Dr. Kathy A. Krendl
Executive Assistant: Sarah L. Hickey, firstname.lastname@example.org
President Kathy A. Krendl took office July 1, 2009, becoming Otterbein University's 20th president. She is the first woman to lead Otterbein, a school with a rich history of inclusiveness. Otterbein was one of the first schools to admit women on an equal basis with men, and has admitted women to its full-time academic programs since its founding in 1847.
President Krendl received her bachelor's degree in English from Lawrence University (Wisconsin), her master's degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and her doctorate degree in communication from the The University of Michigan. After holding teaching positions at Ohio State, Southern Illinois, and Indiana University, President Krendl joined Ohio University in 1996 as a professor of Telecommunications and dean of the University's Scripps College of Communication. In 2004, she was appointed provost and became responsible for 11 colleges on the University's main campus. In 2007, she was promoted to executive vice president and provost.
President Krendl was chosen to lead Otterbein following an eight-month nationwide search by a 14-person Search Committee. The Committee included representatives from all Otterbein constituencies, including trustees, faculty, students, administrators, support staff and alumni.
President Krendl is joined at Otterbein by her husband, Richard Gilbert, who teaches journalism and communication at Otterbein. Gilbert has worked in university press book publishing, holds a master's degree in creative nonfiction writing from Goucher College and was a Kiplinger Fellow in Journalism at The Ohio State University.
The couple has one son, Tom, and one daughter, Claire. Visit the President's Site for more information about President Krendl.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Miguel Martinez-Saenz comes to Otterbein from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, where he served as dean of University College and associate provost for student success. In this position, he provided leadership, vision, supervision and evaluation to an array of programs and services aimed at improving student access, success and retention.
Martinez-Saenz previously held positions as associate provost, assistant provost for the First-Year Experience, interim assistant provost for Academic Services, director of the First-Year Seminars and associate professor of philosophy at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.
He earned his associate’s degree from Tallahassee Community College; bachelor’s degree in religion from Florida State University; and master’s and doctorate degrees in philosophy from the University of South Florida.
Vice President for Business Affairs
Rebecca Vazquez-Skillings joined Otterbein on July 12, 2010. She came to Otterbein from Ohio University, where she served as the assistant vice president for budget planning and analysis since 2007.
Vazquez-Skillings has extensive experience in finance and administration in the education and state government sectors. In the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) for the State of Ohio, she has served as chief for special projects; chief of education; budget/management analyst for higher education; and budget/management analyst for school facilities and administrative services. Prior to joining the Office of Budget and Management, she worked in the Office of the Governor for the State of Ohio as assistant for criminal justice, public safety and regulation, and the Ohio Department of Human Services, Budget and Control as a fiscal specialist.
She is a member of the Education Advisory Board, National Association for College and University Business Officers and Central Association of College and University Business Officers, and is a past member of the National Association of State Budget Officers.
Vazquez-Skillings earned her bachelor's degree from Kenyon University in 1993 and her master's degree in public administration from The John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University in 1996.
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Jefferson Blackburn-Smith assumed his position as vice president of enrollment management on March 1, 2012. He came to Otterbein from The Ohio State University, where he was the senior associate director of undergraduate admission and first year experience for seven years.
Blackburn-Smith joined the Office of Undergraduate Admission and First Year Experience at OSU in 1995, serving as assistant director of telecounseling and associate director before becoming senior associate director in 2004. Between 2004 and 2011, Blackburn-Smith developed and implemented long-term and annual strategic undergraduate recruitment plans that achieved a 74 percent increase in applications, 32 percent increase in enrollment of students of color, 8.6 percent increase in non-resident enrollment, and 3.8 percent increase in international student enrollment. During this time under his leadership OSU also saw a 4.8 percent increase in first year student retention, as well an increase in the academic profile of incoming classes.
Blackburn-Smith was previously vice president of marketing for The Hayward Company and general sales manager for International Readers Service Bureau, Inc. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from OSU.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Robert M. Gatti began his career at Otterbein University in 1978 as a residence hall director, progressively moving to various positions until 1992, when he was appointed Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs. He oversees a variety of areas including: the Office of Residence Life, Student Conduct and Wellness, Center for Community Engagement, Center for Career and Professional Development, Chaplain, Counseling, Food Service, Diversity, University Health Services, Otterbein Police Department, and Athletics.
Bob has been both president of the Ohio College Personnel Association (OCPA) and the Ohio Association of Student Personnel Administrators (OASPA). He currently serves as a member of the International Association of College Law Enforcement Agencies (IACLEA) Accreditation Commission appointed by NASPA in 2005 and was chair of the NASPA Small College and University Institute. He was a contributing author to two New Directions of Student Services series: Dealing with Behavioral and Psychological Problems of Students: A Contemporary Update (2009) and In Search of Safer Communities: Emerging Practices for Student Affairs in Addressing Campus Violence (2008).
Bob is a past recipient of the OCPA Outstanding State Division Leader; the OCPA President’s Discretionary Award; and the Phillip A. Tripp Distinguished Service Award presented by OCPA. He was the first recipient of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania Distinguished Alumni Award and received an Honorary Alumnus Award from Otterbein College.
Executive Director of Information and Technology Services
Dave Bender became Executive Director of Information and Technology Services in 2013. He began his career at Otterbein in 2003 as a SQL Database Administrator and was promoted to Director of Advancement Technologies. Otterbein is his alma mater where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
Prior to joining Otterbein, Dave worked for industrial diamond manufacturer GE Superabrasives. While at GE, he was an Asset Manager for manufacturing plants in Worthington, Ohio and Dublin, Ireland. He also was an IT Project Leader, DBA, and Programmer Analyst.
Dave currently serves on the Board of Directors at Del-Co Water Company, a board member of CIO advisory committee for Board of Regents as a representative for Ohio’s 49 independent colleges and universities, a board member of Ohio Supercomputing Center and Ohio Academic Resources Network (OSC/OARNET) advisory committee and is the president of a community based trails group called Delaware County Friends of the Trail.
Chief of Staff
Kristine King Robbins
Kristine King Robbins joined Otterbein University as the President’s Chief of Staff on October 3, 2011. Prior to joining Otterbein, Ms. Robbins served as a senior consultant for the Leadership Development Group for ten years before joining the Human Capacity Development staff of Columbus State Community College in July of 2010. She also served as Executive Director of Leadership Westerville on a part-time basis for thirteen years.
With over twenty five years of experience working in senior level executive leadership positions, Robbins has worked in both public and private sectors including having served as Deputy Director of Human Resources and Administration for the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office and Vice President for Human Resources and Administration for Permedion. Her experience covers a variety of industries including education, state government, manufacturing, health care, community mental health, and information services with a focus on human resource management, policy development, administration, strategic planning, leadership, and management development.
Robbins was elected to the Westerville City Schools Board of Education for two terms from 2006 through 2013. While on the Board, she served in leadership roles as Vice President and President. Kristi is active in the Westerville community having served as a board member for the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce, Westerville Education Foundation, Concord Counseling Services, Westerville City Schools Parent Council, and Uptown Review Board for the City of Westerville. She is currently a member of the Westerville Parks Foundation Board.
Robbins received her bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in International Studies with minors in Spanish and International Business. In 1998, Ms. Robbins achieved certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the Human Resources Certificate Institute.