The Board of Trustees of Eastern University on December 10 announced the appointment of Dr. Robert G. Duffett as the next president of Eastern University. When he begins his new duties on July 1 of next year, Duffett will succeed David Black, who will retire after 15 years of service to the University.
Dr. Duffett comes to Eastern after serving for the past 12 years as president of Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota. For the past 27 years, he has served in various capacities in higher education, including campus pastor, dean, and provost. Said Dr. Ardell Thomas, who chaired Eastern's presidential search committee, "Bob Duffett brings a deep sense of purpose combined with decades of impactful leadership in Christian higher education. We were impressed with his skill set, his heart for ministry, and his passion for Eastern University's mission of Faith, Reason and Justice."
Dr. Duffett said that he and his wife, Connie, "sense a call to both Eastern University and this position. I look forward to leading a university that I have admired from my earliest days as a Christian."
As president at Dakota Wesleyan, Dr. Duffett has achieved national prominence for establishing the George McGovern Library, Museum and Center for Leadership and Public Service, which has attracted world leaders to discuss topics such as hunger, the alleviation of poverty, and public service. Dr. Duffett also developed Dakota Wesleyan's strategic plan and completed the largest comprehensive campaign in the school's history, exceeding $40 million.
Prior to coming to Dakota Wesleyan, Dr. Duffett served in leadership roles at other Christian institutions. As Provost and Academic Dean at Ottawa University, an American Baptist comprehensive university of 7,000 students with locations in four states and Asia, he led the faculty through an extensive curricular revision and academic governance reorganization while raising funds for scholarships and library technology. As Director of Doctoral Studies at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in suburban Chicago, he developed Hispanic and Korean language doctoral programs, quadrupling enrollments during his tenure.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Dr. Duffett earned his B.A. degree in psychology and Greek at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and his Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Theological Seminary. He holds a Master of Theological Studies degree in theology and communication from Princeton Theological Seminary. He earend his Ph.D. in organizational theory/management and historical theology at the University of Iowa. Bob and Connie have two children--a son and a daughter--both in college.