President Rob Oliver Gives Final Speech at Augustana University Graduation

Rob Oliver served as the university's 23rd president. His last day is July 31st

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-  More than 400 students from Augustana University earned their degrees today.

The university not only recognized the achievements of the class of 2017 but also retiring President Rob Oliver, who gave the commencement address and said his final goodbye.

“Normally, I have run the commencement activities, this time I am the speaker,” says Augustana University’s 23rd President Rob Oliver.

For the first time, President Rob Oliver is playing a different role.

The commencement isn’t only a day the student’s families have been looking forward to, but something his wife Angela Oliver did not want to miss.

“I’m anxious to hear what he’s going to say, he has not shared that with me, so looking forward to it. Commencement is always special and this one will be our commencement; as we leave Augustana, this is our graduation too,” says President Oliver’s wife Angela Oliver.

For 25 years, President Oliver has served Augustana University, but in September of 2016, he decided it was time to step down.

“You know you always think about retirement as being long ways off; then when you announce your retirement suddenly people think you’re old. I want to say, Noo, I’m not that old,” says President Oliver with a smile.

Although retirement is a day he never saw coming, he says the timing felt right for him and his family.

“So this final speech is also kind of my goodbye, so it does feel a little different. There’s a little bittersweet feelings,” says President Oliver.

The goodbye may not be easy, but President Oliver says, he knows he’s leaving the university in good hands.

“I’m thrilled for the institution; I’m thrilled for Stephanie, she will make a great president. I think she will be the best ever,” says President Oliver.

In the end, President Oliver says it’s been an honor to serve the university and the community.

“We’ll miss the people, that will be the hardest part,” says President Oliver.

Rob Oliver served as the university’s 23rd president. His last day is July 31st.

Former U.S. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin will take over as head of the university next year.

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