Ohio University

Scott Timm

Honoring the past by giving today 


"At Ohio University I met people from all over the world, with different political leanings and predilections. It shaped me into the person I am today."


 

Scott Timm and Nancy Wiley perform in Ruth Giffin’s Le Premiere Baiser in the Senior Dance Concert in the Putnam Studio/Theater, 1982.
Scott Timm and Nancy Wiley perform in Ruth Giffin’s Le Premiere Baiser in the Senior Dance Concert in the Putnam Studio/Theater, 1982. In the work, they danced with one bare foot and one foot in a roller skate. Photo provided by Scott Timm

Scott Timm grew up in tiny Troy, Ohio, 20 miles north of Dayton. When he landed in Athens to begin his tenure as a student at Ohio University, becoming a dance major was furthest from his mind. “I was a small-town farm kid from Ohio,” says Timm, “and I had no concept of dance as a career.” Yet because of OHIO’s gift for helping students realize talents they didn’t know they had, combined with receiving a well-timed scholarship plus Timm’s own grit, he graduated in 1983 with a degree from OHIO’s School of Dance and went on to enjoy a varied career in the arts and beyond. More than three decades later, Timm honors his experience at the College of Fine Arts by giving monthly to a School of Dance student scholarship fund and by establishing a bequest that will support both the School of Dance and the College. His story about this career and why he supports the College of Fine Arts follows. 

Scott Timm began his Ohio University undergraduate career in journalism. Eventually, he took a dance class despite having no background in the art form. As his interest grew, he began spending more time in School of Dance studios, even more time than the dance majors. The universe was telling him something… 

As his devotion to dance grew, he knew he had a difficult decision to make: switch his major to dance and start his four-year college career track from the beginning or stay the course in journalism? Because of Timm’s tenacity for securing scholarship support in dance, the answer was yes. He made the switch. Today, he honors that gift by providing scholarship support for students in the School of Dance. 

“[The] scholarship…meant so much to me that I wanted to pay it forward. [Maybe] there’s some other boy from small-town Ohio who wants to dance. I want to make sure he’s able to, and that there’s a program and a scholarship for him.”

After almost six years in college, you’d think Timm would have resolutely attended his commencement ceremony. Yet, an opportunity to audition for a dance company emerged.  

“I decided that a commencement means a beginning,” Timm recalls. “Although I wanted the ceremony of accepting a diploma, as a dancer there’s no better thing than auditioning for a professional job. By the time I left school I had a professional job in a dance group in Columbus. The School of Dance gave me an incredible base on which to succeed. It’s an excellent place for young people to grow and flourish.”

Timm has excelled in many career arcs, including dancer, dance teacher, leading arts organization leader, in municipal business development, and in corporate banking.  

Timm says today’s OHIO dance education provides students with the same range of skills he enjoys, including a strong curriculum in choreography and composition. Multifaceted training like this helps School of Dance graduates pursue careers wholly within the dance world and beyond. 

“What dancers learn are skills that make them successful no matter what they do. Dancers internalize millions of specific details and are able to reproduce a task over and over with total precision,” he says. “They are experts at working together collaboratively…they are accustomed to managing their energy to adapt to long hours and difficult environments. They are creative, adaptable, and curious, and spend a great part of their working life in improving their skills. I think any employer would love to have an employee with those characteristics…”


"Don’t be afraid to chart your own course in the world. Think about what you really want to do and pursue that. You’ll find your training will give you an incredible base to succeed."


 

Left: Elyse Kassa, Dance major and 2018-19 Shirley Wimmer Award winner. Right: Scott Timm and Virginia Adams dance in a piece choreographed by Douglas Nielsen at Dance Alloy, Pittsburgh.
Left: Elyse Kassa, Dance major and 2018-19 Shirley Wimmer Award winner. Photo by Daniel J. King; Right: Scott Timm and Virginia Adams dance in a piece choreographed by Douglas Nielsen at Dance Alloy, Pittsburgh. Photo courtesy of Scott Timm