The Fort Lewis College community is saddened at the passing of Robert (Bob) Dolphin Jr. on October 19. Dolphin was a passionate leader and educator, deeply involved in both the Durango community and at Fort Lewis College.
He first arrived at FLC in 1984 as dean of the School of Business Administration and a professor of finance. Just two years later, he would become acting vice president for business and finance and lead the school through troubled financial times.
In 2002, Dolphin took the helm of Fort Lewis College as president. One of his first major responsibilities was to guide FLC into independence from the Colorado State University system. During his tenure as president, the campus grew with the completion of new buildings and renovation of others. One of his most significant achievements in terms of infrastructure was the complete rewiring of campus for high-speed Internet. He retired as president in 2004.
Dolphin was also very active in his community. He served as a member of the Durango City Council before taking over as mayor of Durango in 1993. He led the Durango Chamber of Commerce as president and the United Way Campaign of Southwestern Colorado as chairman. He was also a part of the Durango Arts Center, Durango Daybreak Rotary Club, Durango Library Advisory Board, Durango Finance Advisory Board, Sheriff’s Citizens Advisory Board, and the Durango Choral Society. In all of his many efforts, his wife, Nancy, was by his side.
For his contributions to both Durango and Fort Lewis College, he was awarded the Durango Citizen of the Year award in 1999 and the FLC Achievement Award in 2002.
In a tribute to Dolphin upon his retirement from FLC, U.S. Representative Scott McInnis said, “Mr. Speaker, it is quite clear that Dr. Robert Dolphin is a person who has exemplified a strong commitment and dedication toward his life's pursuit of excellence in education and public service. His incredible devotion and passion for contributing towards the betterment of the Fort Lewis College and Durango community is worthy of recognition before this body of Congress and this nation.”
On October 11, FLC recognized Dolphin’s long and distinguished service to the College by naming the Presidential Suite in his honor. He was unable to attend the reception, but was watching via a family member's social media livestream, and his wife and family accepted the honor on his behalf. As a surprise, Steve Schwartz, vice president of Finance & Administration, presented a proclamation to Dolphin’s family, stating October 11 is to be recognized as Dr. Bob Dolphin Jr. Day.