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Majors & Degrees

Otterson named VP for Institutional advancement

February 18, 2016

Bob Otterson, a regional and national leader in higher education advancement, has been named Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Dakota State University in Madison. The appointment, pending approval by the South Dakota Board of Regents, becomes effective March 22.

As vice president, Otterson will provide leadership to the fund-raising, alumni relations and marketing and communications functions and the DSU Foundation.

Otterson has worked since September 2007 as executive assistant to the president at South Dakota State University in Brookings. During his eight-plus years at SDSU, Otterson has supported two university-wide strategic plans, a staff transition in the SDSU Alumni Association, a $255.7 million comprehensive fund-raising campaign led by the SDSU Foundation, government relations and several administrative initiatives.

“We are delighted that Bob will be joining our leadership team here at DSU,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths. “He brings to DSU a wealth of skills, experience, and established regional connections that we need at the leadership level to move DSU forward to even greater success and impact.  Combining the institutional advancement role with leadership of our marketing and communications activities will address DSU’s need to present a more coherent, accurate and understandable picture of the University to our various constituents. We are pleased to have someone of his caliber come on board as our Vice President for Institutional Advancement. His enthusiasm in joining the DSU team speaks to the assets and potential that exist at the University, and that we are eager to synergize to fulfill DSU’s mission of being the technology-forward university in the South Dakota Regental system.”

Otterson is an active member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the premier organization for professionals in higher education fund-raising, alumni relations, marketing and communications. He becomes chair of CASE District VI in July and currently sits on the international organization’s District Chairs Council. He was first elected to the CASE District VI Board of Directors in 2009.

In conversations during the search process, Otterson emphasized advancement goals aligned with the university’s strategic direction, systematic processes to achieve those goals and the need for consistent messages and visual representation of the university.

“Advancement leaders often are described as the chief story-tellers at colleges and universities,” Otterson said. “Dakota State has some great stories in the making, and I look forward to sharing those with prospective students and their families, alumni, friends and industry partners through an integrated approach.”

Prior to his tenure at SDSU, Otterson served five-plus years as the director of marketing and communications at the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton, N.D., where he directed an extensive re-branding and marketing campaign that was recognized as recipient of the 2004 CASE VI gold award in the Publications Improvement category and the 2004 Silver Paragon Award from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations.

Otterson started his higher education career as in the University Relations and Alumni Affairs office at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall. He also has worked in corporate communications and non-profit public relations and at three daily newspapers in southern Minnesota. His work also has won awards from the International Association of Business Communicators Minnesota chapter, the Public Relations Society of America Kansas City chapter, National Agri-Marketing Association and the Advertising Federation of Fargo-Moorhead.

A native of Marshall, Minn., Otterson completed his bachelor of arts degree in communications from Augustana University in Sioux Falls and his master of science degree in mass communications and journalism at South Dakota State. He is working toward a doctor of education in higher education administration from the University of South Dakota. He and his wife, Lisa, live in Brookings with their three teen-age children.