Robert G. Duffett has been the president of Dakota Wesleyan University since July 2000.
Bob hit the ground running at DWU and, 12 years later, has many notable accomplishments. Among them:
About a month after arriving at DWU, Bob experienced his first catastrophe – a “microburst,” similar to a tornado, which caused much damage on campus, including blowing the roof off the Christen Family Recreation/Wellness Center and the physical plant office. In true Wesleyan spirit, the Mitchell community and the campus community banded together to clean up debris and fallen trees and rebuild the damaged buildings.
During his first few years at Wesleyan, Bob found himself taking a leadership role among the private colleges in South Dakota as they worked with the state legislature on funding for student scholarships. Bob maintained that Regents Scholarships for South Dakota students should be available to any student meeting the criteria, regardless of whether they chose a public or private institution.
Then-Gov. Bill Janklow argued that it was an issue of church/state separation; Bob argued that the scholarships were for the students, not the institutions. Ultimately, the legislature voted to include all students, regardless of their institutional choice in South Dakota, in the Regents Scholarship.
Bob also researched and spoke on behalf of S.D. private institutions regarding the Dakota Corp Scholarship, and he was instrumental in passing the LEAP legislation, a need-based scholarship for South Dakotans.
A member of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Bob served on the Student Aid Committee. He has also served as chairman of the Great Plains Athletic Conference presidents’ organization.
In 2011, Bob returned to the classroom to teach REL 315 American Religions. Here is his column for the alumni magazine, Wesleyan Today, about his experience. He so enjoyed the experience, he also taught REL 314 World Religions during spring semester 2012.
When Bob and his family – wife, Connie, daughter, Allison, and son, David – came to Mitchell, Allison and David were in elementary school. Now, David is in college in Florida and Allie is attending college in Pennsylvania. Connie has taken an increasingly active role in the life of the university and is now employed part time in the office of institutional advancement.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Bob received his Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary. His Ph.D. degree, from the University of Iowa, focused on organizational theory/management and historical theology.
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Last updated: 12/5/12