ALINA PANEK, News Editor—Emeriti President Dale Knobel is returning to presidency in higher education — at least briefly. He will be interim President of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas beginning in January 2020.
Dr. Knobel was previously the Provost of Southwestern University (1996-1998) before joining our campus in 1998. Dr. Knobel’s presidency was the second-longest in campus’ history totaling 15 years when he left in 2013 as President Emeritus (former President) and Professor of History Emeritus (former History professor).
The Knobel presidency doubled the endowment from $314 million to $607 million according to the Columbus Dispatch article “Denison president leaving a changed university” by Encarnacion Pyle. “The school also raised $178 million to increase student aid, build new campus facilities, add academic and student-life programs, and endow more professorships. The average class size dropped to 10 students,” Pyle wrote. Knobel also called for the nine hour discussion in the Mitchell Recreation Center in November 2007 after a noose was used in promotional advertisement in a Hilltoppers’ — an all male acapella group — Halloween concert. After complaints by the Black Student Union. The posters were removed and the concert was replaced by a discussion on racism.
“Dr. Knobel’s experience in and knowledge of higher education generally and Southwestern University in particular is unparalleled.,” Stephen G. Tipps, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern University wrote in a press release to the Members of the Southwestern University Community. “We are fortunate to have him as part of our community, and thankful for his willingness to serve in this important leadership role during this time of transition.”
The Denisonian reached out to Dr. Knobel’s former connections at Denison who consistently worked with him. Some were more enthusiastic than others.
Dr. David Woodyard ’54, Religion and Queer Studies Professor is still in contact with his former administrator President Knobel. “When Dale left Denison no one expected he would overdose on leisure,” Woodyard said. “Likely he would compound rich activities 24/7 or secure another intense position. Now he has done both [with his interim position at Southwestern University]. Acting surprised that he has this new position would be ‘fake news.'”
Vice President of Student Development Laurel Kennedy earned her position in July 2010 during Dr. Knobel’s presidency. “I was thrilled to learn of Dr. Knobel’s appointment,” Vice President of Student Development Laurel Kennedy said. “He loved Southwestern when he served as Provost, and we saw at Denison how much he enjoyed the role of college president. It only makes sense that he would agree to serve Southwestern at a moment when his talents can be so valuable.”