Robert G. Bottoms
Robert G. Bottoms is in his 20th year as president of DePauw University. A native of Birmingham, Ala., President Bottoms earned a bachelor’s degree at Birmingham-Southern College, Bachelor of Divinity degree at Emory University and doctorate at Vanderbilt University. His career in higher education was launched when he was appointed chaplain and assistant to the president at Birmingham-Southern. He later moved to the Vanderbilt Divinity School as assistant dean and assistant professor of church and ministry. In 1978 DePauw selected him as its vice president for university relations; he subsequently advanced to executive vice president of the University before being named president in 1986.His previous years at DePauw provided the new president with unique, in-depth insights into the life of the University community; thus, he immediately established three key goals for his administration – increasing campus diversity, improving science education and advancing moral reflection. In the intervening years, one of President Bottoms’ most significant achievements has been making DePauw’s faculty, staff and student body more diverse. He is fully committed to developing a community that embraces geographic, socioeconomic and racial diversity as DePauw students prepare for a global workforce. Under his leadership, DePauw has made significant advances in the sciences, its cutting-edge programming highlighted by the campus-wide computer science/technology initiatives (underwritten, in part, by a $20-million grant from Lilly Endowment) known as 361º. Due to President Bottoms’ continuing efforts, moral reflection has been more fully integrated into the classroom and across the community. This perhaps is best demonstrated by the April 2003 symposium, “Political Education and the Modern University” and DePauw Discourse 2005, which focused on leadership and ethics – both events giving students, faculty and staff members an opportunity to interact with some of the nation’s leading thinkers about the role of colleges and universities in the preparation of future citizens. President Bottoms has led two highly successful fund-raising endeavors, the most recent being the Campaign for DePauw: Leadership for a New Century, which culminated in April 2000 with gifts and commitments in excess of $374 million. This achievement was recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education when he was named in 2000 a recipient of the CASE V Chief Executive Leadership Award. As a result of that record-setting effort, DePauw has hired additional faculty members, constructed new state-of-the-art buildings and renovated existing structures, and gained greater recognition as a leading national liberal arts college. He currently serves with the boards of the Posse Foundation in New York City, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Chicago, Joyce Foundation in Chicago and Center for Leadership Development in Indianapolis. In addition, President Bottoms has been a consultant to the Lilly Endowment, Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and Fund for Theological Education. He has written articles and opinion pieces for The New York Times, Indianapolis Star and Chicago Tribune. President Bottoms’ contributions to athletics at DePauw are truly noteworthy. In 1985, working on behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Dr. Philip Eskew ’63 approached him to introduce the idea of recognizing alumni who have made exceptional contributions in athletics at DePauw and who have continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by intercollegiate athletics. The first Athletic Hall of Fame induction was held in 1986, thanks to President Bottoms’ strong support and leadership. Furthermore, the following year, he endorsed the expansion of the “D” Association program to include the presentation of “D” blankets to 50th reunion letter winners.
During President Bottoms’ tenure, the Indoor Tennis and Track Center was constructed, Blackstock Stadium was remodeled and a new softball field was created. The Board of Directors is pleased to induct President Bottoms as an honorary member as he has significantly supported, enhanced and advanced the interscholastic athletic programs at DePauw.