Dr. Robert H. Huntington became the 14th president of Heidelberg University on July 1, 2009. Since his arrival, strengthening the university’s core mission has been placed at the forefront, with an intense focus on two long-term strategic goals: Improving Academic Excellence and Improving the Student Experience. Dr. Huntington led the creation of a Strategic Action Plan that is guiding the university’s work and progress through 2018. Toward these goals, the university has built five new facilities (business school, communications, residence hall, commons and health center), renovated two facilities (library and honors), reshaped the campus (landscaping and parking), and introduced critical new student programs (faculty mentoring, career planning, foreign study, and new majors) since Huntington arrived in 2009.
Dr. Huntington came to Heidelberg after 25 years in the corporate sector, having worked in a variety of executive management positions for more than 22 years at Dunkin’ Brands Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts. Additionally, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees for 11 years at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts.
Born in 1955 in Minneapolis and raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Dr. Huntington is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Middlebury College, earning his undergraduate degree in political science and German, a language in which he is fluent. He went on to receive his master’s degree in German literature from Middlebury’s University of Mainz (Germany) program, his MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and his Ed.D. degree in higher education administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Huntington holds the rank of associate professor of business at Heidelberg, where he oversees a Senior Leadership Team comprised of administrators in Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Institutional Advancement, Enrollment Management and Administration and Business Affairs. As a member of the faculty, he also mentors undergraduate students.
In the community, he is serving as chair of the Board of Directors of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. and is a member of the Tiffin Rotary and the Tiffin Charitable Foundation.
Dr. Huntington is married to Dr. Susan McCafferty, a licensed clinical psychologist and a licensed attorney, whom he met at their undergraduate alma mater, Middlebury College. They are the parents of two children, Ashley and Aidan.
“Hei-lights” of President Robert Huntington's Administration
- Strengthening the university’s core mission has been placed at the forefront, with an intense focus on two long-term goals: enhancing academic excellence and the student experience. Dr. Huntington led the creation of a Strategic Action Plan that will guide the university’s work and progress for the next five years and beyond. A series of key strategic initiatives have been developed around six “pillars” of Recruitment, Engagement, Retention, Success, Graduation, and Return. All feed into the upcoming multi-million-dollar Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence.
- The transformation of the former Laird Hall into the state-of-the-art Adams Hall, home to the School of Business, was completed. With its revised curriculum tailored to meet the needs of the current generation students who will become the executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future, Adams Hall, named in honor of major benefactor John Q. Adams, an alumnus and trustee, opened on schedule on August` 30, 2010.
- Through the generosity of Mr. Adams and his wife, Patricia, the university is launching the Patricia Adams Lecture Series, designed to bring to campus twice annually exceptional women in all fields who will discuss important leadership issues such as business ethics, organizational strategy, corporate citizenship, balancing work and family and other timely topics. The inaugural speaker in the series will be on campus on September 17-18 in conjunction with the dedication of Adams Hall.
- President Huntington secured approval from the Board of Trustees for Heidelberg to construct a new Residence Life and Learning Hall in the heart of the campus. Construction on the lease-to-own facility is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2010 and be ready for primarily sophomore occupants by in the fall of 2011. In addition, the construction will include an innovative University Commons space for all students and campus members. Students are providing input to both projects.
- With the explosion of social and multi-media, Heidelberg has planned for the creation of a Media Communication Center that will be the new home to commercial radio station WTTF, along with Heidelberg’s WHEI-FM and WHEI-TV stations. This breakthrough center will open in November 2010. The new teaching and learning facility will include studios, office and gathering space and a classroom, all focused around the business of communication.
- Marketing and branding efforts have become more effective and efficient across campus, with the formation of a cross-functional Marketing and Advertising Team, Trustee Marketing Advisory Group and improvements in the area of brand positioning, messaging, and advertising. One key result is the new brand positioning tagline for the university, “Purpose with distinction,” that connects everything to the Heidelberg Mission Statement.
- For the first time in more than 60 years, Heidelberg hosted two home football games on campus in conjunction with inauguration festivities in November 2009. The response was so enthusiastic and positive that the university is now planning, as one of the key strategic initiatives, to build a stadium and an accompanying alumni center in the next few years. In the meantime, home football games and other fall athletic events are on campus to stay by using temporary bleachers and facilities.
- Travel abroad was part of President Huntington’s first year. He visited the University of Heidelberg, meeting with his counterpart there and with staff of Heidelberg’s American Junior Year Program. He also visited Tianjin Normal University in Tianjin, China, where Heidelberg shares a faculty exchange. Both trips strengthened already great relationships and were designed to build international learning opportunities for Heidelberg students.