Office of the President

Thomas W. Krise, Ph.D.

Thomas W. Krise, 50, became the 13th president of Pacific Lutheran University on June 1, 2012.

The University has 3,461 students studying 44 majors and 52 minors as well as graduate and professional programs in business administration, finance, creative writing, education, marriage and family therapy, and nursing.

PLU hosts more than 100 students clubs and organizations and fields 20 varsity teams competing in the Northwest Conference of NCAA Division III. He is responsible for 737 employees, including a faculty of 283, organized into seven schools and divisions: Arts and Communication, Business, Education and Movement Studies, Humanities, Natural Sciences, Nursing, and Social Sciences, with a total budget of more than $110 million.

Thomas W. Krise

He also holds a full professorship with tenure in the Department of English. He earned a B.S. in history from the United States Air Force Academy in 1983, an M.S.A. in human resources management from Central Michigan University in 1986, an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Minnesota in 1989, and a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Chicago in 1995.  He is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa.

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, where he was responsible for 32 graduate and undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences and more than 200 faculty and staff members in 27 departments, centers, and programs with a total budget of more than $20 million.

He established a Writing in the Disciplines Program, created the Student Writing Center, fostered a new diversity requirement, new university-wide student learning outcomes, and a more inclusive reader for the first semester course in the nationally recognized Pacific Seminar program.

Krise established a university-wide Veterans Support Committee, which led the effort to enroll Pacific in the G.I. Bill Yellow Ribbon Program, providing full scholarships for 40 eligible veterans per year, and he launched a successful student recruitment program that increased enrollments in under-served Humanities disciplines by 62 percent while raising quality indicators by 10 percent, and which more than doubled enrollments by Hispanic students.

Besides managing facilities operations for 16 buildings on campus, he oversaw the completion of the $27 million, 60,000-square-foot Biological Sciences Center.  During his tenure, the college won more than $15 million in external grants and he raised more than $5 million in donations.

Prior to his appointment at Pacific, he was Chair of the Department of English at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. With more than 180 full- and part-time faculty and staff members and a budget of $5.2 million, it was one of the largest academic departments in the country.  He launched the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing, the Minor in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, and the Online Writing Lab; increased resources for the Ph.D. program in texts and technology by 25 percent; recruited distinguished specialists in Shakespeare and African-American literature; and achieved the highest faculty satisfaction survey results in a decade. The Department also rated 9th in the country for graduate faculty scholarly productivity in 2007, as rated by Academic Analytics/SUNY-Stony Brook.

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, founder of the Early Caribbean Society, and the 2002 Conference Director for the American Society for 18th-Century Studies.

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 in Washington, D.C., and 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 on the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where he was a deckhand, a dive master, and an Eagle Scout. 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 President of PLU, in Tacoma, Washington.