By Ken Owen
GREENCASTLE, Ind. (DePauw) - Dr. Robert G. Bottoms, who has served longer than any president in the 170-year history of United Methodist-related DePauw University, will retire from the position at the conclusion of the 2007-08 academic year and become Chancellor of the University. Bottoms announced his intentions April 19 to DePauw's Board of Trustees, which began its spring meeting on the Greencastle campus. DePauw's eighteenth president, Bottoms has led the University since 1986.
"I have great love for this college and its people, but after 21 years in this position, I feel the time is right to make this move," said Bottoms. "Being a college president is a very rewarding, yet personally demanding job. I look forward to spending more time with my wife, Gwen, and our children and grandchildren. And, of course, I will remain engaged in the life of the University as Chancellor."
In that role, Bottoms will oversee the Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. He also plans to write a book on leadership.
"Bob has made his decision to retire as president and assume a new role as chancellor with the same professionalism and dedication to DePauw that has characterized every aspect of his remarkable tenure," said James B. Stewart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author who has chaired DePauw's Board of Trustees for the past three years. "He leaves the University immeasurably stronger than when he came and in a position to attract an outstanding successor. We are fortunate indeed to have his continued leadership, wisdom, energy and friendship as DePauw embarks on this important transition."
Stewart has formed a committee of Trustees who will begin the search for Bottoms' successor immediately.
During Bottoms' tenure at the helm of DePauw, the University has become a national, top-tier liberal arts college and an institution with much more diversity and resources:
Currently, 14 percent of DePauw's faculty members are minorities, up from 3 percent in 1986.
16.4 percent of DePauw's students today are from diverse cultural backgrounds; it was 3.5 percent when he assumed the presidency.
ePauw became the first college in the nation to host two Posse groups (from New York and Chicago). A youth leadership development and college access organization, the Posse program sends highly qualified students from diverse backgrounds to selective colleges and universities throughout the country.
"I don't think the University would have made the progress it has over the past two decades if we hadn't made our community more reflective of the world our graduates live in," said Bottoms. "Our commitment to make our campus more diverse - racially, economically, culturally and now, internationally - serves to create informed citizens of the world who will be the change agents of generations to come."
His career in higher education began when he was appointed chaplain and assistant to the president at United Methodist-related Birmingham-Southern College. He later moved to the Vanderbilt Divinity School as assistant dean and assistant professor of church and ministry. In 1978, DePauw University selected Bottoms as its vice president for university relations; he subsequently advanced to executive vice president of the University before being named president in 1986, succeeding Richard F. Rosser.
Married 38 years to Gwen Vickers Bottoms, the couple has two children and two grandchildren.
For more information, log on to www.depauw.edu.
Ken Owen serves as director of communications at DePauw University.