University of Puget Sound selects new president

University of Puget Sound officials announced Friday the appointment of Isiaah Crawford as president-elect of the college. Crawford will become the university’s 14th president on July 1, 2016, succeeding current President Ronald R. Thomas, who is completing his 13th year of service.

“This is a special moment in time for Puget Sound to take its next step—a very important step—inspired by a new leader who will build on our mission as a liberal arts college and meet the many challenges facing higher education today,” said Robert Pohlad, chair-elect of the University of Puget Sound Board of Trustees. “His appointment is a natural extension of our mission and values, and is as exciting a next step as we could ever hope for.”

Crawford, a clinical psychologist, earned his bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University, and master’s and doctoral degrees from DePaul University in Chicago. He began his teaching career at Loyola University Chicago in 1987, where he became a tenured professor, chair of the Department of Psychology, and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences before assuming the role of provost for Seattle University in 2008. At Seattle University he directs the Division of Academic Affairs and oversees the university’s schools and colleges, libraries, enrollment, information technology, institutional research, and offices supporting academic achievement, faculty affairs, and global engagement.

Crawford maintained a private clinical practice in Chicago from 1987 through 2002, and has been published in numerous scholarly journals over the past 30 years, and has served on a number of review panels and editorial boards for professional publications. He currently serves on the board of directors for Providence Health and Services (Seattle) and The ROPA Corporation (St. Louis), and is a member of the Northwest Committee of the Metropolitan Opera National Council and Seattle Art Museum Education & Community Engagement Committee. Crawford is director emeritus and former president of the board of directors of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and he served as chair of the Clinical Psychologists Licensing and Disciplinary Board of the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.

“I am humbled and excited by the opportunity to serve the University of Puget Sound,” said Crawford. “It is a vibrant institution with a deep sense of community and place—it’s clear that the University of Puget Sound looks not only to educate its students but to shape their abilities to look outside of themselves to find ways to use their education to make a difference in the world. The college is extraordinarily well-positioned to build on its accomplishments, seek continuous improvement, and attain its next level of distinction in fulfillment of its mission as a national liberal arts college.”

Crawford plans to move from Seattle to Tacoma later this summer with his partner, Kent Korneisel, O.D. A formal installation and other events to welcome Puget Sound’s 14th president to the South Sound are expected to be announced after Crawford assumes office in July.

“My own experiences in the liberal arts as an undergraduate student guided me to a life that I could not have otherwise imagined,” added Crawford. “I look forward to working closely with the campus community; to listening, learning, and understanding the culture of the college; and to developing a genuine connection with its many constituents.”