First DCTC president; served from 1970 to 1999
DCTC President Ronald E. Thomas, Ph.D., is saddened to report that Dave Schroeder, former president of Dakota County Technical College, passed away Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011.
The visitation is scheduled at St. Stephen Lutheran Church in Bloomington, Minn., Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 10 a.m. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m.
“Dave was liked and appreciated by faculty, staff and students at our college,” said President Thomas. “He was instrumental in setting the stage for the development of new opportunities in technical education. We owe a great deal to former President Schroeder for advancing the vision and mission of Dakota County Technical College.”
Working with the Schroeder family, the DCTC Foundation has established a memorial scholarship to honor former President’s Schroeder’s legacy. If you would like more information about the scholarship, please contact the Office of the President or the DCTC Foundation.
David Lee Schroeder
When David L. Schroeder took over as the first director of the Dakota County Area Vocational-Technical Institute in October of 1970, his philosophy for technical education was focused on providing incoming students with effective pathways to secure and rewarding careers.
Schroeder was taking the helm of a school whose main campus building wouldn’t be completed for three years. Classes ran all year and tuition was free. The first students attended class in rented space across an archipelago of buildings. Enrollment was three shy of 50.
“We started with nothing and created programs that changed people’s lives.”—David L. Schroeder
Working three years straight with no time off, Schroeder put in 60-hour weeks creating programs, hiring faculty and staff, buying equipment and coordinating everything on the fly. When the main building opened in Rosemount, Minn., in 1973, enrollment had reached 700 students in some 30 programs.
“By the time I finally took a vacation, I was totally wiped out. I went up north to our family cabin and sat in the woods for two weeks,” Schroeder remembered with a smile. “But it was a fun time and everyone was up to the task.”
After two name changes, the tech institute, as it was nicknamed, became Dakota County Technical College in 1989. Six years later, when DCTC merged with other higher education institutions in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Schroeder assumed the role of president of the college.
“From the very beginning, our mission was Education for Employment,” said Schroeder, who retired in 1999. “When I look back on my career, I feel the strongest about serving students and getting them jobs. We started with nothing and created programs that changed people’s lives. It was hard to leave, but after 30 years it was time. I loved the place.”
The Spirit of DCTC Award recognizes individuals who have contributed selflessly to the college mission while showing boundless support for student success in the classroom and beyond.