Finalist

Evan Dobelle (TIE)
The Downfall of a Jet-Setting University President

source: The Boston Globe

Westfield Leader Scrutinized for Lavish Charges

Donor Cancels Planned $100,000 Gift to Westfield State

Staff Member, Groups Rebut Account of Fund-Raising Trip

State Freezes Funding to Westfield State University After President Dobelle Fails to Answer Questions in Time

Evan Dobelle Came to Westfield State with Record of Excess

Dobelle Placed on Paid Leave; Probe Set

Dobelle Resigns from Westfield State Presidency

Judges’ Comments

“Well executed.  The detail about him leaving his subordinate at the hotel while he went out and partied in San Francisco did it for me.  The reporters stuck to the facts and didn’t get caught up in this guy’s diversion tactics (“The police chief wants to do me in!”).  I also think this series was really thorough….not only did they give a run-down of the botched hiring process, the board’s lack of accountability and the dude’s shenanigans, they followed through all the way until he resigned.  They kept going after him.”

“Well-written pieces about a state university president gone rogue. But the series went further than writing strictly about Dobelle’s fantastic spending patterns to point out flaws in state oversight of university spending and the poor vetting of Dobelle by university trustees — who somehow were confident enough in their choice to overlook another university’s firing in the hiring process. Proper due diligence might have saved Westfield from a lot of trouble.”

EWA is grateful to the College Board for its generous support of the 2016 National Awards for Education Reporting.