University Officers

Allan Belton

As the 14th President of Pacific Lutheran University, Allan Belton serves as the university’s chief executive and is responsible for the organization and administration of the university.

President Belton is currently leading the execution of a five-year strategic plan that aims to deepen PLU’s commitment to being an inclusive, rigorous, and innovative university in the Lutheran tradition by providing access to transformative, lifelong, and distinctively purposeful education.

Appointed by the PLU Board of Regents in April 2019, President Belton previously served as PLU’s Acting President and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to coming to PLU, he enjoyed a 25-year career with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he served most recently as Managing Director and Chief Operations Officer for global treasury management.

Allan is married to Melinda Krotz Belton, PLU Class of 1991; they live in Gig Harbor and have three children.

Acting President Allan Belton
Joanna Gregson, Ph.D.

As Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Joanna Gregson, Ph.D. leads the academic division and collaborates with, supports, and advises the President’s Council and President Allan Belton on strategic planning for the academic division, including advising on new academic initiatives, faculty affairs, and advancing the academic mission and intellectual positioning of PLU.

Gregson joined the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at PLU in 1998. She earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Western Washington University, and her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She was promoted to the rank of Professor in 2012.

As a faculty member, Gregson has taught and conducted research in the areas of deviance, gender, and qualitative research methods. Over the span of her career, she has published on such topics as teenage mothers, incarcerated mothers, and divorced women. Since 2010 she has been conducting participant observation research with the authors of romance novels, examining the gendered aspects of the career and how women experience writing what has been described as the most popular, least respected literary genre.

At PLU, Gregson has a long record of faculty governance and leadership experience. She has served on and chaired the Campus Life Committee, the Rank and Tenure Committee, and the Governance Committee, and has served as Chair of the Faculty, Vice Chair of the Faculty, and Faculty Secretary. Her service record also includes chairing the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.
Gregson was honored with the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, the Faculty Award for Excellence in Mentoring in 2011, and the PLU Mortar Board Society “Top Prof” award in 2017.

Provost Joanna Gregson
Shalita Myrick

As the Vice President for Administrative Services and Chief Operating Officer, Shalita leads the Administrative Services division, encompassing the Business Office, Facilities Management, Human Resources, and Risk Management.

Shalita’s professional background includes leadership roles at institutions such as the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, and AT&T. Shalita holds a Master’s degree in Facilities Management from UT, San Antonio, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Spelman College.

Profile photo for Shalita Myrick, Vice President for Administrative Services and Chief Operating Officer at PLU.
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.

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.

Dr. Joanna Royce- Davis
Daniel Lee

As Vice President for the University Relations Division, Dan Lee is responsible for creating and implementing a unified and comprehensive plan to advance PLU’s mission. Working with a team of about 50 staff members, the Vice President creates a vision and strategies for donor, alumni and parent engagement, as well as university communications. The Vice President directs initiatives to enhance PLU’s image and brand, and executes plans to increase support from individuals, government, foundations, and corporations. Daniel reports to the President of the University and works closely with the Board of Regents.

Until 2014, Dan served as Vice President of External Relations for Lutheran World Relief, an international relief and development organization with programs in 35 countries, serving more than 7 million people. As the chief fundraising, donor relations and constituent engagement executive, Dan set the strategic direction of all external-facing efforts and guided LWR through three years of record-setting growth.

Prior to his role as Vice President, Dan led 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 Communications from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota and a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Daniel Lee
Karen McConnell, Ph.D.

As Associate Vice President and Chief Institutional Effectiveness Officer, Karen McConnell, Ph.D. works closely with all divisions of the university to guide key strategic efforts and to measure and report on achievements and outcomes as they relate to accreditation, the strategic plan and fulfillment of the university mission. In addition to her role as CIEO, McConnell serves as the university’s Accreditation Liaison Officer with the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities and is the senior administrator for the Office of Institutional Research and Analytics as well as Information and Technology Services.

Dr. McConnell joined PLU in 1998 as a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology where she retains her faculty status as a Professor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Medicine from the University of the Pacific; a Master’s degree in Exercise Science also from UOP and a Ph.D in Curriculum and Instruction in Exercise and Wellness Education from Arizona State University. During her tenure at PLU McConnell served 14 years as Associate Dean for Kinesiology and four years as Dean for the School of Education and Kinesiology. In addition, she was the Director of Assessment for five years prior to becoming the Chief Institutional Effectiveness Officer.

McConnell has a long record of service to the University including the Educational Policies Committee, Faculty Affairs Committee, Faculty Executive Committee, First Year Experience Committee, Benefits Committee and three different General Education reform and oversight committees. In addition, McConnell remains active as a scholar and author having published five k-12 health textbooks. McConnell regularly consults in areas of curricular design, program review and assessment development.

Dr. Karen McConnell, Associate Vice President and Chief Institutional Effectiveness Officer