Steve Oborn ’96 knew it would be what he called an “endurance contest” when he decided to pursue a doctoral degree while working full time as a superintendent of schools.
“My wife thought I was crazy,” he said, smiling. “I knew it would require tremendous commitment.”
The then 43-year-old educator, husband and father of two was up to the academic and logistical challenges that the rigorous curriculum and two-hour commute presented. The School of Education’s doctoral program focusing on the “scholar practitioner” was a perfect fit for Oborn. While the lessons learned in the classroom were valuable, it was the relationship with Dean Ellis Joseph that left the most lasting impression on the long-time educator.
“His challenges for each of us with respect to leadership, scholarship and service were forceful and unrelenting,” Oborn said of his mentor. “The entire faculty challenged us daily to find answers, ask questions and encourage others to do the same.”
Oborn’s post-graduate plan was to pursue a position as a college professor. While he taught at Bellarmine University, he was, at the time, unaware that his classroom would soon expand exponentially.
As a lead evaluator for AdvancED, Oborn has traveled the globe with the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts on-site reviews of a variety of educational institutions and systems.
“No one ever knows what lies ahead with respect to their life. From a classroom in Marion, Ohio, to a consulting business that took me around the globe, my life has been a testament to those who mentored and taught me,” he said. “From those who prepared me for education in the late sixties and early seventies, to those who prepared me for the world at the University of Dayton, I am a reflection of their passion.”
The now 69-year-old has reviewed more than 40 American school systems for accreditation and done the same in war-torn countries, witnessing firsthand the global educational climate.
“I have been in schools that were opened after a devastating war and I have seen schools carve an existence out of buildings that would be condemned in the United States,” he said. “My ability to relate and consult today is a direct link to my studies at the University of Dayton. The University of Dayton has traveled with me around the globe, into every classroom and into every country.”