Susan Resneck Pierce, President Emerita

Susan Resneck Pierce served as President of the University of Puget Sound from 1992-2003. Under her leadership, Puget Sound entered the ranks of the national liberal arts colleges. SAT scores increased from 1067 to 1253. The college added thirteen new tenure-line positions and reduced the student:faculty ratio from more than 13.3:1 to just under 11:1. As the result of a successful comprehensive campaign, the endowment grew from $68 million to $213 million at the height of the market. Between 1995-2003, the college also completed $85 million of new construction and major renovations. Puget Sound now typically enjoys 4300 applications for its 650 freshmen spaces and three-quarters of its students come from states other than Washington. Dr. Pierce has recently been selected the recipient of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VIII Distinguished Leadership Award for 2003.

From 1990-92 Susan Pierce served as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at Lewis & Clark College, and from 1984-90 as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tulsa. At all three institutions and at Puget Sound, she served as Professor of English. Dr. Pierce has also served as Assistant Director of the Division of Education Programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, D.C. where she directed the three federal programs that gave support to colleges and universities for undergraduate education in the humanities, as Chair of the English Department at Ithaca College, and as Visiting Associate Professor at Princeton University.

Susan Pierce is the author of The Moral of the Story (Columbia University’s Teachers College Press, 1982) and is co-editor of Approaches to Teaching Ellison’s “Invisible Man” (Modern Language Association, 1989). She has published essays on such American writers as Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Heller, and Sexton in professional journals and as chapters in books, and has written and spoken extensively about educational issues. (Until 1992 her publications were under the name of Susan Resneck Parr.)

Dr. Pierce has served on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and the American Conference of Academic Deans, on the advisory committee for the Association of American Colleges project on engineering and the liberal arts, on the Council of Presidents of the Association of Governing Boards and on the Washington Women in Leadership Advisory Committee. She has been active in many civic, cultural and professional organizations, including the board of the Seattle Symphony, Hilcrest Medical Center in Tulsa and Tulsa Opera. Most recently, she has been a member of the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA, an arm of NIH) Task Force on College Drinking and of the Executive Committee of the Annapolis Group.

Susan Pierce received her A.B. degree from Wellesley College in 1965, her M.A. degree in English from the University of Chicago in 1966, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin in 1972. She is married to Kenneth H. Pierce, retired CEO of a medical electronics company and former college professor. Her daughter Sasha, a graduate of Bowdoin College and Duke University School of Law, is a practicing attorney in South Florida.

Susan Pierce is now living in Boca Raton, Florida where she is writing and, as President of SRP CONSULTING, advises hospitals, colleges and universities, and other non-for-profit organizations on how to create an integrated approach to strategic planning, communications/public relations and fundraising, on effective board performance and on governance. She also works with colleges and universities on how to address campus drinking. She can be reached at