GRANVILLE, Ohio—Denison University President Dale T. Knobel has been named the recipient of the 2012 Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Chief Executive Leadership Award for its District V. The recognition is given in honor of Knobel’s “outstanding leadership and service in support of education.” During Knobel’s 14-year tenure as president, Denison has reached and surpassed important milestones in enrollment, advancement, and expanded facilities, reflecting the extraordinary quality of the college’s faculty and students, and continually improving on Denison’s mission as a top-tier institution of the residential liberal arts and sciences.
In the nomination letter to the CASE selection committee, Board of Trustees Chair Thomas Hoaglin, a member of the Denison class of 1971 and retired chief executive officer and director of Huntington Bancshares, noted that Knobel’s “enthusiasm for Denison and its mission is wonderfully contagious.” Hoaglin continued, “Denison University and its stature have risen to new heights during the last 14 years of Dr. Knobel’s presidency. Denison is recognized as having a robust and well-managed endowment with a large base of supporters, a rigorous course of study and an outstanding faculty, and is the first choice for many of the most motivated and talented students entering college.”
Knobel’s leadership and administration have led to many high benchmarks in Denison’s history.
Beginning in 1998 as Denison’s 19th president, Knobel oversaw an extensive strategic planning process that engaged the entire campus and created the vision for the future of the college. As a direct result of the strategic plan, the college launched its largest and most successful capital campaign with a goal of $160 million, which it far surpassed, reaching more than $178 million. The funds provided critical support for people, programs and facilities. Life Trustee William T. McConnell, a member of the Denison class of 1955, said “Dr. Knobel’s leadership, clear vision, and his personal attention to stakeholders played one of the most important roles in Denison’s success.”
Knobel’s fiscal guidance continued during the recent economic crisis. He worked closely with the administration and Board of Trustees to balance prudent economies with recognized priorities, such as support for student scholarships. The end result was a continued high rate of student retention and a balanced operating budget – for the 55th year in a row.
Student enrollment reflects Knobel’s continued push for a diverse and high-achieving student body. First-year applications have nearly doubled during his tenure, SAT averages have climbed to almost 1,300, and the multicultural representation of the incoming class is now 30 percent. Much of this is due to Denison’s support, instituted under Knobel, of the Posse Foundation, which provides full scholarships to non-traditional students with academic and leadership potential. Denison provides $46.6 million across the student body in scholarships and grants from its own resources, which not only increases diversity on campus, but ensures that Denison students graduate with less debt than any other liberal arts school in Ohio.
The faculty also have benefitted under Knobel’s administration. The teaching load for faculty has been reduced from six courses per year to five, new state-of-the-art teaching facilities provide dynamic classroom environments, and 28 new full-time faculty have been hired, bringing the student/faculty teacher ratio to an enviable 10:1.
The college also has strengthened its commitment to sustainability. Knobel’s management saw the creation of the Campus Sustainability Coordinator position and the foundation of its Sustainability Fellow Program, which brings “green” curriculum into the residence halls. During this time Denison also made a commitment that all new campus construction will be built to LEED standards, as set by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.
Knobel has widened his circle of influence beyond the Denison campus. He has been an active participant and leader in bodies that forward the progress of higher education. Knobel is currently on the board of directors and executive committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He also is active with the Ohio Campus Compact, the Five Colleges of Ohio consortium, the Annapolis Group, The American Council on Education’s Commission on Women in Higher Education, The Institute for the International Education of Students and the NCAA Division III President’s Council and Presidents/Chancellors Advisory Group and the North Coast Athletic Conference.
At the same time, he and Mrs. Tina Knobel have been active members of the Granville community, lending their time and talents to such local organizations as The Works: Museum of Ohio History, Art & Technology; the Midland Theatre in Newark; The Lakeside Chatauqua Foundation; the Think Pink Fundraiser for Breast Cancer; the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra; and the Centenary United Methodist Church of Granville.
Established in 1999, the Chief Executive Leadership Award recognizes the president, chancellor, headmaster or system head of a separately accredited CASE District V member institution for outstanding leadership and service in support of education. The awards are an opportunity for CASE to applaud and promote the work and contributions of their top educational executives. CASE accepts nominations of chief executives whose contributions to their institutions and communities deserve exceptional notice and praise. The District’s leadership will honor President Knobel on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the annual CASE V Conference in Chicago. The CASE V district consists of colleges and universities in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin