Tina J. Knobel
Citation awarded June, 2013
This spring, Denisonians are saying goodbye to two very special people, Dale and Tina Knobel.
Dale, the college’s 19th president, will complete 15 years of leadership at Denison on June 30, taking the college to new heights as a nationally recognized, selective, residential liberal arts college. He has served the second longest term in the college’s history, after that of A. Blair Knapp (1951-1968).
First Lady Tina, has been a gracious hostess at their home Monomoy Place and its lovely gardens, as well as a valued community volunteer and leader.
Dr. Knobel will depart with two new Denison titles, President Emeritus and Professor of History Emeritus, and an honorary membership in the Hilltoppers, the men’s a cappella group with whom he sings occasionally. He met them early in his career here when some of them lived and rehearsed in Monomoy Annex near his home.
President Knobel began a strategic planning process soon after his arrival in 1998 to create a vision for Denison’s future, committing the college to securing its place among the nation’s leading undergraduate colleges of arts and sciences. This vision paved the way for the Higher Ground Campaign that far surpassed its goal, raising $178 million to support Denison people, programs, and facilities.
At the beginning of his presidency Dr. Knobel assured the faculty and the Trustees that they should not expect him to be a “building president,” but time proved him wrong. Along with creating handsome new facilities like the Burton D. Morgan Center and the Samson Talbot Hall of Biological Science flanking the Reese~Shackelford Common, as well as numerous apartment-style residence halls, the college under President Knobel’s leadership “recycled” and renewed many older buildings. Historic Cleveland Hall became the modern Bryant Arts Center, Ebaugh Chemistry Laboratories was enlarged and rebuilt, the 1940s Life Science Building became today’s Higley Hall, significant renovations took place in major classroom buildings like Knapp and Fellows, and Chamberlin Hall emerged from a historic fraternity building. The newly expanded Mitchell Center for Athletics and Recreation now houses the Trumbull Aquatics Center, a spacious natatorium with a 50-meter Olympic pool and separate diving pool, and the bi-level 80,000 square foot Crown Fitness Center, which will be completed this summer.
Among the myriad events which Tina hostessed at Monomoy and on campus during the past 15 years are Board of Trustee receptions; leadership donor events during Big Red and Reunion Weekends; dinners for transfer students and students from Hudson, Ohio; first-year student picnics and receptions for seniors before graduation; Alumni Citation luncheons; Commencement breakfasts; receptions and dinner for convocation speakers; all faculty-staff holiday lunches and receptions to start the new academic year; Paving the Way dinners; Admissions tour guides receptions; etiquette receptions for students; and opening Monomoy for the Granville Candlelight Walking Tour.
In addition to their responsibilities at Denison, both have been actively involved in Granville, Licking County, and Ohio civic activities, raising funds for charity and serving as leaders at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art, & Technology; the Newark Midland Theater; the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra; the Newark Center for Disability Services; the Granville Historical Society; the Robbins Hunter Museum, the Think Pink Fundraiser for Breast Cancer; the Lakeside Chautauqua Association; the Granville Garden Club; the PEO (the Women’s Philanthropic Educational Organization) and St. Vincent de Paul homeless shelter. Both were members of the Granville Centenary United Methodist Church where Tina belonged to the Altar Guild, delivered Meals on Wheels and was a teacher for the after-school Terrific Tuesday program. An avid gardener, she was a member of the Governor’s Mansion and Gardens Preservation effort in Columbus and took first place several times with her beautiful hostas at the Hartord Fair. She was also a sponsor of “Art in the Gardens” at Monomoy Place to help promote local female artists. Dale was commended for his community engagement by both the Granville Rotary Club and the Granville Chamber of Commerce and Tina was the first recipient of the Boy Scout Service Award in 2010.
The Knobels are moving back to Georgetown, Texas, where he plans to author two new books and return to writing as an historian. They also will have the joy of living near their grandsons Grant Matthew and Connor and their son-in-law Daron Sitton.
During the Denison Board of Trustees meeting in April, the official portrait of the 19th president, painted by New England artist Robert Anderson, was unveiled and hung in the Presidents’ Room of the William Howard Doane Library. In addition, the former Welsh Hills Room in the Burton D. Morgan Center has been renamed Knobel Hall in honor of President and Mrs. Knobel.
They will be genuinely missed by many, but never forgotten.