Alumnus excited to speak during Founders Day ceremony

When Dr. Robert Boswell ’73 was a student at Marietta College, he heard about Founders Day though he didn’t know much about it.

Now, the Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement at the University of Colorado-Boulder, is excited to return and be the keynote speaker at the 182nd Founders Day on Thursday, Feb. 16.

“This will actually be my first Founders Day,” he joked. “I was happy to be asked to do this. I am appreciative of the education I received at Marietta. That’s what I want to focus on when I address everyone — I want it to be clear I appreciated the experiences I had at Marietta College.”

Boswell had enjoyed a distinguished career at CU-Boulder as a faculty member and researcher. He became an assistant professor in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology department and was tenured in 1993. He was also a teaching and graduate assistant while completing his doctorate at CU-Boulder from 1975-81.

Dr. Richard Danford, Marietta College’s Vice President for Student Life and Diversity, recommended Boswell as this year’s keynote speaker.

“I was able to connect with Bob at a national meeting and was impressed with his successes in increasing the number of graduate students from traditionally underrepresented populations in science programs,” Danford said. “I also learned that Bob had not been back to Marietta since he graduated, so I thought his nomination to speak at Founders Day would be a good way to showcase the impact of his career and also allow the College to reconnect with him.”

Boswell, who came to Marietta from Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has served in his current role since 2012. He said he is looking forward to returning to Marietta again.

“I played soccer in high school and my coach suggested that I go to Marietta because he had other students go to Marietta and he felt that personalized experience was critical to development,” Boswell said. “Then there were people like (faculty member) Paul Anderson, who encouraged me and told me I could go on and get a higher degree. That meant a lot to me.”

Boswell became the principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) in 2003. The IMSD program encourages educational institutions with fully developed research programs to initiate or expand innovative programs to improve the academic and research capabilities of underrepresented students.

“We are honored that Dr. Boswell has accepted our invitation to be this year’s Founders Day speaker,” said Dr. Mark Miller, Associate Provost. “Dr. Boswell has distinguished himself as an educator, a researcher and a university administrator working to improve diversity and inclusion in the world of higher education.  He embodies the Marietta College Pioneer spirit.”

Founders Day is also an opportunity to announce a number of faculty awards, including McCoy Professor and top advisor. Marietta College was officially chartered on Feb. 14, 1835. The College celebrates Founders Day on Feb. 14 or the Thursday immediately afterward.