I would like to take a moment to recognize Mr. Richard H. Oman, the first Executive Director of the Columbus Foundation. He recently passed away but his legacy will live on forever. I feel the need to write about him this week because he selected me to be the Richard H. Oman Fellow.
A true Buckeye through and through, he received his bachelor’s and Juris Doctorate from The Ohio State University in 1948 and 1951. He then continued to pass on his wisdom and knowledge at Ohio National Bank, the Isaac, Postlewaite, O’Brien & Oman law firm, Columbus Foundation, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, and Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. Richard (Dick) also served as legal counsel and secretary for the Foundation from 1955 to 1978. He was instrumental in the development and continued growth of this crucial organization. Oman believed the Columbus Foundation “can and should be the conscience of the community.” (Columbus Dispatch)
Recently the fellows attended a learning session about leadership and next steps as we begin or continue our job search. I cannot help but think that Dick Oman’s leadership, effective and innovative, is something to truly admire because it was not about what he would gain, instead, it was about what others would receive. A leader is compassionate, innovative, passionate, effective, and shines through action and knowledge. This probably contributed to him being listed in the “Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who in America” (Legacy) and the Harrison Sayre Award for Leadership and Philanthropy. During his lifetime he achieved many more awards and recognition for his lifelong commitment to Columbus and community organizations.
Unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet him but based on what I have heard and the note he shared, he had an extraordinary amount of compassion and love for Columbus and the Foundation. There is something truly special when someone sees your potential, passion, and accomplishments without meeting you. I am truly saddened by his passing but grateful for his kindness.
For more background information on Richard, please visit the links below: