Randy Gardner was appointed the 10th Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education in January 2019. As Chancellor, he oversees and coordinates with the state’s two and four-year public and independent colleges and universities and Ohio Technical Centers; provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly; and carries out state higher education policy.
Gardner comes to ODHE from the Ohio Senate, where he had served for a total of 13 years. He had recently been chosen as Senate Majority Leader for this latest term. Gardner also served as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1985 to 2000, and again from 2008 through 2012.
Gardner has been recognized as the General Assembly’s foremost policy leader in higher education. For the past eight years, he served as chairman of the Finance Higher Education Subcommittee, and held that post in both the House and the Senate.
A well-respected leader in state government, Gardner has also previously served as Senate President Pro Tempore, House Majority Leader, and House Speaker Pro Tempore. He has also been a member of the Senate Finance Committee and the panels dealing with Ohio's workforce development and budget management. Gardner's work ethic was exemplified by his 100% voting record over 33 years—more than 10,430 consecutive votes.
Gardner received a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in political science, both from Bowling Green State University. Prior to his career in public service, he worked both as a realtor and a high school history and government teacher.
Gardner and his wife, Sandy, reside in Bowling Green and are the parents of three children—Brooks, Christina, and Austin.