After 12 years as president, Dr. Tift prepares to say goodbye

Dr. Bob Tift will leave BSM at the end of this school year. His time at BSM has extended from being a student of Benilde High School, to Senior High Principal, to President.


Kendel Malcolm

Dr. Tift announced his intent to resign after the 2013-2014 school year in June.

Long before Dr. Bob Tift walked the halls of BSM as president of the school, he walked down the same halls as a student of Benilde High School. And after twelve years of dedicated service as President of Benilde-St. Margaret’s, Dr. Tift faces his final year at BSM.

(sun-post scan, 1992)

Upon graduating from Benilde High School in 1971, Dr. Tift attended Arizona State University for his bachelor degree and graduate degrees. It was only few years after college that he found himself back at his alma mater. “I have always been a Red Knight. My career here at BSM started in 1992, as Senior High Principal at BSM, and I continued in that role for nine years. I have been president for 12 years, and I have loved every minute” said Tift.

In the time of his 22 years at BSM, Dr. Tift has accomplished some pretty impressive feats. He helped BSM embark on its campaign, officially started in 2008—Raise the Red. This project is responsible for the new athletic complex, which made its debut in the fall of 2010.

The athletics fields project included an artificial turf stadium in a more centralized position, a gatehouse with restrooms, upgraded track and field facilities, renovated baseball and softball fields, improved practice fields, consolidated wetlands and increased parking.

However out of all of his accomplishments at BSM, he explains the most rewarding experience has been watching his own children flourish at this school. “Each of my kids has found his passion here. My oldest son found his passion in politics from an AP Government class. My second oldest son got involved in the engineering program and drama. Danny wants to go into some area of business. Luke is trying to figure out his way in junior high,” said Dr. Tift.

Dr. Tift’s kids are grateful for how their dad has benefitted the school. “His determination to create an academically challenging institution that continues to reflect our fundamental Catholic values has made a huge difference here. He has raised a lot of money over the years to create positive changes at BSM and to make the tuition more affordable,” Danny Tift said.

(kendel malcolm)
(kendel malcolm)

Since the announcement of his resignation, people have been wondering who will fill his position. “It is the Board’s job. Barb Melsen, [former board chair], will be chairing the campaign. Their goal is to bring someone on board by the end of the year. They are extremely capable,” said Dr. Tift.

Dr. Sue Skinner will also play a part in the fulfillment of this role. “There is a Presidential Search Committee on the Board that will help us clarify what BSM needs and wants in our next president, and work tirelessly to find just the right pool of candidates for the position. My role will be to offer input into the decision, but ultimately it is the Board of Directors that will hire BSM’s next President,” said Dr. Skinner.

With a clean slate and hopefully some time off, Dr. Tift looks forward to what the future holds. “I am looking at a lot of different options. I don’t think I’ll do what I am doing now because it would be the same hours and crazy schedule. I am looking at higher education. I would anticipate it would it would involve Catholic education. I am pretty passionate about Catholic Education. Hopefully something with a little more normal hours,” said Dr. Tift.

(tift’s high school yearbook photo)

He also looks forward to the opportunity to pick up some old hobbies. “I love coaching. This is the first year I haven’t coached [little league] in a long time, and I miss it so much I can’t stand it. It was my only way really to teach. My passion is working with young kids. If time would allow more volunteer opportunities too,” said Dr. Tift.

The school and the Tift family will be both be adjusting to major changes next year. “When my dad told me his decision, it caught me so off guard because I could never picture BSM without my dad or vice versa. As of right now, we are not quite sure what the future holds, but we know that whatever happens it will be for the best, and we will never forget how big of an impact this school has had on our entire family,” said Danny Tift.

The school now looks forward to new beginnings for both BSM and Dr. Tift. However, it goes without being said that Dr. Tift will be missing BSM next year. “The thing that energizes me the most is to walk down the hallway and look in the rooms. It is a magical place,” said Tift.