WilmU’s First Online DBA Grad

“Robert’s colorful personality has a way of making people feel comfortable. . . . When he flew in to defend his DBA, he greeted us with fresh steaks from his Iowa farm.” —Dr. Ruth Norman

In May, Dr. Bob Sarver of Iowa became the first College of Business DBA graduate to earn the degree online.

After accumulating more than 30 years of business experience, Dr. Sarver serves as senior director of Logistics for Walmart, handling operations that support volume totaling up to $2 billion in annual inventory shipments.

For all intents and purposes, Dr. Sarver was at the top of his game. Yet he wanted to be more effective in his work and serve as a role model to his children, both of whom were earning their doctorates the same time he was.

“I’ve always stressed the importance of education to them,” he says. “It became a way for us to connect and understand what each other was going through.”

College of Business Associate Professor Dr. Ruth Norman commends Dr. Sarver for his ability to connect virtually with his cohort. “Robert’s colorful personality has a way of making people feel comfortable,” says Dr. Norman, who served as Dr. Sarver’s adviser throughout his DBA program but met him in person in February, when he flew in to defend his DBA. “He greeted us with fresh steaks from his Iowa farm,” she says.

His dissertation, Important aspects of job satisfaction for full-time hourly production workers and how they affect retention in small, rural, Iowa markets, required him to examine three logistics warehouses.

But for commencement, he traveled from Iowa to Wilmington to graduate with his cohort. We’re a team, he says. “We made it together so we should walk together.” WU