May 2019 Board Report

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

On behalf of the trustees, congratulations on completion of a very exciting and successful academic year. The trustees and I enjoyed our time on campus for our May meetings and Commencement, and the opportunity to meet with each other and many of you over the course of the long weekend.

Following each series of meetings, I like to reach out to the campus community to share information about what the trustees are working on to advance the goals of Puget Sound’s strategic plan, Leadership for a Changing World. Below are a few highlights from our meetings.

Workshop on Curricular Framework. We heard a terrific presentation from faculty, staff, and students involved in the Curriculum Task Force and are impressed by the thoughtful work taking place to reimagine and transform the undergraduate curriculum at Puget Sound.

We look forward to learning more about the progress that will take place over the summer, and firmly believe that this effort to more deeply engage all students throughout their time on campus well help Puget Sound become a first choice for students, strengthen retention and graduation rates, and increase our distinctiveness in a very competitive landscape.

Updated Statement on Divestment. As I shared with the campus immediately following the trustee meeting on May 17, the trustees updated our 2016 statement, affirming our commitment to reduce fossil fuel investments and our aspiration to work toward an endowment that is entirely free of hydrocarbon. A copy of the statement and more information about the university’s endowment portfolios (general and fossil fuel-free) is available on the university’s website.

Business Meeting.  We received our first report from new ASUPS President Mushawn Knowles ’20, and heard from Faculty Senate Chair Sara Freeman, Alumni Council Vice President Frank Washburn ’75, and President Crawford. The board values hearing directly from students, faculty, staff, and alumni about their work, and also appreciates the opportunity to meet informally with members of the campus community throughout our visit.

Faculty Tenure and/or Promotion: We were pleased to endorse the awarding of tenure and/or promotion to the following faculty members:

  • Promoted to professor: Lisa Ferrari, Politics and Government
  • Tenured and promoted to associate professor: Adam Smith, Mathematics and Computer Science

We also recognized faculty achievements and retirements at an annual dinner on Thursday evening, and held a dinner the evening before Commencement to welcome Puget Sound’s 2019 honorands: Dr. David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and Mr. Michael Mirra, executive director of the Tacoma Housing Authority. We thank the campus community for submitting candidates for consideration to the Honorary Degree Committee, and the committee for bringing forward these two outstanding individuals who exemplify the values of a Puget Sound education.

Citation for Provost Kris Bartanen. Trustee Bill Weyerhaeuser read a citation of appreciation for Kris, who has been such an instrumental leader in Puget Sound’s success over the past 40 years. We will miss her as she steps down from administrative service, but look forward to her continued contributions as a member of the faculty.

Trustee Elections. We also recognized and thanked departing trustees for their service, and elected incoming trustees who will assume their roles on July 1.

Please join me in thanking the following trustees for their extraordinary service and generosity:

  • Carl Behnke
  • Mitzi Carletti ’78
  • Brad Cheney ’82
  • Rolf Engh P’14
  • Randy Foster ‘74
  • Janeen McAninch ’77, P’06
  • Guy Watanabe ’75, M.B.A. ’76

We also look forward to welcoming the following newly elected trustees:

  • Heidi Brock ’85
  • Gwen Lillis P’05 (returning)
  • Ryan McAninch ’06
  • Chris Pohlad ’07
  • Jamilia Sherls ’05

Finally, we attended to other duties of the board, including reports from the following board committees:  academic and student affairs, audit, development and alumni relations, finance and facilities, and trusteeship. More information about the work of the board is available at

Please remember that our business meetings are open to all members of the Puget Sound community.  We were happy to have Staff Senate Chair Anna Coy and other members of Staff Senate in attendance, and look forward to returning to campus for our next meeting in October. 


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