Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience : Office of Student Life

Connie DeJong

The Ohio State University: Cultural Policy and Arts Administration, Ph.D. (2008)
The Ohio State University: Comparative Studies, M.A. (2005)

Lake Forest College: Independent Scholar in Ethnomusicology, B.A. (1995)

Dr. DeJong is an entrepreneur, arts administrator, community educator, international Fair Trade retailer and researcher, and a non profit management specialist.

Her career spans numerous social justice and arts and culture projects, including reviving Columbus' Global Gallery from near failure in the early 2000s to now a premier Fair Trade retail location with extensive educational and outreach programming. As Executive Director of Global Gallery, Dr. DeJong not only financially stabilized the organization, but broadened its scope and influence through an increased focus on education, programmatic special events planning, expansion to multiple locations, strong community collaboration, and investment in new international partnerships.

A longterm key project for Global Gallery that Dr. DeJong developed was the Bolivian Orphanage project, a fundraising and collaborative endeavor with Foundation Anyi that has worked to build a sustainable, multi-phase orphanage for children in need in Cochabamba, Bolivia. As Executive Director, Dr. DeJong has secured numerous grants for Global Gallery over the years, including funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Greater Columbus Arts Council, to name a few. She also worked as the Program Director for OSU Arts Scholars during this time, and led multiple study abroad trips throughout South America.

Locally, Dr. DeJong's many outreach efforts have resulted in vital community partnerships across the area, including acting as Retail Operations Manager for Celebrate Local at Easton Towne Centre, dedicated to growing and promoting Ohio based businesses, or as a founding member of Women Crafting Change, a collaborative effort to engage low income women with professional development via hand crafted trades. Numerous other collaborations have also been cultivated by Dr. DeJong, among them work with the Short North Alliance, many of the local arts and cultural festivals city and statewide, farmers markets, musicians, artists, and as a mentor for many future arts administrators, artists, students, and likeminded social entrepreneurs.

Dr. DeJong's expertise in nonprofit management and Fair Trade issues led her to start her own social enterprise with World Peaces, a Fair trade importing business that sends her across the globe throughout the year, with specialization in the key areas of Africa, Asia, and South America. Increasing the amount of Fair Trade merchandise imported into the U.S. creates a dramatic change in the lives of those artisans who craft the goods, and she has significantly increased the knowledge locally of the power of this change via her many entrepreneurial and educational efforts. Along this line, she also has cofounded The Ethical Arts Collective in Franklinton, a place for socially minded artists, entrepreneurs and visionaries to come together to share ideas and resources-and ultimately, to join forces to make the world a better place.