“I am both excited and humbled to serve the University of Puget Sound as its next provost. As I learned about the university, I was immediately struck not just by its extraordinarily accomplished faculty, staff, and students, but by their shared commitment to building an intellectually vibrant, creative, inclusive, and sustainable campus community, deeply engaged with the diverse human histories and natural environments of Puget Sound, Tacoma, and the Pacific Northwest,” Kerkhoff said. “That shared sense of place and purpose is truly infectious, and I look forward to working with President Crawford and the faculty, staff, and students to leverage the transformative power of a Puget Sound education to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.”
Kerkhoff is both an administrator and an educator, teaching courses in ecology, biogeography, mathematical biology, and statistics. He is a widely published quantitative ecologist who studies the ecology and evolution of plant biodiversity and the functional role of Earth's vegetation in the global carbon cycle. He earned his B.A. in English at Rutgers College with a minor in history, then spent four years as a woodworker in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before returning to school to pursue his master’s degree and Ph.D. in biology at the University of New Mexico. Before joining Kenyon’s faculty in 2005, he also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona.
Kerkhoff joins Puget Sound at a time when the landscape of higher education is rapidly changing. Through its Leadership for a Changing World strategic plan, the university is positioned to ensure that students graduate with the skills and confidence to pursue a life of purpose and impact. As provost, Kerkhoff will lead the institution’s efforts to enrich the learning environment, improve academic distinction and student success, and support the needs of faculty.
About Puget Sound
A nationally ranked residential liberal arts and sciences college in Tacoma, Washington, University of Puget Sound enrolls 1,800 undergraduate students from across the country and around the world, as well as 300 graduate students in education, counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and public health. A low student-faculty ratio provides Puget Sound students with personal attention from faculty members who have a strong commitment to teaching and offer 1,200 courses each year in more than 50 areas of study. Puget Sound graduates include Rhodes and Luce scholars, notables in the arts and culture, scholars and scientists, entrepreneurs and elected officials, and leaders in business and finance locally and throughout the world. A top producer of Fulbright U.S. Students, Puget Sound is the only nationally ranked independent liberal arts college in Western Washington, and one of just five independent colleges in the Northwest granted a charter by Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society.