Dale T. Knobel has served as president of two leading national liberal arts colleges, Texas’ Southwestern University and Ohio’s Denison University. His history with Southwestern is long. In the mid-1990s, he was Southwestern’s Provost and Dean of the Faculty. During that time, Knobel was charged with leading the development of the University’s strategic plan, a process that led to articulation of the core values and purpose that still guide Southwestern in the 21st century. That leadership role prepared him well for the fifteen years that he gave to the presidency of Denison University. Named a Denison President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus in 2013, Dr. Knobel returned to Georgetown and reconnected with Southwestern. From 2016-2018, he chaired SU’s Board of Visitors and subsequently became a member of the University’s Board of Trustees.
A widely-published historian, Dr. Knobel began his career teaching at Northwestern University and joined the Department of History at Texas A&M University in 1977. The focus of his scholarship is upon the history of American ethnic and race relations and on immigration to the United States. He is the author or co-author of books published by Harvard University Press, Wesleyan University Press, and Simon & Schuster. Invited to join the administration of Texas A&M, Knobel successively served as Director of the University Honors Program, Executive Director for Honors Programs and Academic Scholarships, and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Programs. In 1994, Knobel earned Texas A&M’s Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award.
During Knobel’s fifteen years as president of Denison University, he was elected to the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and to the NCAA’s Division III President’s Council. He was board chair of both the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio. In 2012, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education recognized his impact upon Denison and higher education with its Chief Executive Leadership Award.
Dr. Knobel is chair of the Board of Directors of the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and served during 2018-19 as President of the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations. He is also a member of the boards of trustees of the Texas Methodist Foundation and the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
Knobel earned a bachelor’s degree cum laude and with honors in history from Yale University in 1971 and a Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in 1976. At Northwestern he held the James Alton James Fellowship and the national Cokesbury Award in College Teaching. He was awarded the honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Denison University in 2013. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Dale Knobel and his wife, Tina, were both born near Cleveland, Ohio, and are celebrating forty-nine years of marriage in 2020.