SALT LAKE CITY — Bethami Dobkin, provost emeritus of Saint Mary's College of California, has been selected the 19th president of Westminster College.
Westminster's board of trustees, after conducting a nationwide search, announced the selection Monday. Dobkin succeeds Stephen R. Morgan, who will retire in May after three years as president and 37 years in leadership roles at Westminster. Dobkin will join Westminster in July with an inauguration celebration planned for the fall.
Dobkin, who will be the second female president of Westminster, served for the past 10 years as provost and vice president for academic affairs of Saint Mary's, which is a private, comprehensive and Catholic university in Moraga, California.
She earned doctorate and master's degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Humboldt State University.
“Dr. Dobkin is a proven change-maker in higher education whose values align perfectly with the things that matter the most to us at Westminster,” said Jeanne Ambruster, board of trustees chairwoman.
“She brings successes in student enrollment, retention and graduation rates along with a passion for the power of education to develop human potential and create a more just world," she said. "The college welcomes her fortitude in tackling big challenges, and the board is confident her vision aligns with Westminster’s strategic goals for the future.”
Dobkin oversaw the academic vision and operational management at Saint Mary's College, with specific responsibility for academic affairs, enrollment, student affairs and technology. Dobkin is a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and serves on the boards of the Foundation for Hispanic Education and Ujima Family Recovery Services. She also is a professor of communication.
In a statement, Dobkin said she is excited to join an institution "devoted to the personal and professional success of students, and enthusiastic about building on the college's strong foundations."
“The liberal arts come alive at Westminster, and a dedication to students shows in everything the college does,” she added.
Saint Mary's College received a top 10 rating in U.S. News' rankings of Western region colleges.
Saint Mary’s President James Donahue described Dobkin as "one of the most gifted leaders that I have ever worked with in higher education."
“She is also keenly aware of the many complexities affecting higher education today, and the critical role that liberal arts institutions serve in helping to shape the academic curricula and ethical priorities for colleges and universities in our nation,” Donahue said.
Dobkin said her family is also looking forward to exploring Utah's storied landscapes with their horses. She and her spouse, Randy Chiotti, have been married for 27 years. The couple has two college-age children, Alexandra, who will attend graduate school in architecture this fall, and Randall, who will be attending a University of California campus as an undergraduate.Comment on this story
Dobkin was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the “Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area” in 2015 and 2014, and in 2013 she was identified by Diablo Magazine as one of six “Women to Watch.”
Previously, she directed the University of Massachusetts Public Debate program and taught at Hartford University, the University of Connecticut and the College of Our Lady of the Elms.
Dobkin has achieved national recognition for her research and teaching in the area of media and conflict. Her honors have included a fellowship in executive leadership with the American Council on Education and lifetime membership in Phi Kappa Phi.