About PLU

University Officers


Thomas W. Krise, Ph.D.

Dr. Thomas W. Krise has been President of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, since June 2012. Previously, he was Dean of the College at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California; and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.  He also served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He was founding Director of the Air Force Humanities Institute at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs; Senior Fellow of the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C., and Vice Director of the National Defense University Press.

Thomas Krise President

A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Krise earned a B.S. in history from the Air Force Academy, an M.S. in administration from Central Michigan University, an M.A. in English from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. A former Fulbright Scholar at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, his academic interests focus on early Caribbean studies, and he holds a full professorship with tenure in the Department of English at PLU. A member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, he has worked and lectured on six continents.

Provost & Senior Vice President Academic Affairs

Steven P. Starkovich, Ph.D.

Steve Starkovich, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, is an associate professor of physics at Pacific Lutheran University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences with an emphasis in atmospheric chemistry from Oregon State University. His master’s degree is in educational policy and management with an emphasis in higher education administration from the University of Oregon. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and his area of specialization is general relativity and field theory.

Steven Starkovich

After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1976, Starkovich pursued his interest in Oregon state politics, and in 1982 he was elected to the Oregon State Senate. In 1985 he was chosen by his fellow state senators as majority leader – only the second time to that point in Oregon history that someone was elected to serve as senate majority leader while still in his first term. He worked mostly on issues related to the environment, labor and education, and he chaired several significant legislative committees. He earned his master’s degree while still serving in the Oregon Legislature, and returned to graduate school in 1987, earning his Ph.D. in 1992.

Starkovich first came to PLU in 1992 and was hired into a tenure-track position in 1997. He was a principal investigator on a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation that brought an astronomical observatory to the PLU campus in 1998. The observatory has been a valuable addition to the university’s astronomy curriculum and to its public outreach efforts through PLU’s Jazz Under the Stars concerts and through events held in collaboration with the Tacoma Astronomical Society.

Starkovich taught for 17 years prior to becoming acting provost in 2009 and then provost in 2010. Before becoming provost, his university service included chair of the physics department (three and a half years), a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee (five years), a member of the Budget Advisory Committee (six years), parliamentarian to the chair of the Faculty Assembly (two years), elected faculty representative to the Board of Regents, and special assistant to the provost for budget modeling.

Starkovich was raised on his family’s farm in Oregon. He and his partner, Ruth Williams, have lived in Seattle since 1989.

Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

Joanna Royce-Davis, Ph.D.

Dr. Joanna Royce-Davis comes to us from the University of the Pacific, where she most recently served as Dean of Students in the Division of Student Life. In her 15-year career at the University of the Pacific, she has served as Associate Professor in the Benerd School of Education; Interim Vice President for Student Life; Assistant and Associate Vice President for Student Life; and as Associate Director of the Career Resource Center.

Joanna Royce-Davis

Dr. Royce-Davis earned a Certificate in Student Affairs Law & Policy from NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education in 2013; a 
Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Syracuse University in 2001; an M.A. in Counselor Education from San Jose State University in 1994; and a B.S. in Special Education with an emphasis in Community and Mental Health Counseling from Indiana University in 1990.

Among her notable accomplishments, Joanna directs the graduate program in Student Affairs at the University of the Pacific. She has also served as lead or co-designer for multiple strategies focused on undergraduate student success, including the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Student Success essay; First Year Experience signature programs, including MOVE (see Pacificmove.org), which received the 2012 NASPA National Gold award; and the Retention Action Network.

In 2013, Dr. Royce-Davis received the Podesto Award for Excellence in Student Life, Mentoring, and Counseling, and in 2012 she was awarded the Cavanaugh Distinguished Service Award from the University of the Pacific. In 2009, she received the NASPA Region IV Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Service as a Dean, and in 2006 she was named a Pacific Woman of Distinction. She also received the Martin Luther King, Jr., Opening Doors award in 2005.

Vice President for Finance and Administration

Allan Belton

Allan Belton, Vice President for Finance and Administration, is an accomplished business and community leader with exceptional integrity and deep expertise in financial management, business operations and governance, strategic planning, project and performance measurement, and human resources management.

Allan most recently served as Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he developed and managed strategic partnerships, business processes, governance, and performance management across a global treasury enterprise.

Allan Belton

In his 24-year career at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Allan has also held positions as Director of Business Development and SVP Business Performance Manager, where he led regional operations for a ten-state market focused on building infrastructure, strategy, and policy to support a $2.5 billion line of business serving higher education and government.  Allan began his career at Seattle First National Bank where he served in several capacities focused on mergers & acquisitions, corporate planning and reporting, commercial credit, and product pricing analysis.  He holds a B.A. in Business Administration and a M.B.A. from Washington State University.

Allan is married to Melinda Krotz Belton, PLU Class of 1991; they live in Gig Harbor with their three children, where he serves as Chair of the Franciscan Foundation Board of Trustees, and as a volunteer in the Peninsula School District.

Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Donna Gibbs

Gibbs most recently served as managing director, and helped establish the west coast operations, of Bluetext, a Washington, D.C.-based digital marketing and strategic communications firm that counts among its clients Google, Adobe, Cisco and Intel. Before joining Bluetext, Gibbs lived and worked in Malta and Barcelona, Spain, where she served as chief marketing officer for emerging mobile media companies.

Prior to moving abroad, Gibbs served as senior vice president for consumer marketing and ecommerce at PlanetOut, a leading media and entertainment company based in San Francisco. She also helped lead the company to a successful IPO in 2004.

Donna Gibbs

Earlier, Gibbs was executive vice president at The Weber Group (later Weber Shandwick Worldwide), where she managed six offices and participated in managing key enterprise accounts including Adobe and Gateway Computer.
Gibbs has also served as vice president of corporate communications at Nike, where she was chief communications strategist and spokesperson on a wide range of issues including regulatory concerns, production sourcing and labor practices, mergers and acquisitions and financial performance during one of Nike’s most rapid periods of global expansion.

Prior to Nike, Gibbs was director of public relations at Mattel, Inc., where she was a member of an integrated brand marketing team devoted to reaching the billion-dollar milestone for Barbie worldwide sales. Gibbs began her corporate career at Apple as a public relations manager.

Gibbs graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications arts and sciences from Michigan State University. Gibbs and her husband live in Gig Harbor with two spoiled standard poodles. She is a long-time volunteer for Meals on Wheels and National Public Radio.

Vice President for Advancement

Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee most recently served as Vice President of External Relations for Lutheran World Relief, an international relief and development organization with programs in approximately 35 countries, serving more than 7 million people annually. As the chief fundraising, donor relations and constituent engagement executive, Dan set the strategic direction of all external-facing efforts and guided LWR through their three most successful revenue generating years to date.

Daniel Lee

Prior to his role as Vice President, Dan lead LWR’s annual giving program and spearheaded the first comprehensive re-branding and website redevelopment process in more than 10 years. As Senior Director of Marketing for LWR, Dan implemented numerous fundraising and communications initiatives, including the creation of LWR’s highly successful alternative giving program.

Dan received his B.A. in Communication from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota. A former outdoor ministry chaplain, Dan has committed much of his career to working with, and on behalf of, faith communities. Dan seeks to passionately connect the Christian life of faith with his extensive global perspective to further the university’s mission of educating students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care.