Bethami Dobkin, Ph.D., Named 19th President of Westminster College

Beth Dobkin web

Mar 19, 2018

SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College’s Board of Trustees has selected Bethami Dobkin, Ph.D., as the 19th president of Westminster College. Dobkin will join Westminster in July with inauguration celebrations planned for the fall.

Dobkin has a distinguished history in higher education as a faculty member and an academic leader – most recently as provost of Saint Mary’s College of California. Dobkin succeeds Stephen R. Morgan, who will retire in May after three years as president and 37 years in leadership roles at Westminster.

“Dr. Dobkin is a proven changemaker in higher education whose values align perfectly with the things that matter the most to us at Westminster,” said Jeanne Ambruster, chair of Westminster’s Board of Trustees. “She brings successes in student enrollment, retention and graduation rates along with a passion for the power of education to develop human potential and create a more just world. The college welcomes her fortitude in tackling big challenges, and the board is confident her vision aligns with Westminster’s strategic goals for the future.”

Saint Mary’s President James Donahue offered his congratulations to Westminster in the selection of Dobkin as the college’s next president.

“Beth Dobkin is by far one of the most gifted leaders that I have ever worked with in higher education,” Donahue said. “She is also keenly aware of the many complexities affecting higher education today, and the critical role that liberal arts institutions serve in helping to shape the academic curricula and ethical priorities for colleges and universities in our nation.”

The board of trustees selected Dobkin after a nationwide search – a rigorous and insightful process facilitated by Isaacson, Miller, a national search firm. A search committee comprising trustees and campus stakeholders (staff, faculty, students, emeritus trustees and alums) narrowed the candidate pool to four finalists and presented the board of trustees with their recommendation.

“The liberal arts come alive at Westminster, and a dedication to students shows in everything the college does,” Dobkin said. “I’m excited to join an institution devoted to the personal and professional success of students, and enthusiastic about building on the college's strong foundations.”

Dobkin joins a line of Westminster presidents charged with fueling the lifelong curiosity that a liberal arts education inspires. She will serve as the college’s 19th president and will be the second woman to lead the college.

 “I am honored to serve as the next leader of this impressive institution. The college inspires exploration and creativity, bringing out the best of students both in and out of the classroom,” Dobkin said.  “In a world becoming increasingly divided, Westminster offers an education that can build connections and bring people together to help solve today’s most pressing human problems. I look forward to working with the Westminster community to provide students with an inclusive and supportive education, one that challenges students to create, innovate and lead with passion and integrity."

In addition to her anticipation of joining the Westminster community, Dobkin said her family is also looking forward to exploring Utah's storied landscapes with their horses. Dobkin has been married for 27 years to her husband, Randy Chiotti. The couple have two children: Alexandra, who is headed to graduate school in architecture this fall, and Randall, who will be attending a University of California campus as an undergraduate. 

President Morgan, 63, leaves a legacy of dedication after 37 years at Westminster. He’s served as an auditor, treasurer, executive vice president and vice president for institutional advancement. He has also advised six past presidents on major campus decisions since 1981.


About Beth Dobkin:

Bethami (Beth) Dobkin, Ph.D., provost emeritus and professor of communication, served for the past 10 years as provost and vice president for academic affairs of Saint Mary's College of California (SMC), a private, comprehensive and Catholic university that is highly ranked in the western region as a top 10 college by US News & World Report, and serves approximately 4,000 students. She oversaw the academic vision and operational management of the college, with specific responsibility for academic affairs, enrollment, student affairs and technology. Dobkin is a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and serves on the boards of the Foundation for Hispanic Education and Ujima Family Recovery Services.

Under Dobkin’s direction, Saint Mary’s College achieved upward trends in enrollment, retention and graduation rates, and she led the college to achieving national recognition in hybrid executive education, performing arts, diversity initiatives, community service and study abroad. Dobkin’s initiatives led to the highest graduation rates in the college’s history, with a 15% increase in the four-year graduation rate of first-time, first-year students during her tenure, and acquisition of over $4 million in federal grants as a minority and Hispanic-serving institution. A champion of inclusive excellence in higher education, she established SMC’s College Committee on Inclusive Excellence (CCIE), a Bias Incident Response Team, campus-wide diversity training and the college’s first chief diversity officer.

Dobkin was honored by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the “Most Influential Women in Business in the Bay Area” in 2015 and 2014, and in 2013 she was identified by Diablo Magazine as one of six “Women to Watch.” Previously, she directed the University of Massachusetts Public Debate program and taught at Hartford University, the University of Connecticut and the College of Our Lady of the Elms. Dobkin has achieved national recognition for her research and teaching in the area of media and conflict. Her honors have included a fellowship in executive leadership with the American Council on Education and lifetime membership in Phi Kappa Phi. She earned her doctorate and a master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and received a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Humboldt State University.

More information and a full CV available at

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About Westminster

Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.

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