Bob Off Announces His Retirement
After 44 years of professional and dedicated service to FarmHouse Fraternity and Foundation, Bob Off will retire on July 1.
“I have been very fortunate and appreciative of the opportunity to serve the Fraternity and Foundation for nearly 45 years,” Bob said in announcing his full-time retirement earlier this month.
“The last 20 years working for the Foundation have been especially enjoyable and rewarding, in particular working with alumni and friends of the Foundation who continue to generously share their time, talent and treasure to advance FarmHouse. Furthermore, the last 11 years as the Foundation’s Executive Director Emeritus have proven to be a very satisfying way to phase into retirement.”
From Colorado to South Dakota and Korea
Bob was initiated by the Colorado State chapter in 1964, graduated in 1965 with his bachelor’s degree and completed a master’s degree in 1967. He began his career at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in 1968, serving as the assistant director of student housing. His employment at the university was broken up by three years as an intelligence officer in the US Army from 1968 to 1971, which included one year in South Korea. He completed his service with the rank of captain. Upon returning to the SDSU campus, he was a chapter advisor for the newly chartered South Dakota State Chapter.
Executive director of the Fraternity and Foundation
In 1973, Bob was named Executive Director of both FarmHouse Fraternity and Foundation, with a national office in St. Joseph, Mo. During his tenure, he oversaw the establishment of 16 chapters, including FarmHouse becoming an international fraternity with the chartering of the Alberta Chapter, and over 10,600 young men joined FarmHouse during this time. He led efforts for FarmHouse to rejoin the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) early in his career. He also helped champion the formation of Ceres Women’s Fraternity, and served as its Executive Director from 1985-1994.
Early in Bob’s tenure with FarmHouse, he oversaw the implementation of the first official FarmHouse alcohol and drug policy that was adopted in 1974, prohibiting alcohol and drugs from all FarmHouse chapter houses and properties. This long-standing policy has paved the way for the interfraternity community to embrace a new values-based standard.
Bob served as Executive Director of both the Fraternity and Foundation for 24 years, before moving into the role of Executive Director of the FarmHouse Foundation, in late 1996. He left his mark over the course of his 20 years with the Foundation, including the first capital campaign, Campaign 2005, and developing exceptional growth of financial support for the Fraternity and its educational programs, several of which Bob had established while serving as Executive Director of the Fraternity.
Executive Director Emeritus
In 2007, Bob became Executive Director Emeritus of the FarmHouse Foundation. Since that transition, he has spent his time working on major gifts, planned giving, special projects and fundraising for several local FarmHouse housing campaigns. He also played a significant role in the success of Live. Learn. Lead. – The Campaign for FarmHouse, which culminated on February 28, 2017, raising $23.6 million.
Bob’s professional service has been recognized time and again over the course of his long and respected career, most recently with the NIC’s Gold Medal Award in 2016, for his lifetime service to the fraternal movement. He is the last individual to have served as President of both the College Fraternity Editors Association and the Fraternity Executives Association.
“Bob’s contributions are nothing short of remarkable,” said Chad Harris (IA ’98), former Executive Director of FarmHouse Fraternity. “First as a volunteer chapter advisor, then as a committed executive director of the Fraternity, next in elevating our Foundation to unprecedented heights, and culminating with the well-earned title of ’emeritus,’ and through it all with the unending respect of FarmHouse members and of his interfraternal friends and colleagues.”
“From the day I came to work with Bob 16 years ago, I have always admired him,” said Allison Rickels, Executive Director of the FarmHouse Foundation. “For his kindness, compassion and caring, and at the same time for his directness, confidence and how fired up he can get for a cause, issue or stance he cares about.”
She continued, “Bob has been a part of the majority of the Foundation’s 51-year history and played the key role in its growth. At times, when it was difficult to keep the lights on, pay staff and fulfill grants to the Fraternity, Bob kept persevering. When donors needed to rally around an important initiative, Bob championed the cause. When we celebrated successes, Bob did so humbly and let others shine, most importantly our donors. His leadership has enabled the Foundation to flourish and more young leaders to be impacted by the Foundation’s work. He has been a positive influence on thousands of lives over the years while remaining true to the mission of FarmHouse. He is the epitome of a Master Builder, a servant leader and one of the finest FarmHouse men.”
“I am grateful”
“I depart knowing that all is in good hands,” Bob said. “The proof is in the great success the Foundation has enjoyed and will continue to build on. My wife, Linda, and I look forward to traveling, enjoying the Santa Fe community, riding my horse and spending time with family. I am grateful for the years that I have been able to serve FarmHouse Fraternity and Foundation. Thank you to the many FarmHouse alumni, friends and colleagues I have known during my tenure. Your friendship, support and belief in the Fraternity are what has made my career so special.”
On Saturday evening, November 11, a party will be held in Bob’s honor at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis, Minn. In the coming months, more details will be shared about the event to celebrate Bob’s retirement and his many accomplishments.
Bob will continue to use his FarmHouse email address and can be reached at Bob@FarmHouse.org.