Meet President Rob Huntington

Dr. Robert H. Huntington became the 14th president of Heidelberg University on July 1, 2009. Since his arrival, he has prioritized the strengthening of Heidelberg’s core student mission of education excellence, full engagement, total success, 4-year graduation, and preferred placement. Heidelberg has become more contemporary and relevant for students, sharpening its focus on the needs and priorities identified in the Academic Strategic Initiatives for Improvement Plan (ASIIP) and the Academic Strategic Programs Prioritization Plan (ASPPP). Approximately $100 million has been raised over the past decade, including through the highly successful Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence (ACCE). Heidelberg continues to invest in new academic programs, faculty and staff, innovative teaching and learning, campus technology, and new or renovated facilities for academics, athletics, and residential living under his leadership. 

In recent years, Heidelberg has launched a series of highly innovative, market-driven initiatives, including the Heidelberg Tuition Guarantee, the Four-Year Graduation Guarantee, the HYPE Career Ready® Program, and the PlusOneAdvantage® Tuition- Free MBA Scholarship, setting the University apart and giving students big opportunities and life advantages as they prepare for their post-graduation careers and lives of purpose with distinction. 

During Dr. Huntington’s tenure, Heidelberg has introduced critical new student programming and resources with the implementation of the AIM Hei Faculty-Student Mentoring Program for all first-time students and enhanced student resources through closer collaboration of the Owen Center for Teaching and Learning and the Stoner Health and Counseling Center

Early in his presidency, he led the planning, development, and ongoing revision of the Heidelberg University Strategic Action Plan 2010-2020. As the University has progressed through these goals and priorities, the campus has undergone a tremendous physical  transformation with the construction or renovation of 20 student-centered facilities that have dramatically improved the overall campus experience. A cross-functional strategic planning committee is now developing the Heidelberg University Strategic Growth Action Plan FY 2021-2025.

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, Minnesota and raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon, Dr. Huntington is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Middlebury College, earning his undergraduate B.A. degree in Political Science and German, a language in which he is fluent. He received his M.A. degree in German literature from Middlebury’s University of Mainz program in Germany, his M.B.A. degree 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. 

In the community, he was chair of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee for three years and remains an active member. He is also a member of the Tiffin Community Foundation Board of Trustees, the East Green Foundation Board of Trustees, the Lakeside Chautauqua Board of Directors, and the Tiffin Rotary. In higher education, he is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC) and serves as a Trustee for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Ohio (AICUO). Nationally, Dr. Huntington served on the NCAA Division III Presidents Council and as a member of the Strategic Planning and Finance Committee, while also representing the Ohio Athletic Conference on the NCAA Division III Presidents Advisory Group, for seven years. 

Dr. Huntington is married to Dr. Susan M. McCafferty, a clinical psychologist and an attorney, whom he met at their undergraduate alma mater, Middlebury College. She is an adjunct professor, the pre-law adviser, and chair of the Patricia Adams Lecture Series selection committee. They are the parents of two children, Ashley (graduate at the University of Cambridge in England) and Aidan (undergraduate at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania). As Tiffin homeowners, they are very engaged in helping to make Heidelberg’s hometown a more vibrant community for everyone.

Highlights of President Huntington’s Administration

Through innovative academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular programming, Heidelberg is focused on creating big opportunities and offering life advantages, leading to a life of purpose with distinction for all students.

Here are a few Initiatives designed to encourage those opportunities and advantages:

  • The Four-Year Graduation Guarantee, launched in Spring 2018, offers students an easy-to-follow path to stay on track toward graduation in four years.  For students who complete all of the requirements of the guarantee and are unable to graduate on time, Heidelberg will cover the cost of tuition for their remaining courses and offer free room and board.
  • By participating in the HYPE Career Ready® Program, students will have – in addition to an academic transcript – a co-curricular transcript, detailing the career-oriented skill-building opportunities they completed through HYPE. These employee-driven skills include communication, collaboration, conflict management, values, work styles and job search skills.
  • The PlusOneAdvantage® Free MBA Program gives students of all majors who meet certain academic criteria the unique opportunity to earn a Master of Business Administration degree, tuition-free in the year following graduation.
  • Our long-term food service partner, Parkhurst Dining, has created a Clean Plate Station that provides an allergen-free dedicated space inside Hoernemann Refectory for cooking, service and storage of fresh ingredients and materials to accommodate students who deal with food allergies or special dietary requirements.
  • Heidelberg is focused on investing and reinvesting in our core academic mission through the multi-year Academic Strategic Initiatives for Improvement Plan (ASIIP), currently in its second year.  As of June 30, 3018, the University had invested $2.1 million in ASIIP initiatives, including the hiring of 13 new full-time faculty, appointing three new deans and one interim dean, two directors and two academic staff members.
  • Through ASIIP, the most recent new major in exercise science was launched, along with a new track in insurance and risk management.  On the horizon, the video game production minor will be elevated to a major with new academic programming coming in cybersecurity and watershed science and security.  A Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, in collaboration with Terra State Community College, is being developed.
  • Also an ASIIP initiative, the new Center for Teaching Excellence is serving as a hub for teaching resources and faculty support toward the goal of student-centered success.
  • The AIM Hei Faculty-Student Mentoring Program, operated through the Owen Center for Academic & Career Support, is one of many academic resources designed to ease the transition to college life and lead to student education excellence, overall student success, and graduation.  AIM Hei is a two-semester program that pairs all first-time students with a faculty mentor to help successfully navigate through the first year of college.
  • Since 2011, the Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence (ACCE), has been extremely successful with $30.8 million in cash gifts received and pledged, along with $33.7 million pledged in estate gifts (as of June 30, 2018).  The $64.5 million ACCE total represents the largest-ever and most successful fund-raising effort in Heidelberg’s history.
  • With ACCE as the framework, Heidelberg now is funding new ASIIP priorities, elevating the ACCE goal from $75 million to $100 million.  ACCE priorities include new faculty endowed chairs (in addition to the three established under President Huntington’s tenure); new faculty professorships, the Center for Teaching Excellence and bold, innovative new academic programs.
  • Over the course of the 2010-20 Strategic Action Plan, the University has built or renovated 13 facilities, including: Adams Hall, the Media Communication Center, Talmage Residence Hall, The University Commons and Berg Bistro 1850, Saurwein Health & Wellness Center, Beeghly Library, the Bryenton Honors Center, Hoernemann Stadium and The Fox Den Alumni Center, Frann’s Field (softball), Seiberling Gymnasium interior, Hoernemann Refectory (Phase I and Phase II), new turf and track at Hoernemann Stadium, and Pfleiderer Hall. Coming next are a major restoration/renovation of the historic France Residence Hall and construction of a new Student & Community Welcome Center.


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