Robert G. Duffett, PhD
Dr. Robert G. Duffett, President of Eastern University since July 1, 2013, has served in a variety of leadership roles in Christian higher education for the past 27 years.
Robert G. Duffett, PhD
Dr. Duffett’s long relationship with Eastern University began when his pastor, an Eastern University graduate, encouraged him to pursue a career in ministry at his alma mater. Duffett reported, “I looked seriously at Eastern, but I wanted to play football even more, and Eastern didn’t field a football team.” He landed instead at Bethel College where he played football for two years and found his future wife, Connie, a life-long American Baptist. Her two uncles, both Palmer Seminary of Eastern University graduates, married them.
As president of Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) for the last 13 years, Dr. Duffett achieved national prominence for establishing the George McGovern Library, Museum and Center for Leadership and Public Service. Other key initiatives included the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship and the DWU Center for Talent Development, a collaboration with the Gallup Organization to strengthen student success by coordinating personal talents, educational goals and post-graduate planning. Dr. Duffett completed the largest comprehensive campaign in DWU history, exceeding $40 million, that included the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, the Sherman Center, the Wagner Chapel and Jackson Plaza. Academically, DWU added programs and locations, increased its academic profile, enhanced diversity and expanded student enrollments during Dr. Duffett's tenure. Dr. Duffett also took a leadership role in advocating for greater government support of students at South Dakota’s private colleges.
While serving as President of DWU, Dr. Duffett was a frequent contributor to newspapers throughout the state, writing dozens of columns and editorials on academic, religious and historic subjects. He has continued this publishing outreach with opinion pieces in Pennsylvania newspapers. "The Gospel According to George McGovern" appeared in the March, 2014 issue of Sojourners Magazine.
Prior to DWU, Dr. Duffett served as Provost and Academic Dean at Ottawa University, and as Director of Doctoral Studies at Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Lombard, IL. He also served as Campus Pastor and Dean of Christian Faith and Life at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.
A native of Youngstown, OH, Dr. Duffett attained his Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Greek from Bethel College, St. Paul, MN. His Master of Divinity degree was earned at Bethel Theological Seminary. His Master of Theological Studies degree in theology and communication hails from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his PhD in organizational theory/management and historical theology was secured at the University of Iowa. Bob and his wife, Connie, have a son and a daughter, both in college.