Denison University's President and Board of Trustees Announce an Agreement on Dr. Dale T. Knobel's Planned Retirement and a Timetable for Succession
Posted: December 2, 2010
Denison University President Dale T. Knobel announced today at the general faculty meeting that he plans to retire at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. By making an announcement at this early date, Knobel and Denison’s Board of Trustees are able to plan carefully for his retirement and a smooth leadership succession.
President Knobel and the Board of Trustees have agreed to enter into a multi-year contract that will keep Knobel at the helm of one of the nation’s leading liberal arts colleges until the summer of 2013, when he plans to retire after 15 years as president. The three-year timetable ensures Knobel’s leadership at Denison through the completion of three major building projects, totaling nearly $60 million—the renovation and expansion of Ebaugh Chemistry Laboratories and the Mitchell Recreation and Athletics Center, and the conversion of Chamberlain Lodge into an apartment-style residence hall.
With the new contract, Knobel will complete his tenure as Denison’s second-longest serving president in the college’s 182-year history, following only A. Blair Knapp, who held office from 1951 to 1968. Knobel, 61, was named Denison’s 19th president in 1998 and is among the senior university presidents in the nation.
“Denison has experienced extraordinary progress under Dale Knobel’s leadership,” said Thomas Hoaglin, class of 1971 and chair of Denison’s Board of Trustees. “As a Board, we are delighted to be able to retain him as president of the college, and we have expressed our continuing highest confidence in his ability to lead Denison with his trademark energy and enthusiasm. The next three years will be important ones for Denison as we reinforce the college’s academic excellence, refresh our strategic framework, and focus on several exciting building projects, fund-raising, fiscal responsibility, and campus culture. We look forward to achieving more great progress.”
Hoaglin noted that Denison is recognized as a leader in liberal arts higher education. The college attracts outstanding students from across the country and around the world, offering a distinctive education in the natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, and fine arts, and prepares graduates who will make a difference in their communities, their country, and the world. Knobel oversees this endeavor, with an annual budget of approximately $100 million, an enrollment of more than 2,100 students, and 713 employees.
“This is an extraordinary vote of confidence from the Board,” said Knobel, “and I am honored to be of service to this remarkable college. I’ve always said that Denison is a special place on the landscape of higher education—it’s less an ‘institution’ and more a ‘community.’ My wife Tina and I have been made to feel like we are part of a family here on The Hill, in the Village of Granville, and even around the world, through Denison’s 40,000-strong network of alumni and friends of the college. While our thoughts inevitably turn to retirement in a few years, we are both delighted to have been—and to still be—proud members of this extended community.”
Since 1998, when Knobel came to Denison, the college’s endowment has grown from $314 million to $607 million. Under his leadership, annual applications for enrollment soared from 2,400 to some 5,000; students of color and international students have increased from 16 percent to nearly 30 percent of the first-year class; and average SAT scores have increased from the mid-1100s to approximately 1300. In addition, Denison has embarked on its largest and most environmentally aware capital construction program in the college’s history, with the now-completed construction of Samson Talbot Hall, the Burton D. Morgan Center, the Reese~Shackelford Common, and the Hayes-Wright-Elm-Sunset residence complex, and the major renovation of the Bryant Arts Center and Higley Hall.
Hoaglin noted that Denison’s highly successful Higher Ground fund-raising campaign, overseen by Knobel and completed in 2008, generated $178 million for student aid, endowed faculty positions, extensive new campus facilities, and both curricular and student-life programming. During Knobel’s tenure, the full-time faculty has increased from 180 to 212, and the student-faculty ratio—an important indicator of the personalized student experience at Denison—has been reduced to 10-to-1. Meanwhile, student scholarships and financial aid at Denison have increased from $17 million in 1997 to nearly $43 million this year.
Hoaglin also noted that Knobel’s multi-year contract in advance of his 2013 retirement affords Denison not only the very best leadership until then, but also the luxury of time to plan a smooth and orderly succession process, and to conduct visioning for the college at a high level. “We expect that the formal search process will begin during the summer of 2011, with the appointment of a search committee comprised of trustees, faculty, administrative staff and students,” Hoaglin said. “Our target for having a new president in place is the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. But we are delighted that even after his planned retirement in 2013, President Knobel will be available to Denison until 2015.”
Knobel serves as chair of Ohio Campus Compact, the state’s collegiate service-learning consortium, and as trustee of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio. He also is past chair of the Great Lakes Colleges Association and immediate past president of the North Coast Athletic Conference. Following a term on the NCAA Division III Presidents Council, Knobel joined the NCAA Division III Membership Committee. He is currently in his second term of service on the American Council of Education’s Commission on Women in Higher Education, and in 2010, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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