May 2018 Board Report

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

The trustees and I enjoyed our time on campus recently and the opportunity to meet with each other and many of you over the course of our meetings as well as events associated with a beautiful (and sunny!) Commencement.

Following each series of meetings, I like to reach out to the campus community to share information about what the trustees are working on. Our May meetings centered on reviewing the work of the Strategic Planning Steering Committee (SPSC). It has been a great pleasure to chair with President Crawford this committee of students, faculty, staff, alumni and trustees over the past year as we have worked to address the question of what makes Puget Sound distinctive and how we can build on those distinctions to remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing environment for higher education. During the SPSC meetings we repeatedly reminded ourselves that we had to find the “it” – that thing or things that would truly make a difference in how this institution educates our students in the years ahead and how we ensure that occurs in the right environment, cognizant of the world in which we live and being realistic about the challenges that face us as a liberal arts university.

I invited my fellow trustees to be engaged, challenging, and vocal. Our discussions were thoughtful and wide-ranging, and resulted in authorization for the university to move forward in exploring next steps in the development of the strategic plan in terms of priorities, implementation, and funding. The trustees will convene again in October to review the proposed plan. On behalf of the trustees, we thank the more than 100 people who have been involved in the work of bringing ideas and initiatives forward for consideration.

In addition to our focus on strategic planning, we engaged in a number of other actions and activities, including the following:

Divestment. The Investment Subcommittee met and discussed the board’s 2016 Statement on Divestment. The statement will be reviewed next year and brought back to the full board in May 2019 for any recommended updates or revisions. We have received information provided by the student group ECO, and are appreciative of their advocacy and support of this work.

Welcome Center. Fundraising is nearing completion; we look forward to beginning construction of this important element of our student recruitment program during the upcoming academic year.

Business Meeting.  We received reports from ASUPS President Collin Noble’19, Faculty Senate Chair Alisa Kessel, and Alumni Council President Andrea Tull Davis ’02. Alisa is concluding her term of service as Faculty Senate Chair and we expressed to her our great appreciation for her exemplary work representing the faculty.

  • Promoted to professor:
    • Rachel DeMotts, Environmental Policy and Decision Making
    • Robin Jacobson, Politics and Government
    • Kristin Johnson, Science, Technology and Society
    • Kriszta Kotsis, Art and Art History
    • Tiffany MacBain, English
    • Danny McMillian, Physical Therapy
    • Benjamin Tromly, History,
    • Ariela Tubert, Philosophy
  • Promoted to associate professor:
    • Shen-yi Liao, Philosophy
    • Renee Simms, African American Studies
    • Kirsten Wilbur, Occupational Therapy
  • Tenured and promoted to associate professor:
    • Luc Boisvert, Chemistry

We also recognized faculty achievements at an annual dinner on Thursday evening, and held a dinner on the evening before Commencement to welcome our honorand and Commencement speaker Sally Jewell and complete the bestowing of an honorary degree to Georgiana Kautz, last year’s awardee who was unable to attend the 2017 Commencement ceremony.   

Trustee Elections.  We also recognized departing trustees, all of whom have completed their terms of service and were elected trustees emeriti: Mike Corliss ’82, P’13, Holly Dillon ’84, JD’88, Kathleen Duncan ’82, Gwen Lillis P’05, Deanna Oppenheimer ’80, P’11, P’14, and Barb Walker P’05, P’07. And we approved the election of incoming trustees, effective July 1: Shelly Heier ’98, Sunshine Morrison ’94, Mike Nicolais P’18, and John Walker P’18.

Finally, we attended to other duties of the board, including reports from the board’s audit committee, academic and student affairs committee, development and alumni relations committee, finance and facilities committee, and committee on trusteeship. More information about the work of the board is available at Also, please remember that business meetings are open to all members of the Puget Sound community; we look forward to seeing you at our upcoming meeting in October. 

Robert C. Pohlad P’07
Chair, Puget Sound Board of Trustees