© 2024 KRCU Public Radio
90.9 Cape Girardeau | 88.9-HD Ste. Genevieve | 88.7 Poplar Bluff
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sesquicentennial Moments: President Ken Dobbins

Dr. Kenneth Dobbins, 17th President of Southeast Missouri State University
Special Collections & Archives, Southeast Missouri State University
Dr. Kenneth Dobbins, 17th President of Southeast Missouri State University

Under his 16-year tenure as president, Dr. Kenneth Dobbins ushered in tremendous growth for the university, effectively guiding Southeast into the 21st century.” Serving from 1999-2015, Dobbins got his start at Southeast in 1991 as the president of finance and administration until 1993 when became vice president. He served in this position until his inauguration as our 17th president six years later.

Driven by significant surges in enrollment – when Southeast topped 10,000 for the first time in 2005 – the Dobbins years claimed many triumphs such as national accreditation of the Department of Communication as well as the Donald L. Harrison College of Business being named “one of the best business schools in the nation” by the Princeton Review. Aside from enhancing programs, Dobbins oversaw the establishment of a School Polytechnic Studies, and capital construction and building improvement projects totaling $400 million! These include the establishment of the 50-million-dollar River Campus in 2007, home to the Holland College of Arts and Media and four new dormitory buildings.

Announcing his plan to retire in 2014, Dobbins described that being president was the “job of a lifetime” but that it was “time for a new president.” In an emotional farewell, Dobbins recounted the many accomplishments of the University during his term as 17th president, and that he had “never been prouder of [the] institution.” Upon his retirement, Dobbins became the longest-serving president of a four-year university in Missouri up to that point.

Joel P. Rhodes is a Professor in the History Department of Southeast Missouri State University. Raised in Kansas, he earned a B.S. in Education from the University of Kansas before earning his M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.