Erich Hunker ’81, Columbus Academy’s assistant head of school for development and external relations since 1999, will be leaving his alma mater in mid-June to become chief executive officer at Columbus Humane, a local nonprofit with a mission to fight animal cruelty, help animals in need and advocate for their well-being.

“Coming back to work for an institution that changed and shaped my own life was an incredible opportunity presented to me 25 years ago,” said Erich, whose last day at Academy will be Friday, June 14. “Through these years, I have met and worked alongside so many kind and generous parents, alumni, colleagues and friends of CA who have invested significant amounts of their time and philanthropic resources to make the school even stronger for today's students, which included my own children Sam ’16 and Ryan ’20.”

In his role at Columbus Academy, Erich has overseen its fundraising, alumni relations, parent relations and marketing/communications departments and functions. He has spearheaded two successful capital campaigns, a robust annual giving program and a significant increase in the school’s endowment through philanthropic and deferred gifts while also leading the organization through institutional rebranding, its first-ever advertising campaign and the school’s centennial celebration in 2011.

“Erich is one of the most loyal and caring administrators I have ever worked with,” wrote Head of School Melissa Soderberg in her announcement of this news to the Academy community. “He has had a huge impact on the school through his dedication to alumni, faculty and financial sustainability, and he will be greatly missed. I am so happy for his next step, a position for which he is supremely qualified.”

Erich has been in fundraising and nonprofit management for over 35 years and a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) since 1991, serving as the Central Ohio chapter’s president in 2014. In 2018, he was honored by AFP with the Central Ohio chapter’s Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award. He also serves as a trustee on the boards for The Dawes Arboretum and Dreams on Horseback.

“Now and for this next phase of my career, I am honored and excited to be the new CEO of Columbus Humane,” Erich stated. “The mission of Columbus Humane – Central Ohio’s law enforcement agency responsible for animal cruelty investigations as well as helping animals in need, advocating for their well-being through adoptions while also providing low-cost veterinary care and pet food – is noble and critical to serving all people and their pets in our communities.”

Before returning to Columbus Academy in 1999, Erich was at the Toledo and Baltimore zoos where he led their fundraising, membership, marketing, advertising, events and public relations departments. In Toledo, he was instrumental in the zoo becoming the industry leader in both attendance and membership on a per-capita basis and was awarded three regional Emmy Awards as the creator/executive producer of the market’s top-rated weekly children’s television show “Zoo Today.”

Erich holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice from The Ohio State University and resides in New Albany with his wife Mary, a medical laboratory specialist in transfusion services at Riverside Methodist Hospital.