Skip to page content
Return to Top

President's Biography - Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio

Dr. F. Dominic Dottavio is the 15th President of Tarleton State University, a comprehensive university with six academic colleges and a College of Graduate Studies, 94 majors, more than 1,100 faculty and staff, and more than 13,000 students.

President Dottavio provides strategic direction and mission-focused leadership for a university with a reputation for quality teaching, research that benefits all citizens, and a caring campus community. He has assembled a leadership team focused on Tarleton State University’s continual progression to be the premier student-focused university in Texas and beyond.

Since Dr. Dottavio became President in 2008, Tarleton has reached record enrollments, expanded the curriculum, and opened a number of new facilities including the Southwest Regional Dairy Center, a state-of-the-art Nursing Building, and four living-learning residence halls to meet the needs of a growing student body.

Ground was broken in March 2017 for a $54 million engineering building to provide facilities for burgeoning engineering programs, including recently added mechanical and civil engineering degrees. A new Agricultural Field Machinery and Fabrication Laboratory opened at the Agricultural Center in January, and the Texas legislature has approved $10 million to construct a new Animal Science Center and an Agronomy/Horticulture Center at the site.

Tarleton has extended its undergraduate and graduate programs in Fort Worth, Midlothian and Waco as well as through an online Global Campus. A groundbreaking will be held this fall for the first building on a new 80-acre Fort Worth campus off the Chisholm Trail Parkway, with Fort Worth enrollment expected to reach 2,500 students by the time the building opens in January 2020.

Well-known by students for being engaged and accessible, Dr. Dottavio resides on campus in the historic Trogdon House; the first Tarleton president to do so since the home’s namesake, President W. O. Trogdon. His student-centered approach has led to Tarleton’s adoption of six Core Values: Integrity, Leadership, Tradition, Civility, Excellence and Service, which permeate the culture of the university and provide for an intense focus on student growth and development.

Dr. Dottavio grew up in Massillon, Ohio and earned a bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management from The Ohio State University, a master’s degree in Forestry and Environmental Sciences from Yale University, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He was Regional Chief Scientist for the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, where he led research programs in coastal zone management, ecosystem restoration, and conservation biology.

Tarleton is Dr. Dottavio’s second university presidency. He was President of Heidelberg University, a private college in Tiffin, Ohio. Prior to that, he was Dean and Director of The Ohio State University at Marion and Professor in Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Dottavio and his wife, Dr. C. Lisette Dottavio, CPA and senior tax accountant, have two grown children: Adrea, married to Yiannis Papadopoulos, lives in the Boston area; and Aaron, and his wife, Lyndsey, and grandchildren Dominic and Abigail, live in Phoenix, Arizona.