Remembering Bob Bontrager

Thoughts about a mentor.

October 22, 2014

"We need to figure out how we're going to be high-tech while also being high-touch." That was one of many memorable thoughts that Bob Bontrager would share with me during countless conversations in his office at Oregon State University. Bob passed away on October 17th and I will miss his wisdom, wit, and leadership.

As the Assistant Provost for Enrollment Management at Oregon State University (OSU), Bontrager helped to dramatically increase OSU's enrollment. He was an internationally known leader in strategic enrollment management and served as the Director of AACRAO Consulting. Bob was also an instructor in the College of Education for the College Student Services Administration (CSSA) program.

My first encounter with Bob was in 2004 when I was interviewing for admission into CSSA at OSU. During the interview, Bob talked about the importance of quality web services for enrollment management and asked if I would be interested in working for him. Bob was incredibly smart when it came to seeing the big picture of higher education. He saw how important technology was for student services. He created a graduate assistantship for me as the student affairs web specialist. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work for him during my graduate school experience. Additionally, Bob taught courses within the CSSA program. His knowledge of strategic enrollment management benefitted the OSU community in a variety of ways.

After I graduated from OSU, Bob hired me to do numerous technology-related consulting projects with AACRAO. He taught me a lot about how to be a consultant within higher education. He was always teaching.

"His life and legacy of service were a model to us all and impacted the lives of countless thousands of students, administrators and faculty through his commitment to improving how colleges and universities worldwide think about and plan for enrollment and student success." - AACRAO.

The last 10 years of my career has been shaped and guided by Bob Bontrager. From graduate school to consulting, he taught me how to be a better thinker, writer, planner, and professional. I am going to miss our conversations.


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