Office of the President
Thomas W. Krise, Ph.D.
Thomas W. Krise, Ph.D., has been the 13th president of Pacific Lutheran University since June 1, 2012. He also holds a full professorship with tenure in the PLU Department of English, where he annually teaches courses. Under President Krise’s leadership, PLU has embarked on a strategic planning process designed to make PLU an internationally renowned model of a New American University, a type of institution described by the education theorist Ernest Boyer (1928-1995) as one that purposefully integrates the liberal arts, professional studies, and civic engagement.
President Krise earned a B.S. in history from the United States Air Force Academy (1983), an M.S.A. in human resources management from Central Michigan University (1986), an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Minnesota (1989), and a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Chicago (1995). He is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies.
Prior to his appointment as PLU’s President, he was Dean of the College of the Pacific at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California; and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Before moving to UCF, he served 22 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a regular commissioned officer, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was a Strategic Air Command flight commander in North Dakota followed by military-academic assignments on the faculty of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, as a Senior Military Fellow of the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C., and as vice director of the National Defense University Press. He was the founder and first director of the Air Force Humanities Institute and deputy head of the Department of English and Fine Arts at the Air Force Academy, also serving as president of the faculty senate there.
His academic interests focus on early Caribbean, early American, and 17th- and 18th-century British literature. He served as general editor of the McNair Papers monograph series and managing editor of War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities. He has published numerous articles and other scholarly works, including Caribbeana: An Anthology of English Literature of the West Indies, 1657-1777 (University of Chicago Press). In 1999, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He has worked and lectured on six continents and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, was President of the Society of Early Americanists, and founder of the Early Caribbean Society.
The son and grandson of Army medical service officers, he was born at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and spent his early childhood on military posts across the U.S. and in Germany. He lived aboard a sailboat for the better part of two years and then attended high school in the Virgin Islands, where he was an Eagle Scout, a dive master, and worked as a deckhand on a charter boat. He is married to Patricia Love Krise, a native of Indianapolis, who earned a B.A. from Hanover College and an M.B.A. from Miami University of Ohio. She has been a Fortune-50 manager and executive for more than 25 years, currently with the Ford Motor Company. They live at Gonyea House, the official residence of the presidents of PLU, in the Parkland neighborhood of Tacoma.