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Lewis & Clark Bids Farewell to President

September 20, 2009

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Thomas J. Hochstettler, Lewis & Clark’s 23rd president, came to the college in 2004 from the University of Bremen in Germany via academic posts at Rice University, Bowdoin College, and Stanford University.

He arrived at the college during a period of turbulence, fresh on the heels of an ill-fated investment decision made by the former administration.

He leaves the college at a time of strength, buoyed by increasing numbers of highly qualified students, nationally recognized faculty, energized alumni, rising philanthropic dollars, and a growing academic reputation.

“Looking back over the last five years, I think we all have a great deal to be proud of,” says Hochstettler. “We have risen in every metric that counts for quality among the leading institutions of higher learning in the United States.”

Hochstettler’s next career step has taken him abroad. In early August, he assumed the position of vice chancellor of academic affairs at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

“Tom took over at Lewis & Clark at a troubled time in the college’s history, and he has done an extraordinary job in stabilizing the college and launching it to a much higher level of national distinction,” says Ronald Ragen, chair of the Board of Trustees. “All of us who belong to the Lewis & Clark family are indebted to him. We wish both Tom and Marcia well as they embark on their next overseas adventure.”

Highlights of Hochstettler’s Tenure

During Hochstettler’s five-year tenure as president of Lewis & Clark, the institution compiled many achievements that will help ensure its continued success. Here are just a few examples.

Strategic Planning

Under Hochstettler’s direction, the Lewis & Clark community engaged in a collegewide planning process during 2005 and 2006 to help shape the institution’s long-term vision and direction. In addition to detailed goals, the task force identified five core values that continue to guide Lewis & Clark’s work today: 1) our pursuit of intellectual excellence in a supportive environment, 2) our long tradition of global engagement, 3) our Pacific Northwest heritage, 4) our commitment to local and regional community, and 5) our regard for wise leadership.

New Senior Leadership, Interschool Cooperation

Hochstettler has assembled a well-respected senior leadership team, including new deans of each school: Julio de Paula, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; Scott Fletcher, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Counseling; and Robert Klonoff, dean of Lewis & Clark Law School. He has also worked to promote more effective communication and coordination among the three schools.

Faculty and Student Accolades

Over the past five years, Lewis & Clark has continued to attract and retain talented faculty and students who have brought national recognition to the institution. Indicative of the high level of teaching that occurs at Lewis & Clark, Jerusha Detweiler-Bedell, associate professor of psychology, was named the 2008 Outstanding Baccalaureate Colleges Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Our students also garner national awards. For 2008_09, for example, Lewis & Clark ranked among the top 20 undergraduate colleges in the country in the production of Fulbright Award winners.

Stable Finances

During Hochstettler’s tenure, Lewis & Clark consistently achieved financial results in which annual operating revenues exceeded annual operating expenses. These positive margins were extremely helpful when Lewis & Clark successfully refinanced its debt (acquired mainly from previous capital projects), obtaining for the first time favorable bond ratings from both Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s. Hochstettler also created an annual $500,000 Strategic Initiatives Fund as a way of advancing the numerous recommendations that emerged from the 2005-06 strategic planning process.

Grants Success

During the last five years, Lewis & Clark has enjoyed a long string of grant success from prominent funders, including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Ford Foundation. Since 2005, Lewis & Clark has been awarded grants totaling more than $10 million.

Leadership in Science

Due to a surge in national grants and student awards, recognition of Lewis & Clark’s achievements in the sciences is growing rapidly. During Hochstettler’s tenure, plans took shape for a future integrated Mathematics and Natural Sciences Center, which will provide optimal space for the development of new generations of scientists through innovative teaching and student-faculty research.

Commitment to Diversity

During Hochstettler’s tenure, Lewis & Clark redoubled its commitment to increase diversity throughout the institution. Over the last five years, for example, enrollment of students of color and international students in the undergraduate college has increased from 17 to 22 percent. Hochstettler also created Lewis & Clark’s Diversity Advisory Committee, led by Celestino Limas, dean of students and the college’s first chief diversity officer. The committee examines diversity efforts throughout the institution and includes representation from all three schools, the Board of Trustees, and alumni.

Alumni Engagement

During the Hochstettler years, many national and international alumni began to reconnect with the college and attend an ever-expanding menu of regional events and on-campus programming. In 2008, Lewis & Clark dedicated the Morgan S. Odell Alumni Gatehouse, which includes space for alumni social gatherings and events. The refurbishment and renaming of the gatehouse originated with the Albany Society, a group of alumni who graduated from the college 50 or more years ago, and was enthusiastically supported by Hochstettler.

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