The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship


Rob Lavenda Oral History


Media is loading

Document Type


Publication Date



Biographical Information:

Growing up in northern New Jersey, Rob Lavenda majored in anthropology at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where he graduated in 1971. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1974 and 1977. After earning his doctorate, Lavenda taught for nearly two academic years at the University of Minnesota-Morris. Lavenda then arrived at St. Cloud State in September 1979, appointed as an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work. While at St. Cloud State, Lavenda taught a variety of anthropology classes, researched the culture of Minnesota festivals, and was heavily involved in the international studies program, particularly those in Costa Rica and Chile. Lavenda retired from St. Cloud State after the 2017 spring semester.

Transcript Summary:

In an oral history conducted by Professor of Communications Studies Jeff Ringer on April 25, 2017, retiring faculty member Rob Lavenda spoke about his time at St. Cloud State as a faculty member, the changes in the Anthropology department, teaching, and his role in the international studies, especially Latin American programs.

After graduating with his doctorate in 1977 from Indiana University, Lavenda spent two years at the University of Minnesota-Morris. At Morris, he headed a group of students to Ecuador for fieldwork. That interest in international studies led to a one year appointment at St. Cloud State in 1979 and his subsequent hiring in a permanent position the following year. Lavenda chronicled the subsequent development of programs in Costa Rica and, later, Chile. He shared his thoughts on how the International Studies program developed in the 1980s and 1990s at St. Cloud State, particularly models on administration and governance of these programs, treatment of international faculty, and the benefits of having international partners for St. Cloud State and its students.

Lavenda discussed the development of the department of Anthropology, including its connection at St. Cloud State with Sociology and Social Work as well as the establishment of an anthropology field school. He touched upon the creation and subsequent publishing of textbooks that he wrote with Emily Schultz, the technological revolution and its effects on today’s students, and the urging to St. Cloud State to continue to emphasize excellence.


Image ID: 12440

See additional files below for full transcript.

Lavenda transcript - Final.pdf (80 kB)
Rob Lavenda oral history transcript

This document is currently not available here.