Fall 2013

[Alumni News]

Bethami Dobkin

Saint Mary’s Top Academician

Bethami Dobkin When Bethami Dobkin (’85, Speech Communication) became Provost of Saint Mary’s College of California, she says it was like coming home.

“I arrived on campus and found myself standing in front of a huge redwood tree,” she recalls. “The natural beauty, the fragrance—it was like I was in Humboldt.”
Dobkin grew up in Arcata, where her father, Milt Dobkin, was HSU Vice President of Academic Affairs from 1969-1986.

After graduating, she earned a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Social Order from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. But after a few years in New England, she found herself back on the West Coast.

Dobkin served as a communication professor at the University of San Diego for 17 years before becoming associate provost there in 2005. For Dobkin, the shift from teaching to administration was a natural one.

“I found that it was rewarding for me to promote education more broadly and to create the best learning environment for faculty and students,” she says. “That being said, I love the classroom and still do teach once in a while.”

In 2008, Dobkin made another career jump—this time, becoming Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif. The mid-sized, Catholic and comprehensive university founded in the liberal arts tradition promotes values also found at HSU such as social justice and public service.

As the university’s chief academic officer, Dobkin’s goal is to expand student opportunities through education. “In my mind, one of the most important acts in promoting a democracy is through engaged citizens, who are informed through higher education.”

After all these years, Dobkin treasures the education she received at HSU and the time she spent in Arcata. “I consider the agriculture, the trees and the redwoods to be a huge part of what makes me happy,” she says. “I love the Lumberjack green. It’s part of who I am.”