Evan Dobelle

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Evan Dobelle
Evan Dobelle7.jpg
19th Chief of Protocol of the United States
In office
March 2, 1977 – May 22, 1978
PresidentJimmy Carter
Preceded byShirley Temple Black
Succeeded byKit Dobelle
Personal details
Born (1945-04-22) April 22, 1945 (age 76)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationUniversity of Massachusetts, Amherst (BA, MA, EdD)
Harvard University (MPA)

Evan Samuel Dobelle (born April 22, 1945)[1] is a former public official and higher-education administrator, is known for promoting higher-education investment in the Creative Economy,[2] public-private partnerships and the "College Ready" model that helps students graduate from high school and college.[3] Dobelle currently serves as the Visiting Leadership Scholar at the Moeller Institute of Churchill College, Cambridge.[4]

Early life[edit]

Dobelle was born in Washington, D.C. on April 22, 1945.[5] Dobelle's father was prominent American surgeon Martin Dobelle; his older brother was medical researcher William H. Dobelle. Dobelle grew up between Pittsfield, Massachusetts and Cocoa Beach, Florida, where his father served on the medical staff for Project Mercury.

Dobelle began his undergraduate education at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, where he was named a Distinguished Alumnus.[6]

Education and career[edit]

Dobelle holds bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University.[7] Elected mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1973 and 1975, Dobelle was later Massachusetts State Commissioner of Environmental Management and Natural Resources. He was U.S. Chief of Protocol for the White House in the Carter administration with the rank of Ambassador. His wife Kit served as Chief of Protocol and Chief of Staff to First Lady Rosalynn Carter. He was the treasurer of the Democratic National Committee and National Chairman of the Carter-Mondale Presidential Committee.

Long before the 1980 presidential race, Dobelle worked as a Research Associate for Governor Ronald Reagan's commission for educational reform.[8]

Dobelle was President of Middlesex Community College in Lowell, Massachusetts from 1987 to 1990.

Dobelle was subsequently President and Chancellor of City College of San Francisco from 1990 to 1995. While in San Francisco, Dobelle decentralized administrative functions - a managerial model the College celebrated and maintained until it went into state receivership in 2012 nearly losing its accreditation.[9] While issues were identified by FCMAT, the report was issued seventeen years and three presidents after the end of Dobelle's tenure and none of the findings were attributed to Dobelle.[10]

While president of Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut (1995–2001), neighborhood renewal reversed declining enrollments.[11]

As president of the University of Hawaii from 2001 to 2004, he backed unifying the system's campuses, established the Academy of Creative Media, built a new medical school, reformed financial and building practices and strengthened Native Hawaiian programs. He was also criticized[12] for politicizing the university by endorsing Democrat Mazie Hirono for governor and for paying unusually high salaries to administrators (though typical by mainland standards). On June 15, 2004 Dobelle was fired by the Board of Regents, but this firing was deemed illegal and void.[13] Turnover on the Board of Regents meant that there were no Regents left who had selected him as President.[14] A few weeks later, Dobelle and the university reached a mediated settlement. Dobelle agreed to resign from the presidency and not to apply for any other University of Hawaii positions, and the university agreed to a two-year non-tenured research position and a settlement of $1.6 million in cash, a state pension for life, and a fully paid $2 million life insurance policy, and assumed all legal costs of $1.2 million, with no finding of wrongdoing on the part of either Dobelle or the board.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][12][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35]

The ensuing controversy caused a statewide referendum to be passed by 63% that changed the way Regents were appointed by the Governor and was upheld unanimously by the Hawaii Supreme Court.[36][37][38] The gubernatorial advisor and Regent who had initiated the process against Dobelle was subsequently rejected for reconfirmation by the state senate.[39]

In 2004, he became president of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). A few weeks later he was unanimously chosen to be President of NEBHE by the 48 delegates representing the six New England governors. Dobelle reorganized and focused the organization on core issues of access and affordability, significantly heightening NEBHE’s visibility and increasing external funding. Dobelle also energized participation of the six states in the region for the College Ready initiative and engaged all New England Governors, SHEEOS, and K–12 Education Commissioners in a single cooperative effort to address high school graduation rates and college access.

In December 2007 Dobelle was appointed president of Westfield State College in Westfield, Massachusetts. During his tenure the school's name was changed from "college" to "university."[40]

In August, 2013, an audit directed by the executive committee of the university's board of trustees found that Dobelle mixed personal and institutional expenses submitted for reimbursement; Dobelle countered that he had self-reported the accounting issue to the Chair and the university General Counsel, and that the issue had arisen due to the existing system. Auditors also questioned other expenses, including tickets to the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and a wire transfer to Vietnam, one of several expenses from a 2008 twelve-person academic delegation to Asia meant to raise Westfield's international profile and to raise funds. Reaction to the controversy includes an investigation by the state Attorney General's office and the withdrawal of a $100,000 gift; Dobelle countered that the pledge had been made years before and was not authentic.[41][42] Dobelle called the audit and its release illegal and defaming.[43][44] On November 8, 2013, Dobelle announced his resignation from Westfield State University and his retirement from public service.[45] However, he was still both suing the university and billing it for over 90 thousand dollars in his legal fees.[46] On July 31, 2014, the Massachusetts Inspector General's Office published the results of its investigation of Dobelle's spending while at Westfield State.[47] On April 30, 2015, Dobelle and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts settled.[48] The settlement required Dobelle to pay the Commonwealth $185,000 in legal fees (roughly 10% of the state's legal fees, per the settlement). The settlement agreement also prevents Dobelle from serving in a volunteer role in a Massachusetts public institution of higher learning, but with a conclusion of no wrongdoing on the part of Dobelle.[49][50][51][52]

He currently works as a consultant and board member in the nonprofit and private sectors. He also currently serves as the Visiting Leadership Scholar at the Moeller Institute at Churchill College, Cambridge.[53]

Research and recognition[edit]

He has researched and compiled the Saviors of Our Cities[54] list, which spotlights the top 25 universities and colleges that are exemplary examples of community revitalization and cultural renewal, economic drivers of the local economy, advocates of community service and urban developers, both commercially as well as in housing.[55][56][57]

Dobelle serves on the Executive Boards of the Consortium of Urban and Metropolitan Universities ( CUMU), the Commission on Effective Leadership of the American Council on Education (ACE), and the Council on International Education (CIEE).

Dobelle has received accolades during his career for success in community outreach as well as management of colleges inclusive of faculty issues, athletic teams, student engagement and being an agent for change.[58][59][60][61][62][63][64][65][66][67]


Dobelle's father was orthopedic surgeon Martin Dobelle, and his brother was scientist William H. Dobelle. He resides with his long-time wife, Kit. They have one son.


  1. ^ The New York Times Biographical Service - Google Books. January 1979. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
  2. ^ "Ex-President Dobelle Ranks 'Em". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2007-06-07.
  3. ^ Dobelle, Evan (2005-03-22). "Selling New England". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  4. ^ "Dr. Evan Dobelle - Moeller Institute".
  5. ^ Carter, Jimmy (February 9, 1977), Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Jimmy Carter, 1977, Book 1: January 20 to June 24, 1977, Washington, D.C.: General Services Administration, National Archives and Records Service, Office of the Federal Register, p. 101
  6. ^ "The Citadel Alumni Association". secure.citadelalumni.org. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  7. ^ "President Evan S. Dobelle Biography". Westfield State University web site. Archived from the original on 2011-01-30. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  8. ^ Burke, James (October 24, 1973). "Dobelle: a surfeit of jobs". Berksire Eagle.
  9. ^ Corry, Meghan. "The Evolution of Crisis at city College of San Francisco" (PDF). p. 84.
  10. ^ https://www.ccsf.edu/dam/Organizational_Assets/Department/budget/20120914_FCMAT.pdf
  11. ^ Wolfe, Fay (Winter 1998). "The Man to Do It". UMass Magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  12. ^ a b "Former UH president Dobelle placed on paid leave at Mass. university". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  13. ^ Gima, Craig (2004-06-16). "Dobelle Fired". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2007-05-28.
  14. ^ Basinger, Julianne (2004-07-23). "Wipeout in Hawaii". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  15. ^ Basinger, Julianne (2004-08-13). "U. of Hawaii Settles Dispute With President". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 2007-05-06.
  16. ^ "Dobelle: "I'm Astonished."". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Dobelle Knows Why He Was Fired". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Analysis: Who's in charge at UH? Can they be fired?". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  19. ^ Daysog, Rick. "Senate panel to investigate UH buyouts". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  20. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: To help 43 PR staff, UH hired 2 consultants for $150K". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  21. ^ "Regents schedule special meeting to discuss embattled UH president". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  22. ^ "Sources: Letter from Greenwood's lawyer prompted special regents' meeting". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  23. ^ "UH regents hire lawyer to help determine Greenwood's fate". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  24. ^ Daysog, Rick. "Who will replace UH's Greenwood?". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  25. ^ Daysog, Rick. "UH pays $800K to recruit top executives". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  26. ^ "UH legal bill for Greenwood's $2 million demand letter: $53K". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  27. ^ "UH spends $1.3 million upgrading empty College Hill mansion". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Former UH president won't step down amid critical reports about spending". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  29. ^ Zeitlin, Hugh. "Westfield State University president facing no-confidence vote". hawaiinewsnow.com. Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  30. ^ "Former UH President Evan Dobelle retires amid controversy". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  31. ^ "New UH president will be paid less than last 3 university leaders". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  32. ^ "Besides Arnold, UH has paid out $2.5M in settlements to fired officials since 2004". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  33. ^ "UH tells lawmakers it's made key changes to avoid pricey payouts". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  34. ^ "UH Manoa Clean Up". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  35. ^ "The House That Les Built". hawaiinewsnow.com. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  36. ^ Sakamoto, Norman (2007-07-24). "UH Board of Regents Candidate Advisory Council". Norman Sakamoto. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  37. ^ Bulletin, Star (2008-07-09). "Declare truce over UH regents and correct flawed law". Star Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  38. ^ Shikina, Robert (2007-08-27). "UH needs 12 new regents". Star Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  39. ^ "Senate votes against reconfirming Lagareta | The Honolulu Advertiser | Hawaii's Newspaper". the.honoluluadvertiser.com. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  40. ^ Lupkin, Sydney (10 July 2010). "What's in a name? Plenty, say backers of renaming state colleges". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  41. ^ Andrea Estes; Scott Allen (18 August 2013). "Westfield leader scrutinized for lavish charges". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  42. ^ Andrea Estes; Scott Allen (29 August 2013). "Donor cancels planned $100,000 gift to Westfield State". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  43. ^ Scott Allen; Andrea Estes (30 August 2013). "Westfield State president calls review defaming and illegal". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  44. ^ Scott Allen; Andrea Estes. "Westfield State University trustees vote to place embattled President Evan Dobelle on paid administrative leave". Boston.com. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  45. ^ Bob Dunn. "Dobelle announces resignation from Westfield State University". gazettenet.com. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  46. ^ Jack Flynn. "Former Westfield State University president Evan Dobelle's lawyer is billing the school for $99,000-plus in legal costs". masslive.com. Retrieved 12 December 2013.
  47. ^ Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General. "Review of Spending Practices by Former Westfield State University President Evan S. Dobelle" (PDF). Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  48. ^ Suffolk Superior Court. "FINAL JUDGEMENT BY CONSENT" (PDF). Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  49. ^ "Former Westfield State president Dobelle to pay $185,000 to resolve claims of lavish, improper spending - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  50. ^ "Ex-Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle 'finally' taking responsibility, state inspector general says". masslive.com. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  51. ^ "Former Trinity President Settles In Massachusetts College Spending Probe". courant.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  52. ^ Reporter, Andrea Estes-. "Former Westfield State president Dobelle to pay $185,000 to resolve claims of lavish, improper spending - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2019-02-22.
  53. ^ "Dr. Evan Dobelle | Møller Institute". Møller Institute. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  54. ^ "DOBELLE ANNOUNCES TOP 25 'BEST NEIGHBOR' COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES" (Press release). Archived from the original on 2010-06-18.
  55. ^ Aujla, Simmi (2009-10-12). "Penn and Southern Cal Top Ranking of Good-Neighbor Colleges" (PDF). The Chronicle of Higher Education. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  56. ^ "2009 Survey Names Nation's Top 25 'Best Neighbor' Colleges and Universities" (PDF). Reuters. 2009-10-12. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  57. ^ "Editorial: A collegial neighborhood" (PDF). The Philadelphia Inquirer. 2009-10-17. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  58. ^ "Dobelle Again Remaking A City" (PDF). Hartford Courant. 2009-08-25. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  59. ^ Dobelle, Evan (2009-03-28). "A winning battle plan on learning". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  60. ^ "Trinity: Decade of Dominance". ESPN. 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  61. ^ "Creative Economy: Region's New Success Ticket?". New England Futures. Archived from the original on 2005-12-15. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  62. ^ Furukawa, George (September 2002). "Sense and Sensibility". Business Services Industry. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  63. ^ Thomasson, Dan (2006-08-30). "At Long Last, a List We Can Value". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  64. ^ "Changes Bring Progress". Malamalama. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  65. ^ "United for Learning" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  66. ^ "The Learning Corridor Opens for Learning" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2009-11-19.
  67. ^ Gross, Jane (1997-04-14). "Trinity College Leads Effort To Spark Hartford's Renewal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-19.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Vicky L. Carwein
19th President of Westfield State University
December 2007-November 8, 2013
Succeeded by
Elizabeth "Liz" Hall Preston
(President Ad Interim)
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Brindle
22nd Mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts Succeeded by
Don Butler