Office of the President

University Officers

Thomas W. Krise, Ph.D.

Photo of President Thomas KriseDr. Thomas W. Krise has been President of Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, since June 2012.  Previously, he was Dean of Arts and Sciences at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California; Chair of the Department of English at the University of Central Florida in Orlando; 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.  He also served 22 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

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.

Office of the President

Steven P. Starkovich, Ph.D.

Photo of Provost StarkovichSteve Starkovich, provost, 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.

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.

Office of the Provost

Joanna Royce-Davis, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

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.

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, 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.

Office of Student Life

Sheri J. Tonn, Ph.D.
Vice President for Finance and Operations

Photo of Vice President Sheri TonnVeteran PLU educator and administrator Sheri Tonn was named vice president for finance and operations in May 1999. She oversees Facilities Management, Culinary and Retail Services, Auxiliary Services, Garfield Book Company at PLU, Conferences and Events, Human Resources, and the Business Office. Her office manages all university property and real estate transactions. She is also responsible for PLU construction projects, risk management, and management of the endowment and trusts. She led the development of the 2006 campus master plan and the major institutional master plan for Pierce County. PLU has built two LEED Gold buildings, completed a remodel that achieved LEED Silver and one that is expected to receive LEED Platinum. She is responsible for the planning for the restoration of Eastvold, Olson, Rieke Science Center and the development of new athletic facilities.

Tonn, who served as PLU’s dean of Information Resources from 1997-2000, led the university's technology initiative, which resulted in the installation of the first high-speed campus network.

From 1993 to 1997, Tonn was dean of PLU's Natural Sciences Division. She was chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1989 to 1993, and has taught chemistry here since 1979. Before coming to PLU, she was a postdoctoral fellow and instructor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn., from 1976 to 1979. She earned a doctorate in chemistry from Northwestern University in 1976, and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Oregon State University in 1971.

Tonn has been instrumental in securing many millions of dollars in grants for PLU's science program, lab safety, sustainability, campus security, energy conservation and various building upgrades. She is the recipient of over 30 grants and served as the institutional representative for many of these. Under her leadership, PLU was the first campus in the country to receive a rating through STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Rating System).

Tonn also serves on the board of directors of Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (an insurance consortium), the Tacoma Pierce County Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and Citizens for a Healthy Bay.

Tonn is a member of the American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi and the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
A native of Hood River, Ore., Tonn resides in Brown’s Point, Wash., and is married to Jeffrey Tonn, a design engineer.

Finance & Operations

Donna Gibbs
Vice President of Marketing and Communications

Photo of Vice President GibbsGibbs 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.

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.

Marketing & Communications

Lucy Schmitz Morros, Ph.D
Interim Vice President for Advancement

Lucy Schmitz Morros, joined PLU as the interim Vice President for Advancement in March 2014.

Morros most recently served as Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Lindenwood University, a 17,000-student institution in St. Charles, Mo., where she was responsible for raising $17 million for capital projects, campaigns, the endowment and academic program support over five years. She also served as President of Barat College in Lake Forest, Ill. from 1988-2000, a time in which the student population grew by 40 percent and financial assets grew by more than  $23 million. Morros has served as Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Division at The American University in Paris, and as Dean of the College of Westbrook College in Portland, Maine.

She earned her Ph.D in 18th century studies in 1975 and a Master's degree in French in 1967 from Washington University in St. Louis. In addition, she holds an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Loyola University of Chicago; was named a Special International Delegate to the University of Danang, Vietnam; and was named an Honorary Commander of the U.S. Navy Great Lakes Naval Training Center.

Office of Advancement