the main challenge you currently face?
Our main challenge is moving fast enough to take advantage of all the enormous opportunities that we have.
I’ve long wondered this. O’More sits on what is, potentially, some extremely valuable property on the fringe of downtown Franklin. Could you one day sell a portion or even the entirety? Of if not, how often does the college get offers to sell?
Our Franklin location is our secret sauce and we will never sell this campus. It would be like selling your grandmother. It might be lucrative, but it would probably disrupt your family. If you have ever been to the campus, you understand the character it holds.
O’More has traditionally had a male to female student ratio of about one to nine. Is there a move to alter that ratio so as to increase enrollment?
The ratio of males to females in higher education is resolutely in the favor of females and growing steadily. The areas we teach in are traditionally female. In fact, O’More College was founded by a woman. We celebrate diversity at O’More. We have students from all walks of life, backgrounds and heritage. We are focused on providing an opportunity for all students to find their place and foster their growth within the design world. We are proud of our predominantly female student base, but will continue to welcome all creative minds to study at O’More.
In March, O’More moved its school of interior design from The Factory at Franklin to the main campus. How has that gone?
I don’t know what the program was like before I started with O’More, but it seems to be thriving now. I will say, however, that The Factory offered us a more familiar type of studio space. We are planning on strategizing to recreate that ambiance on campus.
You most recently worked at Kendall College of Art & Design, a conservatory school located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I understand you are forging some relationships with O'More along those lines. How has that progressed?
At KCAD, we specialized in design thinking. Among other programs, I started a master’s of architecture program and improved the existing fashion program. Those are more in line with my plans for O’More.
On a related note, what is O'More's symbiotic relationship, if any, with Watkins College of Art, Design and Film?
As far as I know, we don’t have a relationship with Watkins. We do not offer film or fine arts, which I believe are at the core of their curriculum. We each have our own niche. I am sure there is symbiosis possible, but it is yet to be discovered. Nashville provides the perfect landscape for all the programs in creative areas to usefully collaborate. Right now my interest is in collaborating with Belmont’s entrepreneurship program. Maybe Watkins in time.
Veteran music writer Craig Shelburne has been hired by MusicRow to be the publication's first-ever general manager. Shelburne spent more than a dozen years at CMT, which he left early this year before taking a contract job at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
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