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Pacific Lutheran University Announces Leadership Transition

Posted by: Date: April 13, 2017
Pacific Lutheran University

Students walking in front of Xavier Hall at Pacific Lutheran University. (Photo/John Froschauer)

Tacoma, WA (April 13, 2017) -- The Board of Regents of Pacific Lutheran University and President Thomas W. Krise today announced that Krise will complete his service as president when his current term ends in May, and that he will continue at PLU as president emeritus and professor of English.

Board of Regents Chair Gary Severson also announced that a search committee representing regents, faculty, staff and alumni will select an acting president who is expected to serve for one year while a thorough and inclusive search for a long-term successor is underway.

“The Board of Regents of PLU recognizes Dr. Krise’s significant contributions to the university and its students, faculty and alumni,” Severson said. “Among his accomplishments was leading an effort to revise recruitment strategies to meet changing student demographics, resulting in a more than 70 percent increase in the first-time undergraduate inquiry pool from 2013 to 2017, while also improving the average GPA and test scores of incoming first-year students each year.”

PLU became a more diverse community under Krise’s leadership, including PLU’s most diverse first-year class ever in 2016-17 with 35 percent students of color, 42 percent first generation students, and 30 percent Pell Grant eligible students from 23 states and 10 countries.

“Tom energetically engaged with students, faculty, university staff, alumni, and donors during a period of remarkable cultural change, both on campus and in our larger community. At a time of widespread student protests on campuses nationwide, PLU has benefitted from Tom’s skill in fostering dialogue with students and proactively addressing their concerns in a constructive and collaborative fashion, and we are committed to continuing that approach,” Severson said.

“Dr. Krise strengthened the ties between PLU and the 581 congregations of the Pacific Northwest Region 1 of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America,” said the Rev. Rick Jaech, bishop of the Southwestern Washington Synod of the ELCA. “He also fostered greater interfaith understanding with the African-American church community in Tacoma, and by appointing Catholic and Jewish associate chaplains, and encouraging the creation of new student religious groups, including the Muslim Student Association.”

During Krise’s tenure, PLU launched its first-ever professional doctorate, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, plus three new graduate degrees in finance, marketing research and accounting, as well as a new minor in holocaust and genocide studies. The university also extended its outreach to high-need students in the region by launching the 253 College Bound Scholarship, and the Parkland Promise Scholarship for students from PLU’s immediate neighborhood.

“I feel very good that we have raised the university’s profile for academic excellence, raised the endowment to a record level, and expanded support for student access and diversity through significantly enhanced alumni fundraising activity,” Krise said.

About Pacific Lutheran University
Pacific Lutheran University purposefully integrates the liberal arts, professional studies and civic engagement through distinctive international programs and faculty-mentored research opportunities for its 3,300 students. Founded in 1890 by Norwegian pioneers, PLU continues the tradition of Lutheran higher education through its commitment to the advancement of knowledge, thoughtful inquiry and questioning, and the preparation of citizens in service to the world.

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