observations from three decades at DMU
On June 30, Steve Dengle concluded 33 years of service to DMU. He joined the University in 1979 as personnel director and then served as executive assistant to the president, executive director of administrative services, vice president for administration and finance, chief financial officer, executive vice president and chief operating officer. He also twice served as interim president of the University, covering a span of two and a half years.
What change haven’t I seen at DMU? During my time here, the institution has had three different names, I’ve had eight different bosses and held eight different positions. The
school has added two colleges and seven programs. Enrollment has
more than doubled. And the way doctors of osteopathic medicine are
perceived has changed significantly not only
at DMU but also in health care nationally.
It sounds cliché, but my favorite memories center around people I’ve
worked with, people who are smart and dedicated and fun. Projects like
building a building or changing a policy can be drudgery or can be
enjoyable depending on the people you work with.
What’s kept me here: inertia? Seriously, it’s been the
variety of duties I’ve had. Having a broad variety of jobs plus
an expanding sphere of responsibility means you don’t get
stagnant. And because the people I’ve worked with include
a lot of long-tenured employees, I’ve gotten to enjoy
What’s next: “Welcome to Walmart!” I’m kidding. My
family has land in southern Iowa where we spend a lot of
time, but I’ve never had the freedom to do the things I
want to do there. I’ll now be able to work on the
numerous projects that I have been putting off for
the past 20 years, like restoring an oak savannah,
planting a small vineyard and maybe even setting up a
I spent the last few weekends pulling about 9,000 nails
from the boards in an old barn we tore down. Projects like that
can be tedious, but rewarding once they are completed. I can
now recycle that wood in another building project.
My mom once said my dad’s hobby was having hobbies. The same sentiment applies to me. I like to play golf, ride my bike, garden, do woodworking projects, restore antique furniture and butcher an occasional chord or two on my guitar. I think I know myself well enough to know how to keep busy.
The song lyrics that best describe my tenure at DMU? “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”