Beth Dinndorf to give address during CSB commencement ceremonies
April 30, 2018
Beth Dinndorf ’73, former president of Columbia College, will deliver the commencement address during the 103rd annual commencement ceremony at the College of Saint Benedict at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 12, in Clemens Field House on the CSB campus.
Dinndorf will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Maranna Gunnerson, a senior biology major from Annandale, Minnesota, will be the student commencement speaker, as selected by this year's senior class.
The 2018 CSB graduating class includes 505 women, the third-largest class in school history.
Dinndorf has spent more than 30 years leading nonprofit higher education institutions and consumer and commercial banking teams. She honed her expertise in strategic leadership, organizational growth and development, institutional advancement and fundraising to advance liberal arts education for women both at CSB and at Columbia College in South Carolina.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Saint Ben’s and her juris doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, in 1982. She graduated from the Pacific Coast Banking School in Seattle and earned executive roles with U.S. Bank in St. Paul and Wells Fargo Bank in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, before following her heart into higher education.
As the 18th president at Columbia College, Dinndorf revised admission standards to increase student success and improve graduation rates. She also created the Momentum Scholarship to attract motivated and engaged students, and she developed the Institute for Leadership and Professional Excellence in 2013 to provide every student with a mentor, career coach and multiple internships opportunities. Since its inception, the institute has engaged more than 400 community professionals as mentors and 100 companies to offer internships. Dinndorf also launched the McNair Center for Entrepreneurism in 2015 to equip women of all ages in South Carolina to launch and grow successful businesses.
Before she began making an impact at Columbia College, Dinndorf served on the CSB Board of Trustees from 1988-97 and 2005-12, and was chair of the board from 2010-12. She also chaired the finance and investment committees of the board and served on numerous other board committees. In 1983, she received the college’s Decade Award, which honors alumnae for outstanding achievements in their profession and community involvement.
Dinndorf said Saint Ben’s instilled in her a sense of confidence and a passion for lifelong learning. Fueled by that passion, she believes her mission is to use her talents, experience and leadership to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. The honorary degree is a testament to her success in that mission.