A day in the life of Don Robertson

By Emily WilliamsAssistant Features Editor

Whether you are at a Racer basketball game, a student organization meeting, All Campus Sing, the Wellness Center, student recitals, or you are just out and about in the Quad, you are likely to spot Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs, at almost every event Murray State’s campus has to offer.

On top of meeting the demands of a cram-packed schedule each week, usually beginning his day at 8 a.m. and sometimes working as late as 6 p.m. on certain nights, Robertson still finds the time to connect with students and invest in their well-being at Murray State.

Clinton Combs, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), said you can bet – as long as there isn’t an emergency or he isn’t abroad – Dr. Robertson will attend the SGA meeting every Wednesday.

“He usually passes along information or asks us for feedback on items, but most importantly, he listens,” Combs said. “He listens to the students as we discuss issues on campus, and he always offers his support, when we take initiative to fix them.”

But Robertson does much more than just attend weekly SGA meetings. He is heavily involved in the Chinese Student Association, Omicron Delta Kappa and Murray State Rotaract.  In a typical week, Robertson said he tries to attend the Residential College Association meetings, and he periodically attends meetings with the Black Student Council, Inter-Fraternity Council, the International Student Organization and many others. He said he tries to attend as many student organization meetings as much as possible.

“One of the best qualities an administrator that works with students can have is the ability to step back and let the students have freedom to take ownership of their work, but be available as a mentor along the way,” Combs said. “Dr R. has always been a supporter of my work on SGA, and always been a great mentor on issues, but never used that in a manner to push a personal agenda.”

Combs said Robertson’s greatest quality is his compassion and love for students.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but whenever a student is injured and ends up at the hospital, Dr. R is there to check on them- no matter the time of day,” Combs said. “This is especially nice for those students that live far from home, who are in a great time of need and might not have anyone.”

Daniela Callejas, senior from Sogamoso, Colombia, and vice president of Murray State’s Rotaract club, said she has known Robertson for three years now. She said with his help, they were able to reopen Murray State’s Rotaract Club and make it what it is today.

“He really supported and encouraged me throughout that process,” Callejas said. “I was always kind of afraid, just because he was so busy and I thought this might not be something that he cares about, but it was totally different. He was into it, super nice about it and excited just to work with the students.”

Callejas said she believes Robertson has a special gift with international students.

“For the international community, I will say that he is the perfect fit,” Callejas said. “I think he understands what ‘homesick’ means for us. I have been able to see how he welcomes international students and makes sure Murray State feels like home.”

Robertson said when he has free time, he enjoys reading, attending student recitals and Racer athletics, running, going to the movies and attending Broadway plays with his wife. He said he also enjoys traveling to visit his two children. Robertson said Murray State is a great fit for him.

“I love working with the students here and it’s been a great fit for me,” Robertson said. “It’s given me lots of opportunities, and that’s what’s kept me here. The type of students that come to Murray State are the students I like working with.”

Combs said he believes our vision at Murray State is to be the best student-centered university in the nation and Robertson is the very essence of a student-centered individual.

“He makes his way to just about every event on campus, offers his support to every student and makes you feel welcome, all without asking for any credit or praise,” Combs said. “He is a selfless individual, always putting the students first and that is why he is an excellent leader for Murray State.”