Robert A. Oden

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Robert Oden
10th President of Carleton College
In office
Preceded byStephen Lewis
Succeeded bySteven G. Poskanzer
22nd President of Kenyon College
In office
Preceded byPhilip H. Jordan
Succeeded byS. Georgia Nugent
Personal details
BornVermillion, South Dakota, U.S.
Alma materHarvard University
Cambridge University

Robert Allen Oden Jr. (/ˈdn/; born September 11, 1946)[1] was the president of Kenyon College from 1995 to 2002,[2] and president of Carleton College from 2002 to 2010.[3] He was also a significant professor in the early years of The Teaching Company, contributing several courses—God and Mankind: Comparative Religions, The Christian Religions and Religious Fundamentalism, and The Old Testament: An Introduction (2nd Edition)—as well as recruiting professors for the series Great World Religions (1st Edition).


Oden was born in Vermillion, South Dakota. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University. He then earned a second bachelor's degree and a master's from Cambridge University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) and a master's in theology and a Ph.D. in near Eastern languages and literatures from Harvard. He served on the faculty of Dartmouth College as a professor of religion from 1972 to 1989, where he was the first recipient of Dartmouth's Distinguished Teaching Prize.

Oden then served in administrative positions, first as headmaster of The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut from 1989 to 1995, and afterwards as president of Kenyon College from 1995 to 2002, when he accepted the presidency at Carleton College. While president he held a faculty appointment in the religion department at Carleton, and regularly taught a fly-fishing course at the college.[4] He said of his decision to come to Carleton, referring to his childhood just across the border from Minnesota: "Perhaps all Americans have come to know parts of this great country in which we feel special comfort and a sense of being at home; it is this that has meant for [me and my wife] Carleton College's special appeal."[5]

Oden is a longtime recreational runner who enjoys the trails of Northfield's Cowling Arboretum, and is also an avid fly-fisherman.[6]


  1. ^ "Robert A. Oden - KCpedia". Archived from the original on 2011-05-30.
  2. ^ "Kenyon College's Presidents". Archived from the original on 2012-12-14. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  3. ^ "Kenyon in the News 2009". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  4. ^ "Kenyon in the News". Retrieved 2011-02-23.
  5. ^ "Kenyon College / Fortnightly / February 11, 2002". Archived from the original on 2004-12-30. Retrieved 2005-05-04.
  6. ^ "Robert A. Oden, Carleton's 10th President - Carleton College".

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