Robert A. Oden bigraphy, stories - Presidents

Robert A. Oden : biography


Robert Allen Oden Jr. ( born September 11, 1946) was the president of Kenyon College from 1995-2002, and president of Carleton College from July 1, 2002 until June 30, 2010. He was also a significant professor in the early years of The Teaching Company, contributing several courses—God and Mankind: Comparative Religions, The Christian Religions and Religious Fundamentalism, and The Old Testament: An Introduction (2nd Edition)—as well as recruiting professors for the series Great World Religions (1st Edition).


Oden was born in Vermillion, South Dakota. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University. He then earned a second bachelor's degree and a master's from Cambridge University (where he was a Marshall Scholar) and a master's in theology and a Ph.D. in near Eastern languages and literatures from Harvard. He served on the faculty of Dartmouth College as a professor of religion from 1972 to 1989, where he was the first recipient of Dartmouth's Distinguished Teaching Prize.

Oden then served in administrative positions, first as headmaster of The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut from 1989 to 1995, and afterwards as president of Kenyon College from 1995 to 2002, when he accepted the presidency at Carleton College. While president he held a faculty appointment in the religion department at Carleton, and regularly taught a fly-fishing course at the college. He said of his decision to come to Carleton, referring to his childhood just across the border from Minnesota: "Perhaps all Americans have come to know parts of this great country in which we feel special comfort and a sense of being at home; it is this that has meant for [me and my wife] Carleton College's special appeal."

Oden is a longtime recreational runner who enjoys the trails of Northfield's Cowling Arboretum, and is also an avid fly-fisherman.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine