DeCleene has a distinguished career advancing the region, serving as executive director of Visit South Bend Mishawaka since 2010 and more recently as executive vice president of the South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce. Under his leadership, Visit South Bend Mishawaka expanded its scope, staff, and budget to amplify the impact of tourism in St. Joseph County. In 2021, DeCleene played a key role in advancing the innkeepers tax rate in the county to 8%, with all new revenue dedicated to product development drawing more visitors and their associated economic impact to the region.
"Rob is a fixture in our community and understands personally what Hoosier Spirit and Titan Pride means." said Chancellor Susan Elrod. "The IU South Bend community and I are looking forward to Rob's leadership to advance the goals of IU South Bend and create an even stronger culture of philanthropy for our campus."
A native of South Bend and a graduate of John Adams High School, DeCleene holds a B.S. in Recreation – Tourism Management from Indiana University Bloomington and Certificate in Executive Management from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame.
DeCleene's leadership and commitment to his community and to Indiana University is well established. He is a board member of the Indiana University Alumni Association, South Bend Region and current past president of the boards for both the Studebaker National Museum and Downtown South Bend, Inc. He has served on the executive council of the Indiana University Alumni Association, as board president of the IU LGBTQ+ Alumni Association, and is a founding member of the IU Queer Philanthropy Circle.
"This opportunity to be the next VCURA of IU South Bend couldn't be a more perfect culmination of my professional and personal life and ambitions," said DeCleene. "I feel privileged to be able to continue my service to my community and alma mater in such a meaningful way."
DeCleene served as Indiana Tourism Association board president and was honored as ITA Member of the Year in 2019. He also received the I Heart SB award from the South Bend Museum of Art, the Spirit Award from the IU LGBTA+ Student Support Services office, and the John R. Endwright Distinguished Alumni Service Award from the IU School of Public Health.