Welcome to the Levin College of Urban Affairs

Levin Senior Fellows

The Senior Fellows listed below were appointed by Dean Roland V. Anglin.

Wlliam DenihanChristin FarmerEric HoddersenRobert Jaquay | Earl LeikenMichael Summers

William DenihanWlliam Denihan
(Retired) Former CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County

Bill Denihan is a Senior Fellow at the Levin College. During his term as the CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County, he was responsible for the public behavioral health services for the county, and oversaw the merger of the Cuyahoga County Community Mental Health Board and the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board of Cuyahoga County that culminated with the creation of the ADAMHS Board in 2009. He has been on the front lines of the opioid epidemic since its beginning, and has made it one of the main focuses of his leadership.

A public servant and a change agent of government, Denihan's career in public service spans forty-three years. He has served as the first Executive Director of Ohio's State Employee Relations Board; Acting Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Director of Personnel for Ohio and Cuyahoga County; Deputy Administrator and State Claims Director for the Bureau of Workers' Compensation; Chair of the Nuclear Power Evacuation plan for Ohio; Mayoral Candidate for the City of Cleveland; Foreman of the Grand Jury for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court; Public Service Director for City of Cleveland; Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services; Director of Highway Safety for Ohio, in charge of Ohio Highway Patrol and Bureau of Motor Vehicles; and Director of Cleveland's Department of Public Safety with two appointments as Chief of Police. In 2002, former Bishop Anthony Pilla asked Denihan to head the commission investigating the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland's handling of the child sex-abuse cases. This resulted in recommendations to ensure the safety of children and accountability for offenders.

His civic commitment includes memberships past and present in over thirty volunteer and nonprofit groups, including President of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Authorities, and memberships in Friends of Edgewater Park and the Ward 16 Democratic Club. He also recently chaired the Mental Health Response Advisory Committee, a component of the settlement agreement between the Cleveland and the US Department of Justice that addresses concerns about the Cleveland Division of Police use-of-force policies and practices.

Denihan earned a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the Levin College in 1998. In 2017, Cleveland State University conferred to him an Honorary Doctorate in Public Service, and he has completed Levin College's Leadership Academy for Public Officials and the Ohio Executive Institute. The “William M. Denihan Endowed Scholarship for Leadership in Government” was established in his name in recent years at the Levin College. He was selected for Crain’s “Eight Over 80” in 2017.

Christin FarmerChristin Farmer

Founding President, Birthing Beautiful Communities
Principal Strategist and Consultant, StrategizeMe

Christin Farmer, the Founder of Birthing Beautiful Communities (BBC), as well as the Chief Strategist of StrategizeMe, LLC, is a social problem solver that leverages her creative spirit to solve some of our community's biggest challenges, including reducing the infant mortality rate in the Black community, by matching women with a doula and a perinatal support team member from their neighborhood at no cost.

Christin believes that if our babies aren’t doing well, our communities aren’t doing well, and recognizes the reason we have high infant mortality rates is 20 percent clinical and 80 percent social, and that is why BBC works to reduce the internalized stresses caused by problems with employment, housing, and education.

Christin’s passions are fueled by her lived experiences, and under her leadership BBC has secured over $5 million dollars in funding, pushed for legislation to unshackle incarcerated pregnant mothers, expand the midwifery profession, and regulate doula reimbursement, in the midst of adding a second BBC location in the City of Akron and will break ground on Ohio’s only free-standing birthing center in fall 2021.

Her passion for birth work started at the age of 16 when she saw a midwife at a birthing center delivering babies on TLC's "Baby Story". Christin’s passions are further defined by her personal experience of becoming a Mom during her junior year of college, and not having the type of support to manage the overwhelming emotions of becoming a Mom.

Christin is a trained doula, a leader, activist and a dynamic speaker who has presented on local to international stages including at the International Convention of Psychological Sciences in Paris, France about doulas and the effects of stress on the emotional health of Black women. In 2018, her work was featured in Vice Magazine, in 2019 she was named the Community Leader of the Year by Cleveland Magazine, an honoree of the Soul of Philanthropy, and was featured in Glamour Magazine in 2020.

In addition to her extensive perinatal experience, Christin serves as a board member of many community organizations, including the HealthComp Foundation, Midtown Community Development Corporation, Village of Healing, and the Hough Community Land Trust.

She is also the founder and chief strategist for StrategizeMe, LLC, a consulting agency providing tools, education, and training on the root and resolution of social issues, including the Surviving Toxic Mothering series, a rare conversation on how to heal generational traumas stemming from the maternal line, setting boundaries, and committing to a life of peace.

Christin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, minor in Sociology from Kent State University.

Robert Jaquay

Robert Jaquay has had a career extending over forty-five years as a private foundation executive, nonprofit executive director, executive assistant to the Mayor of Cleveland, urban planner, economic development official, municipal lawyer and prosecutor, congressional committee staffer, college-level instructor, banker, credit union president and neighborhood activist.

Career highlights include:

  • Playing critical roles in establishing the Fund for Our Economic Future and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress - both vitally important intermediary organizations for Northeast Ohio’s community and economic development;
  • Managing the endowment and operating finances of Ohio’s largest private foundation for over two decades. As of July 2021, net assets stand at $645 million, with a projected annual grantmaking target of $45.6 million and an annual operating budget of $3.6 million; 
  • Facilitating the Gund Foundation’s recent 18-month and still ongoing collaborative board-staff learning process that led to a substantial rebalancing of investments for better alignment with our grantmaking values. 
  • Advancing the practices of program-related investing and shareholder engagement at the Gund Foundation and among other philanthropic organizations in Cleveland, across Ohio and nationally; 
  • Serving as Executive Assistant to Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich from 1987-1989 with broad departmental oversight and intergovernmental relations responsibilities; 
  • Negotiating and documenting financing and site acquisition for numerous prominent development projects around Cleveland, including: North Coast Harbor; Lexington Village in Hough and the Opportunity Corridor Core Jobs Zone;
  • Producing research, arranging grant funding and/or providing thought leadership around topics including: Cuyahoga County’s Executive-Council Charter Form of government; the economic geography of Northeast Ohio; the “Regional Dynamics” of Northeast Ohio land use, infrastructure, tax base, job location and population each decennial since World War II; measurement of vitality (or lack thereof) of the regional economy and urban/suburban neighborhoods by Dashboard of Economic Indicators; Neighborhood Progress Index and numerous other interactive data and mapping tools; and the ever-urgent need to foster equity and inclusion in the housing market and regional economy.

Earl LeikenEarl Leiken
Mayor of Shaker Heights, 2008-2018

Earl Leiken is a Senior Fellow at the Levin College. During his term as Mayor of Shaker Heights, the City created a successful financial plan which overcame a crisis due to the 2008-2009 recession and a loss of state funding; achieved the development of the Van Aken project, a new residential, retail and commercial center for Shaker; created a major infrastructure improvement plan; developed a revitalization project for neighborhoods affected by the foreclosure crisis; and created a new regional police and fire dispatch center with four other communities. Prior to serving as Mayor, Mr. Leiken was a member of the Shaker Heights School Board and Shaker City Council, and was a partner in the law firm of Baker & Hostetler. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has served as an adjunct faculty member at Cleveland State and Case Western Reserve laws schools and was an Associate Professor of Law and Assistant Dean at CWRU. He has assisted in courses at the Levin College and has taught a course on “American Local Communities and Their Challenges” at CWRU’s Siegal College.

Michael SummersMichael P. Summers
​​​​​​​Mayor of Lakewood, 2011-2019

Mike Summers is a Senior Fellow at the Levin College. He served as the Mayor of Lakewood from 2011 through 2019. During his nine years as Mayor, he served on the Board of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) which allocates $40 million per year of federal and state transportation, and air and water quality investments. He served for three years as Chair of Cleveland’s First Suburbs Consortium, which is comprised of the seventeen cities that are contiguous to the City of Cleveland. He also served on the Board of the Cuyahoga County Landbank. He was awarded the National Environmental Achievement Award by the National Association of Water Councils for his work towards the Clean Water Act compliance for the city of Lakewood.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Mike Summers was elected to Lakewood City Council in 2007 to represent Ward 3. He also served eight years on the Lakewood Board of Education, including service as President in 1999 and 2003. He served as President and owner of Summers Rubber Company, Cleveland, Ohio for thirty-two years. Summers Rubber Company is an industrial distribution company specializing in hose, fittings, and sealing products for the durable goods manufacturing, chemical, and construction markets. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Lakewood. He was appointed by Governor Taft to serve as Chairman of Ohio’s Workforce Policy Board from 1999 to 2003.

Mike Summers is a graduate of Lakewood High School, Class of 1972. He earned an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and a BA from Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio.

Eric Hoddersen - Bio coming soon.