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New DWU President Daniel Kittle told to put roots down in Mitchell, inaugurated during ceremony

Kittle maintained in his speech that he would continue to work toward bettering the community and strengthening DWU’s campus life.

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Daniel Kittle during his inauguration celebration as president of Dakota Wesleyan University.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — Daniel R. Kittle was inaugurated Thursday, Aug. 25, as the president of Dakota Wesleyan University. He will serve as the 21st president following the resignation of Amy Novak.

Kittle's presidency was announced late last year via campus leaders. In March 2022, he assumed his current position.

In Kittle’s personal address, he thanked faculty and staff, previous presidents, current student body and alumni, as well as his family and friends for their support during the inaugural process.

“It is the work of preparing students for professional lives and ethical leadership and service and for lives dedicated to the broader ideals of contributing to the public good which motivate me to dedicate my life – my professional life – to Dakota Wesleyan University,” Kittle said.

He also went on to speak on the hardships universities have faced in recent years, saying he is hopeful for the future. He also devoted much of his speech to quoting Theodore Roosevelt's 1910 "Man in the Arena" speech.

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“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat,” Kittle said, quoting Roosevelt.

Addressing the students, Kittle transitioned, reminding them to avoid letting the division in America from affecting their studies.
“On this topic of my charge to be ‘in the ring’, to ‘dare greatly’ — I address the students: you may have concerns about the fractures in our nation but do not let those concerns fall into despair and frustration, as those emotions of defeat lead to cynicism and bitterness and inaction," Kittle said. "Hold to your convictions.”

Kittle to assume role in March 2022

Many community leaders spoke during Kittle’s inaugural ceremony, including Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson.

“On behalf of the Mitchell community, I’m honored to welcome Dr. Kittle as the next president of Dakota Wesleyan University," Everson said.

During his speech, Everson presented Kittle with an evergreen tree.

“The evergreen tree has been used as a symbol of celebration for many generations. It represents strength, invincibility, survival, peace, goodness and eternal life," he said. "We hope you’ll put this tree in the yard of your home to literally put down roots in our community, and use it to measure the many years you’ll continue to call Mitchell home.”

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Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

On behalf of the higher education community, Darrel Colson, former president of Wartburg College, spoke.

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“It’s a day of satisfaction, a day of congratulations. And, also, a day of newness, of anticipation. You have great work still to do," Colson said. "Your future is filled with promise and with peril, and today marks a new beginning, a time where you must shoot your gaze from past successes to future achievements.”

Kittle was also gifted a framed photo signed by friends and family from his wife, Ashley Kittle; a book from Michael Catalano on behalf of the faculty; a book weight; a master key of the university from Louie Schoenfelder on behalf of the staff; and a framed artistic rendition of the Methodist symbol of the cross and flame from Reverend Keither Nelson, on behalf of the Dakotas Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Prior to his acceptance of the DWU presidency, Kittle served as the vice president for student life and dean of students at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. There, he spent more than 16 years in many capacities, including a teaching position as well as a few administrative responsibilities.

Kittle also helped found the Bremer County Recovery Coalition, a regional organization tasked with disaster relief, eventually becoming president of the organization. He served for more than a decade on the long-term recovery committee that led the county’s response to and recovery from devastating flooding that impacted the region in 2008.

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In his speech, Kittle maintained that he would continue to work towards bettering the community and strengthening DWU’s campus life.

Cassie Williams joined the Mitchell Republic in July of 2022. To get in contact with Cassie about potential stories, feel free to email her at cwilliams@mitchellrepublic.com.
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