Message From President Ron Thomas

May 18, 2015

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

As we complete another exciting year at Puget Sound and celebrate the success of our ambitious One [of a Kind] campaign, it is time to look to the future. And it is with the future in mind that I write to you today to let you know that I plan to complete my service as Puget Sound’s 13th president following the conclusion of the 2015–16 academic year.

This is at once a fairly clear decision for me, and at the same time one that is personally tough to face. I love this university and I love this job. I deeply value working with and on behalf of all of you every day. And when I leave, I will miss you and the work we do together every day as well. I can honestly say that the last 12 years have been the most meaningful and fulfilling of my life. I am so very proud of all that we have all accomplished together to advance this extraordinary institution and to build this amazing community of people.

With the completion of the campaign that was designed to support and sustain the strategic objectives we have created together and will soon realize more completely, it’s a right and natural time for a leadership transition. During the past year I have been in discussion with our board chair Rick Brooks ’82 about this transition, which will coincide with his own; we have just named a new board chair-elect, long-serving trustee Robert Pohlad P’07, who will assume his role effective July 1, 2016, and in addition will serve as chair of the university’s search for its 14th president during the coming year. 

As for me, there are more than a few projects near and dear to me that have been on hold during the past dozen years, and I look forward to returning to writing and scholarship, and to spending more time with Mary, who has also devoted so much of her heart and soul to Puget Sound. It is true that I simply could not do this job without her. And it is plain to see from a number of perspectives how this just seems like it will be the right time for me and certainly the right time for Puget Sound to embark on the next chapter. The university’s 13th president will have completed his 13th year—there’s a kind of symmetry to it all.

We need to keep the momentum going, and there is a great deal I am invested in accomplishing on behalf of Puget Sound over the next year to position us for even greater success. There is a busy year ahead as we celebrate the success of the campaign, commence building and renovation of our Athletics & Aquatics Center, launch the next chapter of our constituent engagement and fundraising program, develop our experiential learning initiative, advance our diversity strategic plan, and so much more.

I plan to remain as deeply engaged with you and the work of Puget Sound in my final year as in my first, and look forward to the great things we will accomplish together in the year to come. Thank you for all you do for Puget Sound and have done to welcome Mary and me into this remarkable community that we have grown to love and respect so deeply.

Ron