Gov. Kasich elects new Board of Trustees member

Della Ratta Jr.

Della Ratta Jr.

Amanda Crumm

A new Board of Trustees member, appointed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, begins his term at Kent State hopeful and determined to make a difference.

Ralph M. Della Ratta Jr., 58, founder and managing partner of Western Reserve Partners LLC, a financial advisory company based in Cleveland, said he has always been interested in higher education.

He said he is impressed with the improvements that are taking place at Kent State, and when he was approached with the opportunity to become part of Kent State’s team, he said he “couldn’t say no.”

Della Ratta said he is interested in understanding how higher education and the decision-making process work at a large national university.

“I look forward to better understanding the issues that the universities face in this century,” Della Ratta said.

He said he would like to contribute good, solid counsel and wisdom in taking action to make Kent State a better place for students, faculty and the community.

Della Ratta lives in Gates Mills, a small community on the east side of Cleveland, with his wife of 33 years. He has two children who are both currently attending college.

Della Ratta attended Duke University, where he majored in history. He said he originally wanted to be a lawyer or college professor but developed a passion for business, which led him to change his academic goals.

He went on to earn a graduate degree in international business from American Graduate School of International Management and a second graduate degree from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at Rutgers University.

Della Ratta began his business career working in investment banking, which gave him the opportunity to work overseas in Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Entering investment banking in 1987, he worked at McDonald Investments Inc., which was at that time the largest investment bank in Ohio, according to Della Ratta. McDonald Investments Inc. eventually merged with KeyCorp.

Della Ratta said he founded Western Reserve Partners LLC after he realized he did not enjoy retirement.

He said he always enjoyed the financial advisory side of business and thought he could run a better business if the company only focused on one aspect.

Western Reserve Partners LLC counsels family-held businesses who seek financial advice.

Della Ratta said he enjoys spending his weekends doing community service.

Della Ratta is currently a University Hospitals Case Medical Center board member and investment committee chairman.

He is also serving on various other boards, such as Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s National Leadership Council and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“I do feel a sense that I’ve accomplished quite a few things already, but I just never want to be satisfied,” Della Ratta said. “I always think there is room for improvement — there’s more that I can do.”

Della Ratta held a previous position teaching finance at the University of Indianapolis and expressed that teaching was something he truly enjoyed. He said he would enjoy returning to teaching one day after his business career is over.

“I enjoy working with young students,” Della Ratta said. “I find it invigorating.”

Della Ratta has lectured on international finance at Case Western Reserve University, Duke University and the University of Akron.

Della Ratta‘s term began on July 13 and extends through May 16, 2021. He said he plans to serve only one term.

“I have deep interest and concern for the well-being of the Kent State community,” Della Ratta said. “I hope when my tenure is over as a board member that people will think that I was a force for good and an asset to the university.”

Kent State’s Board of Trustees is the governing body of Kent State University. The board consists of 12 members who are appointed by the Governor of Ohio with the advice and consent of the state Senate, according to the Board of Trustees’ website.

The Board is responsible for selecting and appointing the university president, setting the operating budget, granting all degrees awarded by the university, establishing tuition and fee rates and approving contracts and all rules, regulations, curriculum changes, new programs and degrees offered by the university.

Contact Amanda Crumm at [email protected].