Ronald R. Thomas will be formally installed as the 13th president of the University of Puget Sound at 3 p.m. Friday, April 23 in Memorial Fieldhouse on the Puget Sound campus. The entire Pierce County community is invited to the ceremony, the theme of which is Celebrating the Liberal Arts and Civic Engagement. Special guests taking part in the ceremony will include distinguished leaders from business, government, and the local community, and educators from across the nation.
A week of lectures, concerts, seminars, and other celebratory events will precede the inauguration. Included are a welcome and blessing by the Puyallup tribe, and a reading and presentation by Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States. A full schedule of events is on-line at:
Thomas, just the fifth president at Puget Sound since 1913, assumed his duties July 16. He came to Puget Sound with a 20-year record of accomplishment as an award-winning scholar, teacher, and administrator at Trinity College, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. A scholar of Victorian literature and culture, he has authored three books and numerous articles on subjects ranging from the role of the novel in the development of the modern detective, mapmaking, dream interpretation, forensic science, and the invention of the cinema. As vice president and acting president at Trinity, Thomas oversaw the colleges $100-million master plan and played a leadership role in its nationally recognized engagement with the city of Hartford, Conn.
Since arriving in Tacoma in July, Thomas has met with numerous local business leaders, civic organizations, and other groups to further explore the role of the university in the community. Our unconditional commitment to the discovery of knowledge must go hand in hand with an unwavering commitment to the broader community, Thomas wrote in a News Tribune editorial on August 22, 2003. I come to Puget Sound with a strong commitment to the principle of the college as a good citizen and a collaborative approach to the distinctive challenges and remarkable opportunities we face.