Prior to coming to Westfield State in December of 2007, he served as president of The New England Board of Higher Education since 2004. Preceded by his experience as president of four quite different higher education institutions: the University of Hawaii (2001-2004), Trinity College (1995-2001), City College of San Francisco (1990 – 1995), and Middlesex Community College in Lowell, Mass. (1987 – 1990). In 1973, he was elected mayor of his native Pittsfield; he later earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, before receiving his master's from Harvard University. President Jimmy Carter appointed him as United States Chief of Protocol, at the level of Assistant Secretary of State, and with the rank of Ambassador. His early professional experience in Massachusetts includes serving as Executive Assistant and Head of the Boston Office to then U.S. Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts. He was also Massachusetts Commissioner of Environmental Management under former Governor Michael Dukakis, and personal secretary to former Governor John A. Volpe. Dr. Dobelle holds bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in Higher Education Administration from the University of Massachusetts, and a master's in Public Administration from Harvard University.